Naperville mayor candidates differ on green energy

  • Steve Chirico, Jim Haselhorst, Doug Krause and Marty Walker are running to be mayor of Naperville.

    Steve Chirico, Jim Haselhorst, Doug Krause and Marty Walker are running to be mayor of Naperville.

 
 
Posted3/1/2015 7:35 AM

Candidates to be Naperville's next mayor say the city is on the right track toward renewable energy use and sustainability.

During a forum sponsored by the Rotary Club of Naperville, the candidates listed several city initiatives to prove it, such as the Feb. 21 opening of the new Household Hazardous Waste collection facility; the distribution last summer of larger recycling carts; plans to install LED bulbs in streetlights; and plans to convert some city vehicles to alternative fuels.

 

But the four men seeking the seat to be vacated by longtime Mayor George Pradel -- Steve Chirico, Jim Haselhorst, Doug Krause and Marty Walker -- offered different suggestions for which types of green energy initiatives to pursue.

Walker, a 62-year-old retired firefighter, said he would encourage residents to make voluntary payments on their electric bills into a renewable energy program that will help build more solar and wind farms in the state.

"The use of renewable energy is a key to our future," Walker said.

Chirico, 54, said he's already made sustainable efforts in his business and personal life, by installing solar panels on the roof of his business and driving an electric car. As a council member, he said he's kept in mind the quality of the city's land, air and water.

"At city hall, I've worked hard to continue that vision and make sure we make good financial decisions toward sustainability, too," Chirico said.

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Haselhorst, 55, a dental practice manager with a background in the Navy, said the city should pursue geothermal energy because it pays off faster than solar power. A style of vertical wind turbines that are "more aesthetically pleasing" also could bring more renewable power to Naperville.

"I think that would be a good alternative for the city to look into as well," Haselhorst said.

Krause, a 67-year-old real estate broker who has been on the city council for 26 years, said he supports recent sustainability improvements, including a garbage pickup contract with Waste Management in which the hauler will use trucks fueled by compressed natural gas.

Natural gas is known to cause less pollution than standard fuels.

As mayor, Krause said he would continue to emphasize going green.

"You've got to always be looking ahead to something new and different," Krause said.

Voters in the April 7 election will choose the next Naperville mayor along with eight city council members.

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