Tom Armstrong: Candidate Profile
Kane County Board District 20 (Democrat)
Back to Kane County Board District 20
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Family: I have a daughter (26) and a son (23). My partner (Heike) has two sons (24 and 21) and a daughter (17).
Occupation: Retired, Community Volunteer
Education: Bachelor of Science in Urban Economic Geography, Northern Illinois University, 1980
Civic involvement: My volunteer activities with the City of Elgin include membership on the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee to Update Comprehensive Plan, and Community Advisory Group for the U.S. Route 20 Elgin Study.
I am also President of the Elgin Community Network, Chair of the Downtown Neighborhood Association Design Committee, and President of the Shoe Factory Condominium Association.
I am a member of the Kane County Community Development Commission and served as co-chair of the Mobility Task Force for the Kane County Fit for Kids Plan.
I support numerous Elgin social service organizations.
Elected offices held: I have not held an elected public office. I ran unsuccessfully for Elgin City Council in 2013.
Do you believe Kane County Board/Forest Preserve District members should have continued access to per diem payments, health insurance and pension benefits?
I support continued access to per diem payments, health insurance and pension benefits for members of the Kane County Board and the Forest Preserve Commission.
I currently receive health insurance and collect an IMRF pension as a part of my retirement benefits from my past employment with the City of Elgin. Accordingly, I will not participate in the county health insurance and pension benefit programs.
My personal motivation in running for office is not related to compensation. My motivation is to be an advocate for the residents and businesses located in District 20 and for all of Kane County.
For decisions that specifically or mainly impact one county board district, should the rest of the board defer to the wishes of the county board member who represents the impacted district?
I believe members of the county board should carefully consider the opinion of a county board member whose district is specifically or mainly impacted by a decision, but not necessarily defer to that opinion. Board members need to determine if that opinion is unduly influenced by a special interest view or by a not-in-by-back-yard view that may not be in the best interest of the impacted district, the county and/or its operations. The bottom line is that board must determine if the decision is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare of all impacted or involved.
Do you support the redevelopment of the former Settler's Hill landfill? What is your vision for the future use of that site?
I support the redevelopment plans for the Settler's Hill landfill provided that the development and operation of the cross-country course not place an undue financial burden on the county now or in the future, and provided that the integrity of the landfill cap not be threatened.
My expectation would be that the general public have access to the trails and to any observation decks when the course is not in use. The potential positive economic impact of local, regional and national cross-country meets to the restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries in the tri-villages area and beyond must also be considered.
Do you support the push to keep the tax levies frozen for both the county board and forest preserve district? How long is it realistic for that freeze to remain in place?
I support holding the line on the tax levies for both the county and the forest preserve district. The county board has established a goal of holding the line on the Kane County tax levy through 2017. The forest preserve district just voted to hold the tax levy flat for 2016 and to refinance more than $100 million in debt, which will result in significant savings to taxpayers over the next few decades.
I remember a presidential candidate who famously stated, "Read my lips," and then wasn't able to keep that promise. These are complex issues with no easy answers.
Please list any elected office you have ever run for and what the result of that election was. Have you ever been appointed to fill an unexpired term?
I ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Elgin City Council in 2013. I finished seventh out of 13 candidates vying for four seats with a full four-year term.
I have never been appointed to fill an unexpired term of elected office.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The following are a few other issues that are important to me as a candidate to represent District 20 on the Kane County Board:
Economic Development and Job Creation - It is important that the county board and county staff work cooperatively with the cities, towns and villages to grow the economy and create jobs in Kane County.
Transparency - It is important that residents and businesses have accurate and objective information about county finances, operations and decision-making.
Fox River Corridor - The Fox River is a regional amenity that stretches from Wisconsin, south to Ottawa, Illinois. Think ... TOURISM!
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Pope Francis inspires me with his showing of humility, empathy and concern for the disenfranchised. He is a stark contrast to many U.S. presidential hopefuls.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
The biggest lesson learned growing up at home is the importance of family and functioning together as a family unit ... sharing, caring, supporting.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would spend time with my maternal and paternal grandparents knitting together stories of my Scotch, Irish and German heritage.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
One of my favorite subjects in high school was civics. It inspired my interest in government and a successful career in city planning.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would give three pieces of advice ... 1. Think for yourself, 2. Maintain your integrity, and 3. Find your passion and give 100%.