Tom Koppie: Candidate Profile
Kane County board District 9 (Republican)
Back to Kane County board District 9
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: Married to Jeanie 35 years
3 grown children
Eldest daughter is a Doctor
Son: Air Force Vet, FAA employee
Youngest daughter in college
Occupation: Farmer, Heavy Equipment Operator
Education: Graduated District 300 Schools
Civic involvement: St. Borromeo Catholic Church in Hampshire
Republican Precinct Committeeman formerly in Gilberts, now in rural Huntley
Elected offices held: Rutland Township Trustee 1997-99
Rutland Township Highway Commissioner 1999-2009
The county commissioned a study to determine which services are mandated and which are not in preparation for a deeper budget cut. Do you believe the county must continue to reduce costs? If so, which non-mandated services would you cut or reduce? Under what circumstances would you support a tax increase?
Yes, the county should continue to reduce costs and the study was a good step towards identifying cost savings. We can increase revenues to the county by bringing back the Federal Marshal's program for housing Federal inmates in our jail. We can look at privatizing certain maintenance and janitorial functions on county properties. We can look at the fee structures for certain court cases and make sure those fees cover the costs of processing those cases. I would NOT support a tax increase at the county level and strongly support continuing the Kane County Property Tax Freeze.
The mandated services study said the law will require a reduction in the number of board seats as the county's population grows. Reducing the number of seats might also save money. What is the right number of board seats? How soon should the reduction occur?
18 would be a good number. It should be implemented in 2022 after the next census. This would be a 25% cut in members and Board expenses.
Do you support adding a sunset clause to any toll created to fund the Longmeadow Parkway?
Yes, the toll should sunset once the bridge is paid for and a sufficient maintenance fund is established.
Was ending the county's GPS and electronic monitoring program the right decision? If not, how would you restore the program?
That was the wrong program to cut and the Chief Judge should have used across the board cuts of 3 to 5% to balance her budget rather than targeting an effective program that actually saves revenues by avoiding incarceration of non-violent offenders. The county should pressure the Chief Judge's office to restore the program, but ultimately it is her decision due to the internal control statute. Perhaps the Kane County Legislative Committee can work with our legislators to secure a state or Federal grant to pay for the program.
Do you support keeping the Aurora Election Commission?
No, it should be consolidated with the Kane County Clerk's office to save money and create efficiencies. Hopefully, the voters in Aurora will vote to consolidate on March 20. It is estimated that the consolidation would save taxpayers approximately $250,000 a year.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
As a locally elected Highway Commissioner for 10 years, a lifelong farmer, and as a heavy equipment operator for more than 30 years, I bring unique skill sets to the Board. I am running to replace one of just two farmers on the Board, (TR Smith, who has endorsed my campaign), and I could step into service on the Agriculture Committee, if elected. I also would be one of just two board members with extensive road building and construction experience (along with Drew Frasz). That would enable me to serve my constituents effectively on the County Transportation Committee.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
County Board member TR Smith. A Veteran. A Farmer. A long time (retired) law enforcement officer.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
From working on the farm that hard work and long hours does get the job done.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Spend more time with my kids and wife in place of working so many hours.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
mathematics. I love numbers and formulas. It has helped me in construction and road building.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to and respect your elders. You can learn a lot by listening and following good examples.