Dick Barr: Candidate Profile
Lake County board District 3 (Republican)
Back to Lake County board District 3
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.
City: Round Lake Beach
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Family: I live with my beautiful wife and four fantastic kids, ages five through twenty. My wife, Holly, is a rock star. She has stayed home to care for our kids and has instilled within them such a great sense of love, manners and respect. Our youngest, Jonny, has been a gift from God. Diagnosed autistic at the age of one, he has taught our entire family new levels of love, joy, patience, empathy and understanding. Our family owes tremendous gratitude to SEDOL and School District 41 for the amazing work they have done to improve his social and academic abilities.
Occupation: I own a Real Estate Brokerage in Lake County, Licensed REALTOR
Education: Studied at American Musical & Dramatic Academy in Manhattan, SUNY College at Oneonta, and College of Lake County.
Civic involvement: Round Lake Beach Planning and Zoning Commissioner
Round Lake Beach Police Foundation Board Director
Member of Lindenhurst-Lake Villa and Round Lake Area Chambers of Commerce
I started and run a community group that now consists of over 600 active community members who work to promote stronger community, beautification projects, local charitable causes, government involvement and increasing communication.
Member of the Government & Political Issues Committees for both the NS/Barrington REALTOR Board and the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS.
Junior Board of Directors for the Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation.
Elected offices held: I am not a career politician. I'm a family man, community member and business owner, in that order. I am running for this, my first, office to make positive changes that will affect my family and neighbors.
It used to be my goal to raise my family, keep our children close to us when they started their careers, then retire and relish in the grand kid visits.
I no longer see it foreseeable to retire in Illinois at our current trajectory, and the career opportunities for young professionals have diminished.
This is my opportunity to raise awareness and fix that.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
I know how to get things done. I know who to talk to, and I have a giant network of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, business owners, politicians who I can turn to for help.
My activity in the community has created great opportunity to meet many who can effectuate change.
Years before I even dreamt of running for office, you could find me going door to door (often in below freezing weather) to educate the public on issues in local governments.
I've been known to fill an auditorium or two with concerned citizens who want to fight back against decisions that affect them.
Being a legislator on County Board is not just about sitting in meetings and voting. Being a legislator on County Board is about being in the community, meeting residents and leaders, finding out what most affects you, and being your voice in County government and lobbying for change in Springfield.
It includes being open minded and willing to listen to every resident.
Being a leader is not about towing some arbitrary Party line, it is about doing what is right for the area.
You have told me loud and clear, through my walks through the neighborhoods, that you are FED UP with property taxes.
As a Real Estate Broker, and one who gives frequent free seminars on property taxes, I understand property taxes better than most. Being a frustrated home owner myself, and property tax expert makes me the right candidate for the right time for Lake County.
Regardless of whether this is a current problem, what can the board do to reduce harassment, especially sexual harassment against women, in the county or forest district offices? If there have been complaints of harassment, have they been investigated properly? Are new policies needed?
As the father of 2 daughters, I am sensitive to this. Harassment of any kind has no place in society, especially sexual harassment.
The recent "Me Too" campaign, while controversial to some, has hopefully shined a light on the issue for all, both the victims who should understand it's OK to say something, and the perpetrators who should understand when you put someone in a compromising position you will always be outed.
In a time where sexual harassment is being better defined, I would work with administration to ensure that the anti-harassment training exceeds Federal standards, adheres to the latest societal definition of harassment and ensures an atmosphere where anyone who experiences harassment is and feels safe to report it.
The county board sets salaries for its members, as well as the countywide elected officials. Do you believe these various salaries are at the right level now? Are raises or pay cuts needed?
When I first decided to run for this office, I did not know it was a paid position. I thought it was a stipend role. However, after painstakingly reviewing the budgets and attending all of the board meetings, I have to say the County Board is responsible for over 2,700 employees and a budget just over half a Billion dollars. This is a real job with huge responsibility.
It is for that reason that I believe a modest salary should be attached to incentivize quality professionals to take time from their families and to replace lost income from their main job.
Without a financial incentive, how can we expect quality candidates to give up some of their primary income to come serve in a role with so much responsibility?
That said, I do not believe the salary should be so high as to incentivize anyone to make a career out of it.
I will not support any increases in salary for County Board.
With regard to countywide elected officials, i believe salaries should be in line with their private sector equivalents.
Raises should never be a higher percentage than the private sector. It is unfair to ask residents whose incomes have stagnated to pay a higher percentage of their income to cover public servant raises.
The forest district still has a lot of undeveloped preserves. Name one such preserve you'd like to see get amenities, and tell me what you'd like to see built there.
In 2008, the voters of Lake County gave the Forest Preserve a mandate through referendum to preserve $160 million of forest land.
This was great for the commerce rich communities in Southern Lake County who are just a short drive away from some of the most beautiful forest land in the midwest. However, it has created large challenges for the less commercial Northern communities who have seen millions of dollars of real estate fall off the tax rolls.
My opinion on this matter does not matter, however to me, the question for the residents of Lake County should not be 'Do you want new amenities?' it should be 'Are you willing to pay for new amenities?'
So far, the answer I am getting as I walk from door to door is a resounding 'NO, we can not afford anymore property taxes'.
What is your position on government consolidation? Are there areas of government in Lake County that strike you as prime candidates for such consideration?
State law gives the County authority to eliminate taxing bodies for which it is the sole appointing body for. Of Lake County's 230 units of Government, that number only includes 27 out of the 230 bodies. Some of those 27 haven't levied taxes in years.
The County has already begun evaluating which of the bodies make the most sense to either eliminate or consolidate.
I do believe it is very important to identify redundancies in our system and looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary duplication.
However, I do not believe in a slash and burn strategy. The effectiveness, cost savings potential and accountability factor needs to be weighed.
Also, the taxing bodies closest to us on the pyramid are where we, the residents, have the most direct control. We need to be mindful of eliminating bodies where we have a lot of oversight and control of and force them to be hidden within a $512 Million budget.
Transparency, accountability, cost and control must all be evaluated prior to consolidation.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The number one complaint I get from residents as I walk door to door is the skyrocketing property taxes we pay.
8,10,12 thousand dollar tax bills on modest homes is outrageous.
Our leaders can not ignore the detrimental effects that their out of control spending policies are causing.
Real Estate ownership is the backbone to many of our retirement plans. How can we have faith in our retirement plans when it is uncertain if we will ever be able to sell our homes because the taxes have grown so high? How can we afford to live in our homes in retirement when the cost of taxes is equal or greater than a mortgage payment.
I see my role in County Government as one to not only hold the line on spending and finding areas to reduce, but as importantly to be your voice with all of the taxing bodies, especially with our state senators and representatives to demand something be done with pensions and a school funding formula that places nearly ALL of the school funding on the backs of only the property tax payers.
We have other issues to tackle as well that are important
infrastructure improvements, opioid crisis, lack of businesses and good jobs.
I also want to hear what is affecting you. Please contact me and let me know how I can best represent you on County Board.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Today's leaders don't inspire me like past leaders do. Too much division in the world today. Ronald Reagan is my most recent inspiration.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Never be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get to work to accomplish something. No work is beneath you.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
If I eliminated a mistake from my life I would lose the important lessons I learned from it. I wouldn't accept a do-over on anything.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Math. Math is the universal constant. When you understand math and the logic behind it, everything else falls neatly into place.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
The three most important things in life are your family, your community and your faith. When you have that, nothing else matters.