Sheila Rutledge: Candidate Profile
DuPage County board District 6 (Democrat)
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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.
Family: Husband of 33yrs William
Youngest of 7 siblings
Occupation: photographer/sales professional/ real estate investor
Education: Master of Photography Mphotog (PPA)
Certified Professional Photographer CPP (PPA) certifications
Civic involvement: Dupage Forest Preserve volunteer 2010 to present. Danada Volunteer of the Year 2014
Warrenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 20
Dupage Democrats finance committee representing Winfield Township.
Elected offices held: Winfield Township Precinct2 Committeeman
Warrenville Chamber, director
PPANI (Professional Photographers Assoc of Northern Illinois) Host Chair,2 term Treasurer, 1st VP, President, COB
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
I would say the biggest motivation is to see our county board reflect the makeup of its citizens. The current board is comprised of mostly white male republicans. There are few women and no minorities. The voters of our county voted for the Democratic presidential candidate overwhelming which should speak to what type of representation our county is looking for. I also became involved at the urging of Dupage Democrats because of my involvement with that organization. I have a personal history of working within organizations that make life in Dupage better for all.
What is your stance on county board members' pay? Too high, too low, just right? Would you propose any changes?
I believe that the pay is about right but the duties of our elected officials should be to advocate for our county at the local, state and federal levels. We currently pay lobbyists to do the work of what I think should be a board members responsibility. The money our county pays to lobbyists groups is unnecessary. Neighboring counties' board members advocate for counties at the state and federal level. There are 12 attorneys on our current board and I would expect they and the rest of the board members can and should take over the advocacy the lobbyists are doing. There is also no accountability by those firms to report projects or progress for what they are lobbying for. What are we paying $288,000 for?
With DuPage County's budget being squeezed by the state funding reductions, what initiatives would you support to increase revenue and/or save money?
I believe reducing waste in government is a terrific goal, however, if those cuts impact the already marginalized citizens of our county it is merely a shell game. Taking a look at services and regulations to make smart changes that would serve our citizens and add to the budget would be something I would look at. I would prefer policies that can add to revenues such as my proposal, adopted by the Forest Preserve. In 2012 I advocated for them to change a long standing permit policy for conducting photography activities on the preserves. The fee was $200 per day with only $600 total actually collected. The ticket for not having a permit was only $75. I advocated a yearly permit and a lower daily permit that has added $40,000 to their budget with $11,400 in 2017 alone! I think that amount would be greater by promoting the policy to groups that are using the preserves for that purpose. Those type of smart changes can boost revenue and serve citizens.
What are your thoughts about the county's Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency Initiative? What role should DuPage play in efforts to streamline and consolidate local government?
On first look I would support any efforts to cut waste in spending and streamline local governments. As a candidate I have tried to find a definitive list of ACT accomplishments. It sounds good but the results are harder to find. Other than the high profile consolidations I haven't seen much else that benefits the taxpayers. I worry that cuts to federal programs and gentrification in Cook Co. will place higher burdens on our country and a posture of cutting will hurt the citizens of our county with the least. Currently we are spending much less than surrounding counties per capita so I worry that the citizens of our county most in need of services will go without.
What initiatives, if any, do you have in mind for your specific county board district?
The gentrification of Cook Co. will be pushing more low income citizens to our county. We will need to work harder to help them maintain a good standard of living here in Dupage. I would like to look into a Divvy bike program, expanded bike and walk lanes and once implemented look at a Ã’Vision 0Ã“ program, (based on an underlying ethical principle that it can never be ethically acceptable that people are killed or seriously injured when moving within the road transport system) program to keep those walkers and bikers safeÃ“. At the very least bus shelters to give those using them a place to be sheltered. We can also add advertising to those shelters to help pay for them. I am concerned about the cuts to CHIP, ACA and ACT initiative cuts that will impact the least of our citizens and would support a plan for greater services to the estimated 70,000+ people living in poverty in our county and our communities who are hungry or food insecure. Currently a full time employee would have to work 110 at the minimum wage to be able to afford a 2 bedroom apartment so affordable housing should be a priority. I would like to see more communities working with their citizens to develop urban farms to help bring quality food to their plates and donate excess to local families in need.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Without doubt, human existence on planet earth is increasingly endangered.
The consequences of our dependence on fossil fuels, pollution of our waterways, and unchecked development are coming to bear, sooner than later. I will advocate for local changes to minimize as much of the impact as possible at a local level.
At the county level, we must protect the property rights of those who choose to do better.
We must protect the right of the people to grow their own food, and to maintain their own property in sustainable fashion. The future of food security may well be found in the small landowners growing food for themselves and their communities. Local food takes the fossil fuel out of daily necessities and personal choices. Taking fossil fuels out of landscaping and maintenance of property and land means allowing people to forgo chemically intensive lawns and landscaping in favor of native planting and food production. There is no good purpose to prohibiting keeping chickens, bees, or other small food animals. There is no good purpose to preventing people from having small buildings, seasonal or permanent, to extend our short growing season. Property rights must include the right to be better stewards of the land on which we live, however large or small.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Hillary Clinton, despite a 30 year campaign to demean her she continues to put herself out for the good of people. Some may disagree.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Being the youngest of 7 children I learned to be self sufficient.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
More education and learning a foreign language.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I was admittedly not a fan of high school and went immediately into work. If I had to pick a subject it would be English.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep family and friends close. Life throws much at you and they will be the ones to help you through the most difficult times.