Greg Hart: Candidate Profile
DuPage County board District 3 (Republican)
Back to DuPage 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.
Family: Alexandra (wife)
Madeleine (daughter, age 1 month)
Occupation: Management Consultant at Deloitte Consulting
Education: - B.A. in Political Science, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business (expected 2019)
Civic involvement: - DuPage County Board Member (September 2017-present)
- Fenwick High School Board of Directors, Institutional Advancement Committee Member (February 2016-present)
- Committeeman, Downers Grove Township Republican Organization (March 2014-present)
- Energy Committee Chairman, Illinois Senate District 24 Legislative Advisory Council (March 2015-August 2016)
- Board of Directors, Chicago Lighthouse Charter School (December 2011-June 2017)
Elected offices held: - DuPage County Board Member, District 3 (September 2017-present)
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?
As a management consultant, I help some of the country's largest companies find innovative ways to boost productivity, identify efficiencies, and operate more cost-effectively. Due largely to decisions made in Springfield, DuPage is in a position where it must make difficult organizational choices in order to provide services without raising taxes. I believe my professional expertise not only qualifies me for continued service on the County Board, but also uniquely positions me as the best candidate for this moment given the challenges DuPage will continue to face in the future. Since my appointment to the Board in September, I successfully worked with Chairman Cronin and my colleagues to help government make difficult decisions about efficiency, headcount, and program funding. If given the honor to serve District 3 for another four years, I will continue to identify opportunities to streamline government operations, reduce waste, and save money for taxpayers.
Aside from my professional qualifications, I believe my election would offer much needed generational diversity to the County Board. According to the US Census Bureau, more than a quarter of DuPage residents are under the age of 40. Yet, those under 40 currently represent just 5% of the Board's makeup. As DuPage's revenue streams become more dependent on millennial taxpayers, I believe it's important for our elected bodies to reflect the makeup of our community. I am ready and willing to continue serving as a voice that will credibly articulate the concerns of all District 3 citizens on the County Board.
What is your stance on county board members' pay? Too high, too low, just right? Would you propose any changes?
I firmly believe government must incentivize talented citizens to pursue public service. Offering competitive pay is one way to entice more people to explore government careers as opposed to more lucrative private sector options. However, I also firmly believe that those who choose to run for elected office should do so for the right reason Ã which is a genuine desire to do good for the community. DuPage County Board members earn roughly 21% more on average than their counterparts in Will, Lake, McHenry, and Kane counties. It is my view that the high salary provided to Board Members makes it more likely that candidates will seek the office for financial gain as opposed to a genuine desire to serve their fellow citizens.
It is also noteworthy that the recently passed FY18 budget, for which I voted in favor, required all county agencies to cut costs by 4% to offset a $3 million funding gap caused by politicians in Springfield. This cost reduction, while necessary, was difficult for many DuPage County departments and employees. I think it's only fair that County Board members share in that burden. Therefore, I would support a 4% reduction in County Board member pay, which would provide additional cost savings and move DuPage closer in line with its collar county counterparts.
With DuPage County's budget being squeezed by the state funding reductions, what initiatives would you support to increase revenue and/or save money?
According to a recent study, Illinois is currently losing one resident every 4.6 minutes. With that scale of outward migration, the residual impacts of Illinois' fiscal woes will only get worse for local governments across the state. While it was difficult, I am proud my fellow Board Members and I were able to pass a balanced FY18 budget that achieved significant cost reductions without raising property taxes. However, it is clear we must begin viewing cost cutting not necessarily as an achievement, but as a requirement for doing business.
As we look to the future, I support exploring opportunities to further model county operations after those in the private sector. As a management consultant, I regularly see businesses opting to leverage efficiencies within shared services such as payroll, IT, human resources, and other Ã’back officeÃ“ functions. We should explore opportunities to apply this method to departments financed by the County's General Fund, where a combination of implementing planned attrition, deploying cloud-based technology services, and outsourcing certain administrative services has the potential to result in significant cost savings for the taxpayer.
While identifying efficiencies should take precedence, I am also aware that cost savings alone likely won't solve the problems caused by our counterparts in Springfield. I am emphatically against the passage of any additional tax levy to increase revenue. However, I am open to exploring other initiatives for DuPage to generate new funds Ã such as renting out county meeting space or land for public and private use.
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?
Chairman Cronin has demonstrated tremendous leadership in positioning DuPage as a trailblazer on consolidation efforts not just locally, but across the state and nationally. I believe DuPage must remain a leader on this topic moving forward. Since joining the County Board in September, I have worked to strategically apply the principles of the ACT Initiative to DuPage government. I am proud that one of my first votes as a County Board member was to approve the consolidation of Highland Hills Sanitary District, which saved thousands of DuPage residents from burdensome rate increases on their water bills. I also am a strong supporter of the proposed plan to consolidate the DuPage County Election Commission into the County Clerk's Office. In December, I voted to place a non-binding referendum on the March primary ballot inquiring if voters share this view. If approved by the State Legislature and implemented by DuPage County, this merger could save our taxpayers an additional $300,000 annually. If I'm fortunate enough to represent District 3 for four more years, I will continue to be a steadfast champion of the ACT Initiative and will support the pursuit of consolidation efforts where they will result in demonstrable benefits for the taxpayer.
What initiatives, if any, do you have in mind for your specific county board district?
Flood control is both a quality of life and economic issue for thousands of District 3 residents. Having experienced flooding in my own home, I know what it feels like to watch each weather report with a sense of impending fear about the potential for property damage, depreciation, and other adverse financial impacts. As a member of the Stormwater Management Committee, I have voted for intergovernmental agreements enabling DuPage County to better support District 3 municipalities with flood planning and infrastructure enhancements. I will continue to champion such agreements so that officials and residents of flood-prone communities Ã notably Timberlake in unincorporated Willowbrook, Westmont, and Downers Grove Ã have the support they need to plan for and respond to incidents.
Workforce development, particularly as it relates to vocational training, is another initiative on which I plan to lead. District 3 is the fortunate home to some of the best performing school districts in DuPage. However, many of these school districts no longer educate students about non-collegiate career options that are often highly lucrative and highly available in the new global economy. The US is currently facing a shortage of skilled labor, particularly in the fields of healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. I intend to work with my colleagues on the Economic Development Committee to bring together academic and business community stakeholders to address the need for increased awareness, alternative educational paths, and vocational job placement for interested District 3 students.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
DuPage County, like much of the rest of America, is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is robbing too many young people of their futures. In 2017 alone, over 81 DuPage residents lost their lives to opioid addiction, which is up from 78 deaths in 2016 and 51 in 2015. This unprecedented public health crisis must be addressed head-on by elected officials across DuPage County.
Earlier in December, I joined officials from DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties in announcing a lawsuit against manufacturers of prescription opioid drugs that have bred heroin addiction and ravaged millions of families. I am proud DuPage County took a leadership role in this fight against the opioid epidemic. As a County Board member, I will continue to advocate for policies that leverage the expertise of DuPage's medical community, law enforcement, judicial system, social services, educators, and faith communities. It will take involvement and resources from all of these stakeholders to combat this scourge. DuPage has a unique role in helping to organize and oversee a managed effort to cope with the epidemic. I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure this effort succeeds.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Elon Musk Ã CEO of Tesla and SpaceX Ã because he demonstrates that no goal is unachievable, regardless of how lofty it may seem.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
My Mom and Dad taught me to always respect others, but also respect and have confidence in myself.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would spend more time with my grandparents to learn from them and let them know how much they have influenced my life.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
US History because it instilled in me at a relatively young age a deep understanding of how fortunate I am to be an American.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
It would be the same advice my parents gave me - always respect others, but also respect and have confidence in yourself.