Dawn DeSart: Candidate profile
Name: Dawn DeSart
Office sought: DuPage County Board, District 5
Family: Two children
Education: Bachelor's from Minnesota State University
Civic involvement: Former board member with United Way of Fox Valley; former board member of Little Blessings Preschool, NOW member
Elected offices held: Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board
Questions & Answers
Q. Why are you running for county board?
I am motivated to run for DuPage County Board, District 5, because I don't believe the board is representative of DuPage County. There are 18 members on the board, plus the chairman. Of those 19, there are only four women on the board, and only one Democrat. This does not represent DuPage County, where 51 percent of the population is female and where the county voted overwhelmingly Democrat in the past several presidential elections.
Q. Describe two ways you would contribute to the board.
There are some financial oversight issues I would like to champion as a member of the DuPage County Board. Having successfully served on the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 board of education, I am fully aware that board work is a team effort, and that there is no "I" in "board."
Having said that, I would push for more consolidation of government entities within DuPage County, as I believe that Illinois has too many taxing bodies, many of which are redundant in their efforts.
Within the DuPage County purview specifically, I would like to see the recorder's office dissolved into the county clerk's office (at a savings to taxpayers of at least $145,485 plus a $6,500 stipend).
Over time, I would like to see the DuPage County Board membership reduced from three members per district to two members per district, a savings to taxpayers of at least $312,612. There is no good reason for each of DuPage County's six districts to have three representatives. These are only two of the tax-saving measures I'd like to address when I serve on the DuPage County Board.
Q. Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?
I do not want to see social services cut by the DuPage County Board, and I will be a champion for those who need these services most. Funding this initiative would come from "cutting the fat" in other areas, like those I've described above.
Q. With DuPage County's budget being squeezed by state funding cuts and other factors, what initiatives would you support to increase revenue and/or save money?
With my ideas above alone, I've already (ideally) added almost a half-million dollars to the budget. Only 2 percent of DuPage County residents' property taxes go to DuPage County. The biggest chunk of property taxes go to fund education. Only 13 percent of the board's budget comes from property taxes, therefore, I would not consider increasing property taxes to compensate for the state's lack of funding.
Q. The county has been focused on consolidation of services and government agencies. How effective has that effort been and how could it be improved?
The board has attempted to consolidate services and governmental agencies, and I applaud that effort. I simply don't believe the board has done enough yet.
Q. What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
The single most important issue for Americans is health care. People are worried about it; people are worried about pre-existing conditions; people are worried about prescription drug prices. There is much the county can do.
Another important issue in District 5, specifically, and throughout DuPage County, is transportation. Whether by car or by public transportation, we need to make commuting less stressful.