Patty Smith: Candidate profile
Name: Patty Smith
Office sought: Aurora Alderman Ward 8
Family: Children Kathryn 27, Gregory 24, Elizabeth 22: Dog Tucker
Occupation: Prairie State Legal Services, Paralegal/Intake Specialist
Education: Lamar University: American Bar Association Certified Paralegal, COD
Civic involvement Volunteer of the Year award from the city of Aurora; Naperville Township Committee Women; Director, Indian Prairie Education Foundation; Commissioner, City of Aurora Human Relations Commission; Board member and parent advocate, Gigi's Playhouse Fox Valley; PTA President Waubonsie Valley High School, Granger Middle School, Steck Elementary School, Indian Prairie Pre School; PTA Vice President, Waubonsie Valley High School, Granger Middle School, Steck Elementary School; Indian Prairie Parents Council; Indian Prairie Diversity Council; Midwest Heart Specialist Coordinator WVHS and IPEF; Dist 204 Building Referendum Committee; Dist 204 Education Referendum Committee; Dist 204 Boundary Committee; Board Member, Oakhurst Recreations Club and Oakhurst Homeowners Association; Chairman, Western Suburb National Association for Down syndrome; Religions Education Teacher, Our Lady of Mercy.
Previous elected offices held: Naperville Township Committeeman
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? N/A
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
The most important issue facing my community is the redevelopment of Rt 59. Currently up and down Rt 59 we have a large number of blighted areas. If we do nothing this area will continue to decline which will draw more tax dollars away from the City of Aurora, our schools and have a negative impact on our home values. Reconstruction of Rt 59 will bring economic growth, good paying jobs, tax dollars to the City of Aurora and our schools, plus increase home values in our community.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
What makes me the best candidate for the job is my experience, knowledge, and involvement with our community, our city, and our schools. I have lived in Ward 8 since 1990 when the area was underdeveloped and seen firsthand the transition from all angles. Through my civic involvement I became an active voice throughout the development of our community and schools. I have experience communicating and collaborating with the past (6) district 204 superintendents in Ward 8. With the appointment of the late Mayor Weisner I became actively involved with the City of Aurora through the Human Relations Commission. As an advocate for my 27-year-old daughter with Down syndrome I pushed for ground breaking inclusion in our schools and community. My current employment with a not-for-profit legal agency that provides free legal service for low income residents expands my ability and understanding of those who need additional supports. Since announcing my candidacy, I have taken the time to reach out to experience Aurora Alderman and I have attended weekly City Council and special meetings to prepare myself for the job. Alderman of Ward 8 will be my number one priority. My doors will always be open to my constituents with no distraction of other employment or obligations.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your village board or city council.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." ~ Helen Keller. My leadership style takes this idea to heart by seeking to partner and collaborate with those effected by the decision being made. My leadership style problem solves by bring people to the table, keeping all possibilities open and finding common ground. Once a decision needs to be made, I will do so quickly and decisively, I believe the only side that should be taken is the side that is best for the constitutes.
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people want?
The Aurora Budget is in good shape, and the city is currently able to pay for a lot of the city's needs. However, Aurora needs to focus on the future of our community, because the paradigm of how we had retail and commercial areas in our community is rapidly changing. Aurora needs to invest in local infrastructure and help spur reinvestment in our detreating retail centers. Aurora can do this by working with the local stakeholders to focus on the area's most important for redevelopment. This will create a larger tax base to continue to pay for our needs and afford more of our wants.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Aurora must invest in infrastructure. This is the key for our future, we must work on regional initiatives such as the proposed Wikaduke Trail, a regionally important road that will connect I-88 with I-80 that runs through the 8th Ward using Eola Rd., the only missing part is controlled by Aurora and Oswego. Once the missing link near Heggs Rd. is completed, this regionally important road will help drive reinvestment in our community. To accomplish this as Ward 8 Alderman I will reach out to stakeholders such as District 204, Naperville Township, DuPage County, and the other government entities that touch the 8th Ward, all of whom would benefit from the additional economic development.