Whitney Robbins: Candidate profile
Name: Whitney Robbins
Office sought: City Council
Family: Married with three children
Occupation: Director of Client Services -- Verizon
Education: Graduated Naperville North 1992, University of Kansas
Civic involvement: Member, Naperville Liquor Commission, Co-Founder of Batten Fundraiser, Member, Hesed House Derby Committee, various District 203 elementary school committees.
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
* What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Public Safety is at the top of the list. Naperville consistently ranks as one of the safest communities of our size in the country -- but we can and must do better. I believe we need to continue to improve communication from our Public Safety Team and an effort toward enhanced engagement with citizens to encourage diligence when it comes to keeping community safety a priority.
A healthy economy is the backbone of any successful city. While Naperville is home to many large businesses that give our residents ample employment opportunities, we must continue to work to attract, retain and grow businesses in our community. Working with the Chamber, the Naperville Development Partnership and both business and community leaders, I look forward to continuing in effective ways to ensure our property taxes do not rise.
We have a reputation for outstanding schools and parks and we need to continue to work collaboratively with those units of government and seek out ways to partner to provide better services for our residents and businesses.
Other important issues such as affordable housing and traffic congestion are items that need to be addressed. Seniors are a vital part of our community and we must consider their rising cost of living. Our seniors should not be forced to move away from family, friends, or worship communities because they are being taxed out of their own homes. I'm prepared to work hard to find a solution to this problem.
Regarding traffic management and transit we must look at healthier forms of commuting and other options to ease congestion. For example, widening roads, street restriping and intersection upgrades could all have a positive impact on commute times. Additionally, we need to identify key destinations that generate heavy traffic and develop mass transit routes and methods to safely and efficiently move people to and from those destinations. Right now, our residents are not in the habit of using mass transit. If we make such transit more convenient and accessible, perhaps that would change.
* What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A mom first, my desire to serve this community stems from being a parent who wants a great life for my children. Having young children allows me the opportunity to interact with other moms and parents who share the same concerns for a better Naperville. As someone who grew up in Naperville, I have a deep respect for our past and present leaders and want to be a part planning for the future of our city.
Not only am I a mom, but I also have a full-time job outside the home where I am constantly faced with business and organizational challenges. I take great pride in collaborating with my partners and leadership team to discuss various scenarios and consequences to ensure we identify and achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. In my 20+ years in business, I have found that it is important to me to consult, brainstorm and problem solve with a team before any action is taken.
* 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.
I believe listening is one of the most important skills a leader must possess. As a proven team leader in business, I look forward to engaging my fellow Council members, residents, businesses and community leaders in discussions to help us build consensus on important issues.
By listening and learning about different perspectives, I believe I can be a dedicated and fair community representative. I know that not all issues are black and white and I will use my resources, combined with input from residents, to make the most objective decision possible.
* 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 City of Naperville has some of the lowest property tax rates in the region. Because of our diverse and robust business climate, we have sales tax revenues that are among the highest in the state, which helps offset the burden for our residents. Fiscal management is extremely important and I look forward to finding ways to streamline government services wherever possible and continuing to reduce our costs through efficiencies from "shared services," technology advances and planning.
* What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Leading Naperville to become a 5G community -- a SMART CITY. With this technology we would have the ability to detect temperature, pollution, water leaks, full garbage bins and traffic
jams. For example, as a "Smart City" we could help manage the costs of operating our parks and ball fields with smart light posts (that also provide a layer of security) and smart water features.
While 5G sounds like only the next incremental advancement for telecom, it is similar to the giant leap phones took when they went from rotary dial to push button and in planes when jet power replaced propellers.
5G infrastructure has the potential to speed up government … a daunting and exciting possibility.
Decisions and plans require research, input and facts. The faster that information is made available, and from more sources, the quicker decisions can be made intelligently so that delivery and implementation of that plan serve the community sooner.