Amy Gayton: Candidate profile
Name: Amy Johns Gayton
City: Long Grove
Office sought: Village Trustee
Age (on Election Day): 50
Family: My husband is David Gayton. I have 2 daughters, Alexandra and Nicole. They are currently attending Stevenson High School and Woodlawn Middle School.
Occupation: I am a co-owner of the business my husband runs, but my time is spent raising our girls and volunteering at school, and for many organizations in Long Grove.
Education: B.S. in Finance from DePaul University.
Civic involvement: I am the Long Grove Village Clerk, Long Grove Historical Society Board Member, Long Grove Lion, Long Grove Living Magazine Contributor, and a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) team member for South Lake County.
Previous elected offices held: I am currently the Long Grove Village Clerk. Appointed in July 2016, elected in 2017.
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? No.
Facebook: Amy Johns Gayton
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Our biggest issue is a lack of funding. Our residents (including myself) do not want to be taxed. This means increasing our sales tax base. Working together with our current businesses and potential new businesses is how that can be affected. Crucial steps have been taken in making Long Grove a desirable place to be, and that work comes to fruition this year. Our downtown is a big concern to many residents. I wish "build it and they will come" was all it took. It helps, but it's much more than that. While many buildings look better today than they did a year ago, we have a long way to go. However, we are more than our historic downtown. Our 5 subareas have great possibilities, but are limited by what our residents perceive as fitting with Long Grove, and I agree. A car dealership brings in large amounts of sales tax, but I don't believe it fits in with our rural character. Our rural character and historic downtown is why I fell in love with this place as a kid.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have the ability to see both sides of an issue, and a gift of bringing people together. There have been many instances where Dave and I act as a bridge within the community, in both small ways and not so small. This has become an inside joke between us, made more poignant when you know we live in the figurative shadow of our "soon to be covered again" bridge. If the $250,000 grant money doesn't come through, nobody would work harder than I to find the money to ensure the long-term fix. I would dedicate myself to finding solutions in whatever I can. If necessary, I would spend hundreds of hours To find the funding it will take. I have a proven attendance record. That's important, but only half the battle. I promise to throughly do my homework by not only reading through the board materials, but delving deeper into topics to help find solutions. Also, by not having full-time employment demands, I have the availability to help ease the burden of the daytime tasks/meetings shouldered by a few current trustees. With limited staff, volunteers stepping up is how we get things done.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your
I would best describe my leadership style as Situational. Different times call for different measures. There are times where an autocratic response is most appropriate, but I'm more comfortable with a participatory/facilitative inspired approach. Working together with others and listening to what they have to say, brings that much more to the table. I would also add that I lead by example, and I work side by side to affect change. Rolling up your sleeves, and getting your hands dirty will produce actions and decisions.
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?
Long Grove's budget is very limited, which is why our infrastructure and our level of service is also limited. Recent infrastructure improvements have taken quite a bite out of our budget, but they are necessary investments, that I truly believe will pay off. We must increase our sales tax base. In the meantime, being prudent, and making informed decisions are crucial. We don't have the luxury of making mistakes, and by doing our due diligence, I believe that we can continue providing the level of service our residents currently receive.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I have two that I started to talk about: Creating a metal archway to act as both a truck barrier to our historic bridge, and an aesthetic piece of art. Using one of our current communication vehicles, the Bridge newsletter (which is received by all residents), to update the survey that the Village did 4 years ago. A lot of money was spent on that initiative, and I believe not only do we have many new residents, but those who responded may have a different viewpoint today. I think taking one topic at a time, may be the best approach. An article can contain pertinent information and a page on our website can be used to record feedback.