Michele Hilger Clemen: Candidate profile
CANDIDATE BIO INFORMATION
Name: Michele Hilger Clemen
City: Naperville, IL
Office sought: Naperville City Council
Family: Adam Clemen - Husband
Occupation: Sales Manager, Friendship Senior Options
BS Health Communications - Grand Valley State University
MBA - North Central College
City of Naperville Housing Advisory Commission - Chairperson
Naperville Community Television, Channel 17 Board of Directors President
Previous elected offices held: I am a first-time candidate
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?
The most important issues facing Naperville are public safety, economic development and financial responsibility. In a city of close to 150,000 people, it is important that we work together with our police and fire departments to ensure the safety of all of the residents of Naperville. We need to focus on the opioid crisis and mental health issues to be sure that we can help as many residents as possible from harming themselves or others in the community.
I also plan to work with the city as well as the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Development Partnership to continue to attract quality businesses to our community. By having a strong commercial base, this can help to relieve some of the property tax burden that residents of Naperville are facing.
* What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I think that I am the best candidate for Naperville City Council because not only do I have an understanding of a part of how the city works, through the roles I have had with the Commission I serve on, I am willing to listen to the community and learn all I can about issues the residents of Naperville are facing to ensure the best outcome for everyone.
* 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.
My leadership style is collaborative. I think that listening is the best way to understand an issue and come to the best solution that will benefit as many people as possible. That said, I feel it is important to have the political courage to stand up for something that is right, even when it is not popular.
* 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?
Over the course of the last four years, the Naperville City Council put in place four key financial principals that have helped the city's finances tremendously. The city now has reduced its debt and increased its reserves, and continues to have a AAA bond rating, which is a bright spot in a state racked with financial woes.
I plan to continue to focus on the city's finances to ensure that we continue to use the resources of the residents of Naperville wisely and efficiently, while being sure that city services are funded adequately and our pension liabilities are being met.
* What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
An issue that is facing the Naperville community that I feel is not being discussed is our aging population. These are the residents that helped to create the vision of Naperville that we enjoy today, and because of high property taxes and an increase in city fees, are concerned about the ability to be able to stay in the city they love. As a member of the City Council, I would like to see if we can work to find creative ways to rebate fees and taxes to senior citizens and disabled people living in Naperville.