John Jacobs: Candidate profile
Office sought: DuPage County Board, District 4
Occupation: IT consultant
Education: Some classes at College of DuPage
Civic involvement: None
Elected offices held: Precinct committeeman
Questions and Answers
1. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
As citizens, I believe we have a moral obligation to improve the lives of those around us. We deserve to feel empowered to understand our local communities, and to check our elected officials. We can't "settle" for candidates; we need people that truly agree with our values. I believe I possess the temperament, the conscience, and the will to accomplish great things with the DuPage County Board. By and large, there is a great deal of distrust of our government and elected leaders. You deserve to know the person you elected will be there day in and day out to listen to you, and to fight for you. My candidacy is no vanity project, nor will my constituents be a political steppingstone. I intend to get honest results with honest politics.
2. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
If the public can't tell us what they think, I don't consider it effective leadership. I believe meeting times should be rescheduled to make the board more accessible to the public, in addition to technological changes to better enable more productive dialogue between elected officials and their constituents. I also believe that we need to make a priority of public safety, especially for disadvantaged and at-risk members of our community. To this end, the county board needs to take greater steps to address public health issues like the opioid crisis and domestic abuse. I would like to begin by implementing a registry similar to the sexual predator registry for domestic abusers and stalkers, and by increasing funding to programs like HOPE Taskforce that work toward increasing public knowledge and preventing death from opioid use.
3. Should county board members continue to start their regular board meetings with an invocation? Please say why or why not.
I feel that any belief system that compels one to be a good person should be encouraged. So, with the understanding that our county board represents people of a wide array of faiths, I was gratified to see the inclusion of Jewish and Muslim prayers in recent board meetings. If the board consistently rules to continue invocations I would like to see that sense of community encompassing all faiths continue. In many ways the invocations function as a meditative, consistent start to each meeting, and it makes sense to do so. That said, as religion shouldn't inform our decision-making, I don't think starting meetings with prayer contributes much to the process, and could just as effectively be replaced with a moment of meditation or silence for those practicing to reflect.
4. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
I think they've historically been transparent, but I also recognize the inherent difficulty in being forthcoming with this density of information. The budget is lengthy for the average citizen to read through and decipher what is going on in their community. More steps should be taken to inform the general public of the board's activities, and to gather public input. For example, I'd like to see the meetings moved from Tuesday mornings to Friday evenings; we need to prioritize attendance for everyday working people. I also think the board has an obligation to the public to increase transparency outside of meetings; the website would benefit from a major interface overhaul and we could do a lot more to promote the existing mailing list. Taxation has been a contentious subject this cycle -- by paying taxes, the public is making an investment in their community, and only through accessibility of information with regard to spending can that be recognized or appreciated.
5. Does there need to be more bipartisanship and cooperation on the county board? If yes, what would you do to help make that happen?
Absolutely. I've seen a large number of votes split along party lines when I think it's fair to have expected objectivity from our elected officials. Frankly, if the office is intended to be nonpartisan, why run as Democrats and Republicans to begin with? I'm looking to gather public interest in eliminating partisan titles from these offices, so as to deter groupthink and pride from overriding our ability to compromise.
6. Do you support a plan to merge the recorder's office with the county clerk's office? Why or why not?
I support the concept of saving taxpayer money on overhead, and with the ongoing reduction of staff across the board, I would think this would be a higher priority. The recorder's salary is substantial and with our current practiced recorder not running for reelection, the timing and value in consolidation this election cycle would have been monumental. I am looking forward to the results of the board's commissioned study of pros and cons.