Edith S. Reese: 2021 candidate for Mundelein trustee
7 candidates running for 3, 4-year seats
Civic involvement: Attendance at village board meetings (including letters to board and speaking on various issues); Fremont Writers Group; Shakespeare in the Park (Mundelein Arts Council); Lake County Bar Association (past).
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree -- or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: True control of the pandemic is an international issue, as we have seen by the rapid spread of COVID variants from different parts of the world. The best thing that I can do as an individual trustee is to follow national and state guidelines regarding masking, social distancing and vaccinations and encourage others to do the same.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Mundelein followed Gov. Pritzker's orders regarding business restrictions/mandatory masking and social distancing. In addition, the Village suspended water disconnections and penalties, as well as waived business registration late payment penalty fees. The Village is in the process of considering whether to reinstitute those charges in the near future.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: Public health crises require a coordinated national approach. A patchwork of differing local standards did little to resolve the current pandemic. Steps are now being taken on a national level to improve statistical analysis, communication, and resource distribution during a public health crisis. Local governments would best be served by following these national guidelines.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: There should be no cuts in services to residents, particularly during a pandemic. What local governments can do is budget the Village's funds wisely, ensuring that every program passed by the Village Board is adequately funded, with little or no tax burden on the residents.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I was an early supporter of recreational marijuana sales in Mundelein, even though I do not use it. As the sale of recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois, Mundelein applied for one of the first licenses for a dispensary. The Village has benefitted from the local portion of the tax revenue collected.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Improve Village technological capacity so that all registration, permitting and licensing applications will be able to be filled out and submitted online. Additionally, all payments for these will be able to be made by credit card.
Q: What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A: The only reason that I am running is that I believe that my unique combination of skills, experience and maturity will best represent the people of Mundelein on the Village Board. As a retired lawyer who spent most of my professional life negotiating complex professional liability claims, I am familiar with large scale budgets, multilayered issues, and urgent time pressures. As a certified Toastmaster and occasional amateur actor, it is obvious that I have no fear of public speaking. I have also volunteered at an adult care facility and assisted with my late father's and mother-in-law's care. I believe that our senior citizens are some of our most underutilized resources. They provide us with a sense of history and perspective. My experience with senior citizens taught me how to really listen. Of course, I value the opinions of all residents, regardless of their age, and encourage them to contact me with their concerns. Attentive listening combined with the maturity to ask appropriate follow-up questions will foster productive discussions and effective solutions to our Village's issues.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: The most important infrastructure issues are not within the sole control of the Village of Mundelein. Our main streets (Route 60/83, Route 176, Route 45) are all state roads bisected by railroad tracks. This creates significant congestion issues for our residents. Nonetheless, the Village Board must maintain pressure on state authorities and the railroad to construct overpasses or underpasses to alleviate congestion on our main thoroughfares.