Rafael Garcia Jr.: 2021 candidate for Elgin City Council
11 candidates are running for four, 4-year seats on the Elgin City Council. One candidate, Marcus Banner, declined to participate.
Occupation: Bus driver
Employer: Pace Suburban Bus
Civic involvement: Community Advisory Board Group 5
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. Defer to state and local authorities. Refer residents to appropriate resources that are available.
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. Yes, the City of Elgin Facebook page provided important information regarding testing for COVID-19.
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. We should continue the practices we learned during this pandemic and encourage people to wear a mask to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. I don't know.
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. I believe the most important infrastructure project that must be addressed is housing for our most vulnerable residents. I don't know the specific details of how we would pay for the project, but I think we can learn from other cities, churches, and organizations that have attempted to resolve this issue. It is my understanding that a lot of the big projects that Elgin has undertaken have been funded with grants. I think upgrading the infrastructure to make Elgin a Metra Quiet zone can be put on the back burner.
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. Yes, I agree with the stance the city council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community. If I could change the stance, I would also add an apology to all the people that were incarcerated and negatively impacted by the U.S. governments' war on drugs.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. Installing traffic signs in areas that see a lot of accidents or near accidents. I don't think we should wait until enough people die to put up a stop sign, roundabout, or traffic light. Life is precious.