Millie Vargas: 2021 candidate for Round Lake Beach trustee
6 candidates running for 3, 4-year terms
Town: Round Lake Beach
Occupation: Representative, Clear Candle Corp.
Civic involvement: Worked with neighbors to create a program called CAT (Community Action Team) that looks out for other neighbors and helps coordinate neighborhood cleanups phone chains for emergencies, we also meet with the local police department monthly; volunteer as Democratic committeeman of precinct 021 in Round Lake Beach and as an election judge in Round Lake Beach; volunteer with Feed My Starving Children
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: The pandemic has affected me and my family personally and that was rough but the whole world got hit with it and didn't know what to do but know we have ways to keeping ourselves safe and just need to stick with the guidelines that the CDC and other experts have put in place for us. We as a whole have to reiterate what the guidelines are and show them that we are all doing our part. As far as leadership we can only lead by example (wear our masks doubling if need be, washing our hands, hand sanitize when out and about, donate blood and plasma and follow the six feet apart guidelines). I can't make them do what I am doing and least of all force them too, but I will do my part in showing them that this is something we need to take seriously and be a role model for them showing that we too are doing our part to stay safe and by all of us doing this together we can be a part of the solution and not the problem. We can educate the ones that want to know more by showing them statistics and testimony. If they don't want to comply with the state guidelines then we need to call the proper authorities to take over and handle this matter.
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: No, too much misleading information circulated and no guidance regarding what to do was given. Neither meetings nor newsletters were made. I assumed the Mayor, local government or CDC officials that had knowledge of this pandemic would have supplied us with emergency PPE to begin with, but they failed us. We were ambushed by what was said on TV and did what the governor ordered us to do. Parents that worked not as teachers had to stay home and teach, while real teachers were left without jobs. The government continued asking for money and made promises to get PPE and essentials (toilet paper, disinfectant, hand sanitizers, etc.) for everyone, yet stores would price gouge and not put limits on how much of each item you were allowed to take. We were barely able to find and afford stuff. Everyone at that point was in a full blown panic. Once again, advised by the governor we weren't told what to prepare for next. They could have done so much more for us knowing how deadly this pandemic is and how much their people have been struggling. The way our town handled this pandemic showed just how much we have to improve.
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 need to develop a plan and designate someone or multiple people to help our constituents for future crisis's. We need to have resources from the Lake County Health Dept, State and Federal available.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The budget would have to be reviewed first before any cuts are made. Put a temporary hold on the Hook Drive project while evaluating all the needs of the communities.
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 think it is a great idea. It is like selling alcohol. I would like to see some of that revenue go back into the communities or even give some money to teachers that are under paid.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Put Red Police Phones that go directly to 911 dispatch by Recreational Parks, Running Trail, as well as Forest Preserves. Improve existing infrastructures and revitalize the Rollins Rd Business corridor.
Q: What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A: I've lived in the Round Lake Beach community since 2000 and I would like to be more involved with the growth and improvement of our communities as well as educate them. We cannot just stand by and watch while businesses leave our area, we need to bring solutions that will bring businesses back and help our community grow. Many of our infrastructures need to be updated to improve the quality of life for our residents. I think taxpayer dollars could be better spent on purchasing vacant land for new projects as well as bringing back some other businesses that didn't survive this trying era. We need to develop a better budget plan to port current issues and the new growth with transparency and not keep our community in wonder of where the monies are going to. Our community needs not just a vision but results.
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: We need so many improvements. We have streets that flood regularly needing better drainage. We need improved sewers, streets with large pot holes to be filled, streetlights, more sidewalks through the village and our parks need to be updated for the safety of our children. We need to look at the village as a whole and not just improve the newer areas.