Linda Jackson: 2021 candidate for Glendale Heights Village Board
In the race for Glendale Heights Village President, incumbent Linda Jackson is facing challengers Chodri Ma Khokhar, Mike Ontiveroz and Edward Pope for the top spot in the April 6, 2021, election.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is now available at DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. In-person early voting with touch-screen voting begins March 22 at locations throughout the county. Learn more at www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
Town: Glendale Heights
Occupation: Village President, Glendale Heights
Civic involvement: DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference; Metropolitan Mayor Caucus; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Glendale Heights Jr. Woman's Club (Lifetime member), Glendale Heights VFW Post 2377 Ladies Auxiliary (Lifetime member); Glendale Heights Chamber of Commerce; Neighborhood Watch; CERT Member; Citizen's Police Academy Graduate; Charity Golf Classic Committee; Historical Committee; Parks and Recreation Committee; Christmas Committee; Golf Course Committee; Government Agency Partnership (GAP); Glendale Heights CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition; Youth Commission (founding member); Senior Center Advisory; Founders' Day Committee and Special Events Committee
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: Definitely a leader. I've spent countless hours gathering as much information and knowledge from local and state agencies, as well as employees to help develop a plan for the village. Since the start of the pandemic, my days have been filled with zoom meetings with DuPage Mayors and Managers, DuPage County, DuPage County Health Department, the governor's office and many others to try and learn as much as possible to make educated and informed decisions while leading the village through this pandemic.
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: The Village of Glendale Heights had many struggles at the onset of the pandemic and I believe the village faced those struggles head on. The village remained open for the residents and tried to offer a sense of normalcy for the residents. To do this, the village provided protection for staff, put in safety measures for those that had to complete business at village hall and worked to find services the community needed.
Early on in the pandemic we assisted restaurants with outdoor seating as that was the only dining service option, as well worked with businesses in any way that we could. We tried to offer something for anyone that was in need of assistance. Working with community partners we have provided monthly food distributions that have served nearly 10,000 families since May 2020, hosted a drive-through flu shot clinic, hosted two COVID drive-through testing events, and, to date, hosted five COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
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: Glendale Heights continued to serve its residents, uninterrupted, during the pandemic. Services were not reduced. Employees adapted to each new set of requirements that the federal and state government mandated and kept moving forward. Our pool was one of the few that opened this summer which provided our residents with some recreational opportunities. Though our village hall closed for a period of time early in the pandemic, village services continued through online services and by appointments with staff. Village events went virtual or were adapted to allow for social distancing, such as "Breakfast 'from' Santa" or our drive-up Christmas tree lighting.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: To reduce the burden on taxpayers during the pandemic local government needs to determine the services that are needed by its residents and taxpayers. They need to see that their tax dollars are being used to provide needed services. Those services are different in a pandemic than that of normal times. Any "cut" needs to be focused on how to survive the economic downturn caused by the pandemic without adding to the tax burden. In Glendale Heights, this was accomplished by scaling back on road projects, purchases, and instituting a hiring freeze.
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 pressing infrastructure needed in our community deals with the sewage treatment plant. New, stringent discharge standards are being required of all villages by the EPA. These new standards will require millions of dollars in improvements and rehabilitation of aging equipment.
We are looking at a combination of low-interest loans and reserve spending to pay for these unfunded mandates. Aging utility infrastructure is a major concern. It is not limited to our sewage treatment plant but also incorporates our water and sewer mains, which in some areas of town are over 60 years old. Cutting back on infrastructure projects, if done, can only be a short term endeavor. Deferring these projects only causes issues in later years, resulting in added costs and higher prices. We need to enter contracts cautiously but not stop improving our infrastructure.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I agree with the stance that the board has taken in regard to marijuana sales in Glendale Heights.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: The Village of Glendale Heights' motto is "A Proud and Progressive Community for All People." These words are certainly true as we have residents that come from many different cultural backgrounds.
I recently have asked staff to put together information for the creation of an arts/cultural council. Over my years as village president, we have had many cultural celebrations including International Day, the Monarch Butterfly Festival, Pakistani Independence Day, and Glendale Heights Oktoberfest, to name just a few. I am hopeful that we can have this new council continue to bring together our community through further cultural celebrations that celebrate art, music and the diversity that make Glendale Heights great.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I believe I am the best candidate for village president for a number of reasons but the biggest reason is that I have served the community for 30 years and believe there is no better community in Illinois. Not only have I served the community as village president or a trustee, I have been involved in every community event we have held and I have built strong relationships with the residents. I listen to their needs, wants and concerns and take action where needed. I've always had an open-door policy and my office has always been open to everyone.
I raised my family in Glendale Heights and have seen the tremendous growth and change that has taken place in the community. I believe this community is getting better every day and I am committed to continuing the progress into the future.