Jennifer Veremis: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 2
Office sought: DuPage County Board District 2
Occupation: Small business consultant; owner Jennifer Veremis/Goal.Get.Her, Inc.
Previous offices held: Current City of Elmhurst Alderman, elected Elmhurst City Centre Board of Directors
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I have always tried to serve my community in a variety of ways. As a member of the City Centre Board, and now as an Elmhurst alderman, I have endeavored to use my skills and experience to improve our quality of life.
I am a dedicated leader with proven results. As a current Elmhurst Alderman, and small business owner, I have the experience and municipal knowledge to collaborate with all stakeholders on ways to best serve the communities I represent.
As an elected official and community advocate, I'm privy to the increased threat to public safety, the effects of the pandemic on mental health and our most vulnerable and the financial impact on residents and small business owners. I am seeking this office to have a more significant impact and be a strong advocate for issues important to our families and businesses.
Only with safe streets and neighborhoods and business districts can our County thrive and move in a positive direction for our future.
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?
I bring experience as a small-business owner and municipal experience as an elected Elmhurst Alderman. I am also a community advocate; leading opposition to a proposed gas station to be placed in a residential neighborhood.
Alderman/Elected Official: City of Elmhurst Finance, Council Affairs, and Administrative Services Committees Extensive community involvement; collaborating with committees, organizations, staff, and residents Elmhurst Retail Grant committee; determining eligibility for business incentives
Small Business Owner: Accustomed to navigating rapidly changing business conditions. Maintained a fiscally responsible company through various economic downturns.
Community Advocate: Advocate and volunteer for active military and veterans' issues.
My priority will always be the public health and safety of our citizens and to ensure we have the resources to prioritize safe neighborhoods, I am committed to responsible spending, public safety, and economic development.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
Balanced budgets and disciplined spending are fundamental to protect our taxpayers.
The pandemic continues to have residual economic effects and inflation impacts the County's budget, citizens, and small business owners. Inflation is having a direct effect on residents in every walk of life and it is crippling small business owners. Our seniors are greatly affected; having to make difficult choices due to spiraling costs.
We cannot balance our budget on the backs of hardworking families, seniors, and small businesses. I will insist on exploring creative cost-saving options, eliminating waste without sacrificing services and public safety, and properly allocating funds for the greatest efficiency. Our taxpayers deserve nothing less.
Our budget and our economy are continually threatened unfunded mandates from the General Assembly. As these shortsighted policies continue to drive families and businesses from Illinois, government budgets will continue to face challenges.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them.
The county government does an adequate job on transparency and access to public records. On the county's website, the home page features an easy-to-find and navigate page, "DuPage County Transparency Portal." Citizens can find information on all county businesses, agendas, financial reports, and Freedom of Information Act overview within the portal.
But more can always be done. These are challenging times and many have lost faith in elected government. The more information that is readily available to the public, the more we can build the public trust. I also believe continuing to strength our ethics ordinances will contribute to increased transparency.
Some residents, particularly our seniors, may prefer to call. I think the Board should explore establishing a dedicated phone line to take questions and have the appropriate staff respond.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
My business consulting and coaching firm places a great focus on customer service and building relationships to build success. Training all front-line workers in their interaction with the public is key. We are all government servants and as such, our residents and businesses are our 'customers'. Training should constantly be updated to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable about changes in policy or procedure. But as policies and procedures develop, they must be approachable, accessible and clear. Government can get lost in jargon and bureaucracy. We must effectively communicate with our 'customers'.
We must always utilize new technology and communication platforms in order to use staff time cost effectively.
As a board member, I would use my business background to work with staff to streamline our processes and improve our communications.