Paula Deacon Garcia: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board, District 2
Office sought: DuPage County Board, District 2
Occupation: Former Village of Lisle employee, retired
Previous offices held: Current DuPage County Board member
Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am running for reelection and there are many issues that motivate me -- from finding stormwater solutions for areas that have had damage due to flooding, from fighting for sustainable changes in the county to address the flooding and so many issues. I also see the need for more affordable housing in DuPage County, as people downsizing and younger people starting out are finding it difficult to stay in DuPage County. I am a big proponent of finding ways to help destigmatize mental health issues -- the pandemic made the amount of people struggling so much worse.
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 was just elected in 2020 -- and I personally have taken this time to learn as much about the County as possible. I attend almost all the committee meetings, I have been appointed to the DuPage County Health Department Board two times. I have taken tours of most departments to see how they work and so when voting I am fully educated to vote. I am part of the Behavioral Health Collaborative which focuses on ways to help people living with mental illness. I have brought the mobile vaccine clinic to a senior center to make sure our most vulnerable are protected. So my biggest initiative to date would be to find out the facts before voting -- be an educated board member.
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.
In these past 2 years I have seen the revenues look bleak as everything was shut down due to the pandemic -- to having funding available to fund much needed projects (Courthouse improvements, New Voting equipment, Stormwater projects, Updated website, Needed security updates, Pay equity study for staff and so much more) much due to the influx of ARPA funding. As I have seen both sides in such a small amount of time -- I see the importance of having reserves in place. In my term I don't see any threats looming as the County staff and board are very financially prudent and weigh out every expenditure carefully.
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.
I believe our County is very good and having records readily attainable to the public. The only place that takes time and funding is going back and scanning many old, historical files. I know from my time working from a municipality it is hard enough to keep up with new work coming in, so to get the older files scanned and more accessible will take a plan. Some of these files are irreplaceable so it would be a tragedy to lose these.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
Customer Service in the County from the staff has been wonderful from all that I have seen. There is always room for improvement -- but I do believe that an updated website will provide residents an easier way to search and obtain information.