Sam Kukadia: 2022 candidate for Cook County Board District 9

  • Sam Kukadia is a Democrat running for Cook County Board District 9.

    Sam Kukadia is a Democrat running for Cook County Board District 9.

 
Updated 5/31/2022 6:18 PM

Bio

Party: Democrat

 

City: Chicago

Age: 47

Occupation: Civil Engineer

Previous offices held: None

Q&A

Q: 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? If so, what?

A: This is the first time I am running for office. One of the biggest issues that motivates me to run for County Board is property taxes. For far too long, working families have seen no end in sight when it comes to the rising property tax burden in Cook County. As commissioner, I see a great opportunity to help create relief. We need the county government to work more efficiently, and I believe my experience as a business owner and union member working with various groups of all different interests and backgrounds will make me the best candidate for the job. Technology is the key! The second issue that motivates me to public service is the out-of-control crime we've experienced in Chicago's neighborhoods and the bordering suburban communities. I am running to bring sanity back to our criminal justice system. The number one role of government is public health and safety. Right now, I'd say we're lacking when it comes to public safety.

Q: Cook County was alone in the six-county Chicago area to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars and other establishments earlier this year. Did you agree with that decision, and would you support re-imposing that requirement should the region face another surge in infections?

A: As I mentioned above, the number one essential role of government is to put the public's health and safety first. I believe being vaccinated helps plateau the virus' severity and it's exactly what we've seen with other illnesses. No one likes having to show a vaccine card before they dine at an establishment and I know the restaurants certainly don't want to have to police the general public to show vaccination proof. However, this is a small ask to make in order to protect the overall safety of the public -- of our neighbors who may have preexisting conditions, of our communities as a whole and most certainly our families. Getting vaccinated is our best defense against contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

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Q: Did the county do enough to support businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. If yes, please name one specific program you supported that did that. If no, please name one specific action the county could have taken to help.

A: Our small business community was decimated by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Cook County Small Business Assistance Program took steps to help businesses recover financially, initiatives like the Allies for Community Business Opportunity Loans, came up short in the full recovery process. Funding levels were not enough to bolster the smaller businesses through the pandemic. We need to work with our partners at the state and federal levels to provide substantial relief that not only facilitates recovery, but fosters growth with dedicated assistance to small businesses to access capital and advisory services.

Q: There's been a concerted effort within the county's criminal justice system to incarcerate fewer pre-trial defendants in the county jail. Some, particularly in the suburbs, blame this for a rise in crime. Do you support these policies? If not, what would you suggest instead?

A: I believe that violent, repeat offenders who have a history of criminal behavior should be subject to due process and the standard procedures of our criminal justice system. Public safety is a priority issue for me, and at the end of the day, we need common sense policies that keep violent criminals off the street. In addition, our threshold for non-violent crimes needs to be addressed. Is shoplifting a non-violent crime? Is an organized gang of shoplifters terrorizing a store a non-violent crime? Criminality must be better defined before we start to delve into a social experiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: In July 2020, the county board passed a resolution that called for, in part, the county to "redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services not administered by law enforcement." Did or do you support this measure and the philosophy behind it? Why or why not?

A: I am a strong supporter of our law enforcement, and will do everything in my power to ensure that our police agencies are properly funded. Redirecting funds from law enforcement without outlining their expressed use is the worst kind of reactionary policy that I can think of. It is a type of policy that will cause lasting harm to the safety of our communities and propagate a chasm between our communities and our law enforcement agencies.

Q: Some elected officials have proposed a "gas-tax holiday" to ease the burden of rising gasoline prices on county residents. Would you support such a proposal for Cook County? Why or why not?

A: The issue with "gas-tax holiday" proposals is that they are proposing a small temporary fix to a problem that requires a Federal solution to inflation. Artificially suspending this tax will only push the burden further down the road and cost the county and state millions of dollars in revenue for our road and highway infrastructure. 79% of State of Illinois Voters supported the Safe Roads Amendment. I can't think of another referendum that passed with higher numbers. The voters have shown their support for infrastructure and this "holiday" is a reactionary policy that is not good for the long term health of Cook County and the State as a whole.

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