Walter Lindwall: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 11
Occupation: Debate coach/teacher's aide, District 219
Previous offices held: None
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A. I am running to improve the quality of life of my own community and for the County as a whole. I wish to see our local economy flourish, our citizen's health and safety needs met, and our natural resources protected.
I bring with me over seven years of public service and volunteership working in this community and my college campus. As Student Body President, a precinct-committeeperson, my work with several nonprofits as an organizer and activist, and my years as an educator, I have the experience necessary for this role.
I would also bring a fresh, younger perspective to the board that is currently lacking. The average age of the board right now is 65 years old, with its youngest member being almost 40. I hope to give a voice to the over 46% of Kane County residents under the age of 35 that is sorely needed. At a time when young people across the country are becoming more involved in politics and their communities, I am the right candidate for this moment.
Q. 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?
A. My main priority will be focusing on the county's recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic and helping the people of Kane County. We need to help struggling small businesses impacted by the pandemic and focus our efforts on assisting those with the most need. This can be done without increasing the tax burden on homeowners.
My main focuses would be on improving the County's public health and accessibility policies, increasing clean energy usage, ensuring fair labor practices, and maintaining every citizen's access to the ballot box. My many policy proposals can be found on my website.
Q. 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.
A. The current board has been effective at distributing American Rescue Plan funding to maintain costs as well as support services across Kane County. With the County's 17.5 million dollar budget surplus for 2021, there is ample opportunity to expand services and create jobs that will benefit Kane County residents.
I will maintain the level of service currently provided by the county without raising property taxes. If it becomes necessary to increase government revenues to maintain service, I would advocate for progressive tax plans such as the proposed County sales tax on luxury goods and services. When it comes to generating revenue, we should be looking through a long term lens instead of just cost savings from year to year. The County should be making plans down the line for future energy and transportation infrastructure projects to better accommodate a rapidly growing and developing environment.
Q. 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 the County Government has been effective in maintaining a necessary standard for public transparency, however that does not mean there is not room for improvement. It is important that the average citizen has access to information on what the county government is actively doing, and as such I would work to improve the County's presence on social media as well as the user-friendliness of the County's web services such as the Clerk's office site. I also believe the County Government should look for ways of communicating its work in addition to the agendas it currently provides, which can be hard for the average citizen to understand and also commonly lack the context necessary for citizens to follow. In particular, I want to work with the Clerk's office to increase direct outreach to voters, both for registration and election information. In this day and age, accessibility is paramount to effective transparency, and as such, I will work to make the County meet this standard.
A. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
The biggest improvement the County can make to customer service is increasing hiring to fill many of the vacancies in County offices. Given the county's budget surplus, there is more than enough to incentivize applicants to pursue well compensated, unionized positions that serve to benefit everyone. Additionally, we can build upon the Clerk's office's efforts to form satellite offices for county services in high need areas throughout the county in order to better meet the needs of every resident.