Yeena Yoo: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 2

  • Yeena Yoo

    Yeena Yoo

 
Posted5/28/2022 1:00 AM

Bio

Party: Democrat

 

Office sought: DuPage County Board District 2

City: Elmhurst

Age: 42

Occupation: Attorney, Catholic Charities Legal Assistance

Previous offices held: Democratic Precinct Committeeman for York Township's 83rd Precinct (elected in 2020)

Q&A

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 am running for this office for several reasons. First, as a career legal aid attorney, I have been serving people disadvantaged by poverty, including senior citizens, women and children, working families, and communities of color for over a decade. I want to be on the Board for the same reasons I went into legal aid: I am committed to service; I care about leveling the playing field for everyone; and I want to advocate for under-resourced communities. Second, I believe that DuPage County can lead efforts in reducing gun violence in our communities. As a gun safety candidate, I plan to advocate for lifesaving, public health policies at the county level to address issues such as gun suicide, mental health, and unintentional shootings by children. Last, but not least, I'm running because DuPage residents of today look very different than they did twenty years ago, and the change in demographics should also be reflected in county government.

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 am uniquely qualified for a seat on the DuPage County Board. As a legal aid attorney who specialized in family law and domestic violence litigation, I have been successful in connecting clients to resources, advocating for their interests, and negotiating agreements in contentious circumstances. I will do the same for DuPage residents, and will bring to the Board the same commitment to service and outcomes that I brought to my clients. Furthermore, I am practiced in leading with facts, communicating effectively, and promoting civility. I recognize the importance of working across the political aisle, in building relationships and community. My priority is to enhance county services, improve the lives of all residents, and build a safer and more welcoming DuPage.

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.

There are several major operations funds critical to our county, which include the DuPage Care Center, the General Fund, and Public Works. Those funds are impacted by rising wages, pension and health insurance changes, and/or capital costs and improvements. Expenditures are projected to outweigh revenues by year 2026. While 75% of property taxes are delivered to school districts, and municipalities have increased property taxes over time, the county has made minimal changes to the amount of taxes collected in the last ten years. In order for the county to maintain quality of care and services, the Board must review all avenues to increase revenue, including approaches that have not been explored. The county should expand the revenue base by promoting diverse small businesses and entrepreneurial culture, and building partnerships with global and cross-cultural businesses. In addition, the county must continue supporting our existing DuPage businesses after the COVID pandemic.

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.

As a private citizen, and then a candidate for public office, I have spent many hours reviewing the county website and financial budget, attending board and committee meetings, and requesting public records through FOIA requests. I believe the county has made a concerted effort to provide transparency to the public, and demonstrated its intent with the ACT (Accountability/Consolidation/Transparency) Initiative. I have personally found that records, such as agendas, meeting minutes, resolutions and recordings of county meetings, are accessible, and that requests for information are provided in a timely manner.

What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?

Taxpayers should have a positive experience when interacting with the county, whether it's the first time or on a regular basis. Quality customer service is vital to maintaining or restoring our trust in government, or the belief that our government is working for us. As both a social worker and attorney, I have been trained to serve my clients from a client-centered perspective, so the first step to excellent service rests on asking questions rather than making assumptions, and listening to the people the county is serving. In addition to surveying the customer, the county must also listen to its staff to improve processes, and provide training they need to efficiently serve the public. Finally, the county should continue to invest in technology infrastructure and modernization to support staff and improve services. The county has already made provisions in its strategic plan and is working to replace outdated, duplicative systems.

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