Patricia "Patty" Gustin: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 5
Office sought: DuPage County Board District 5
Occupation: Realtor, Charles Rutenberg Realty
Previous offices held: Naperville City Council since 2015
Q: Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them.
A: A balanced budget is critically important: Keeping taxes low, having funds to spend on needed government services like public safety, while keeping the county's highest AAA bond rating, retaining healthy reserves and manageable debt. Like I did for Naperville, ending budget deficits and cutting taxes, while establishing financial principles.
The chief threats are: 1.) raising taxes to pay more debt, and 2.) keeping our public safe. Federal and state budget deficits soar, borrowing costs go up with interest rates, and either taxes or debt goes up to pay the bill today. To keep taxes low, we need a deep budget dive to match it today's reality and tomorrow's growth vision. We have great roads, and water and storm systems, and public health options, and we must keep them strong. They are part of our safety, personally and economically. It is important to support our law enforcement. Without the safety, we risk losing the freedoms and amenities that keep us in DuPage County.
Q: Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?
A: We must do better to end the growing suicides, substance abuse, and spreading crime. Our first responders tell me there is a tie between these concerns, and I see the correlation as councilwoman. We don't need more taxes. Reallocating existing funds for these community risks will improve public safety generally. With enabled law enforcement those costs will drop saving more taxpayer money.
We might use more, maybe all, of the cannabis taxes for this because many experts link increased mental health and crime problems to cannabis. As a recipient of the Illinois State Crime Commission Award, and endorsements from the Naperville FOP, Naperville Firemen Local, and Safe Suburbs, I know we can do better for our community, and most importantly our youth.
Q: Should the county board continue to start its regular board meetings with an invocation? Please say why or why not.
A: Those imposing their view that there is no place for religion in government simply impose their Constitution right to have no religion on those that do. That is wrong. The Supreme Court has held religion may exist in government settings if it is not "imposing." Those that ban invocations are "imposing" their religious views, not following the Constitution. Every American chooses their religion, even if the choice is to have no religion. Done respectfully, invocations set the tone for an amicable meeting. The invocation process should be improved, not banned.
Q: Does there need to be more bipartisanship and cooperation on the county board? If yes, what would you do to help make that happen?
A: There are board members that have been reported as partisan and uncooperative. Being mean-spirited is not a substitute for passion. I passionately and respectfully work with all officials and the public; my record of public service proves that.
Q: If your political party has control of the county board after the November election, how would that benefit DuPage residents?
A: As a sitting councilwoman, it is always important to have an open dialog whatever the party in the majority or minority because elected officials sway on individual issues.
Q: The COVID pandemic put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?
A: Most municipalities, like Naperville, do not have a health department so the county role is critical. As councilwoman, I saw some things done very well, and some unnecessarily limited by State leadership. Service improvement has no end. Mental health service improvement must consider today's home environment, feeling safe in one's community, media issues, internet, drugs, and providing needed tools to first responders.
Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
A: The safety of our communities. Too many things wrongly divert the county's financial and human resources away from safety, but the most foreseeable funds diversion will be the Safe-T Act. Others are focusing on national issues v. local ones, inflation and interest rates, unfunded state and federal mandates, and paying taxes to grow government instead of our safety, communities, and businesses. Naperville sent a Resolution to Springfield to fix the errors in the Safe-T Act, and the county should, too: $0 bond risking release of felons into our communities for our overworked police and judges to re-do; allowing immediate phone calls to warn cohorts to flee; officers must be in imminent danger to use a firearm to protect citizens; fentanyl and other felony drugs become misdemeanors (fentanyl can kill upon touch).