Richard G. Hamen: 2023 candidate for Prospect Heights City Council, Ward One


Town: Prospect Heights

Age on Election Day: 52

Occupation: IT manager

Employer: Stefanini

Previous offices held: 1st Ward alderman city of Prospect Heights


Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council or village board respond to it?

A: Flooding is our most serious issue. As your alderman, I will work to ensure that there is no more flooding and that we are removed from the flood plain. This will save homeowners and businesses in Ward 1 thousands of dollars by eliminating flood insurance, the need for costly repairs and the loss of personal property and life.

Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?

A: The city of Prospect Heights' finances are good. The finances are not as good as everyone would like them to be and there is always room for improvement. Investing our resources in community development and bringing in new businesses will add to our financial resources and as your alderman, I will work to fill vacant property with strong businesses, create jobs, further develop and improve our community and neighborhoods and make sure that the budget is balanced and funds are invested wisely.

Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?

A: I do not consider it spending. We are investing in the progress of our city, how it runs and services for all of our residents. The top three investments, in my opinion, are infrastructure throughout the entire city, community outreach programs for all of our residents and public safety.

Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?

A: I will be donating my aldermanic salary to SSA5.

Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?

A: In Ward 1, the most important infrastructure project is Levy 37 and the stormwater management system. Within those are dredging and improving the Willow Woods detention ponds, increasing the size of the stormwater pipes along E. Old Willow Road, Apple Drive, Milwaukee and River roads, properly maintaining Willow Falls detention pond and redesigning and improving Willow Heights water retention area which is the front parking lot. That was an incredible design flaw 40 plus years ago that has been the cause of a lot of damage to vehicles and property and we can and should do better. The funding mechanism for these projects already exists in SSA5 and SSA8. All homeowners and businesses pay into this fund so money from the general fund is not necessary. I will also research and apply for grants and funding through the township, county, state and federal governments to lessen the financial impact on Ward 1 residents and businesses.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your village board or city council.

A: Working as a team is very important. In the past I worked with my fellow alderman to achieve consensus on many projects throughout the entire city. I will continue to do so. My experience in management and business has always been discuss the issues, work toward a common goal, compromise, negotiate and always keep in mind that we are all a team, and we all want what's best and success. Meeting in the middle and working together is what is best for everyone and brings progress.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: I believe that I'm the best candidate because of tenacity and drive to get the job done. I have made promises to the residents of Ward 1 and they trust me to do the work necessary to represent them all and get the projects done. When I was alderman, I promised to get the Levy built, it was built with the hard work of city staff and all of us making the calls and going to the meetings to get the job done and that is exactly what I will do for you again as your alderman. There has been a 12 year pause on projects and work within Ward 1 and waiting another 10 or 12 years to get something done is unacceptable. My promise is that I will get the job done.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

A: I will work with local businesses to bring The Taste of Prospect Heights back. Rocky Vanders helped host the event years ago and it was a large success in bringing the community together for great food and drink, an excellent show and some time to unwind, relax and enjoy.

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