316 Brookwood Tr McHenry, IL 60050
McHenry County Board Member and Senior District Representative for Congressman Randy Hultgren, U.S. House of Representatives
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On The Record
Why are you running for county clerk?
My guiding principle as I have served the public on the McHenry County Board since 2002 has been a demand for respect for their hard-earned tax dollars. I worked to be their fiscal watchdog because I understand that it is their money that government is spending. That is why I successfully led the fight to keep the County tax levy flat for two years in a row and why I voted against pay raises for elected officials and government employees. I will take that proven track-record of fiscal conservatism to the County Clerk’s office. I will put my 25+ years of business experience to use examining the way the office works and seeking out new efficiencies and cost-saving measures. I will hold the line on spending, reduce redundancies, and streamline inefficiencies to ensure we are spending every dollar wisely. I believe the best government is the smallest, most efficient government that lives within its means and isn’t burdensome to families and businesses. Those we serve have had to tighten their belts, and with revenues down the county must do the same.
You are seeking to replace a long-time incumbent who held the office for decades. What do you plan to do to ensure continuity of services? What will you do the same or differently?
My first step if entrusted by the voters with their support will be to sit down with the outgoing Clerk and her key staff to map out a plan for ensuring that there is no break in the quality of services offered to the public when I take office. This is especially important because election laws continue to change so the office will be implementing a number of new processes in 2014 that will need to be continued as I take office. Then I will begin the modernization process as described in my answers below.
What can be done to make the clerk's office run more efficiently?
By increasing the use of technology in the office, we will be able to reduce inefficiencies which will improve the quality of our service while cutting costs for the taxpayers. These upgrades will need to be phased in gradually and strategically to ensure we can properly plan for the short-term costs that will lead to long-term savings.
What are your plans to modernize the office?
I greatly respect outgoing Clerk Kathy Shultz’s service to our community and appreciate the hard work she put in to build a top-notch Clerk’s office. I intend to build on her successes by significantly advancing technology in the office, including making significant upgrades to the County Clerk’s website which is difficult to navigate and does not provide as much information to the public as it should. I have had the honor of working to advance a number of important causes and candidates over the years, interacting with many Clerk’s offices in the process. This experience gives me a unique perspective on what can be done to take the McHenry County Clerk’s office to the next level. Modernization will lead to long-term cost savings due to increased efficiency. It will also lead to better and more convenient access to the Clerk’s office for the people we serve. Further, it will increase security when storing and transmitting important documents. Finally, it will improve our election process, making it easier to vote, safeguarding the electoral process, and helping us more quickly and accurately report the results.
What can the clerk's office do to be more accessible to residents?
The best way to accomplish this is by enhancing the County Clerk’s website, as detailed in the answer to the modernization question above. Ultimately, I want to make interacting with the Clerk’s office easier, more efficient, and less expensive for all McHenry County residents. In addition to being accessible, it is important that the Clerk’s office becomes even more transparent so the public can keep us accountable. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many leaders whom I respect to bring about reform for the people of McHenry County. I have tried my best to be a conservative reformer. I have fought for increased transparency and accountability for our elected officials. I pushed to have Board Meetings streamed live on the internet. I led the fight for allowing the people of McHenry County to have a voice in selecting their County Board Chairman. As a countywide officeholder and the person who takes the minutes and keeps the records for the County, I can and will continue to be a strong voice advocating for reform in McHenry County. I will lead by example by making my office fully transparent and accountable to the public.
What is the most-pressing issue the clerk's office faces?
The most pressing issue facing the McHenry County Clerk’s office is the need to implement the many new laws coming out of Springfield that effect the operations of the Clerk’s office and more specifically elections within McHenry County. Major changes are coming down the pipeline, from 17 year olds being allowed to vote in Primary Elections to Voting By Mail and requesting applications online to online voter registration. It is imperative that the Clerk’s office implement these laws on time while also dealing with the fact that the implementation of these new laws incurs additional costs that we must not pass on to already over-burdened taxpayers. This is a significant challenge.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
My business experience lends itself to conducting the business of the Clerk’s office. I have been involved in economic development for 25+ years. Most recently I was the Director of US & International Government Affairs for the World Trade Center Chicago-Illinois, a not-for-profit committed to expanding international trade between Illinois businesses and world markets. I was recently appointed to the Economic Development Committee of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. My government experience will be beneficial in working with other elected leaders. I have served as a Member of the McHenry County Board since 2002 where I currently serve on the Finance Committee which has liaison responsibility to the Clerk’s office. My election experience has allowed me to interact with a number of Clerk’s offices which gives me unique perspective on how an effective Clerk’s office is run. Most recently I served as Field Director for Congressman Randy Hultgren’s 2012 reelection campaign and as Campaign Manager for Joe Walsh’s 2010 win. My technical background will help me guide the modernization process for the office while maintaining election integrity and security. I graduated from DeVry University with formal training in electronics, computer technology and business management.