1455 Fox Sedge Trail, Woodstock
On The Record
Why are you running for county board?
I care deeply about this county and its people. I believe there are several issues that are not being addressed by the county board. The county board needs members who will fight for what they know to be right. The board needs members who will represent the people interests, who have the courage to speak their minds, and say what needs to be said. As a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy I learned the values of service, duty and responsibility. I was exposed to the complexities of organizational structure, the necessity of thorough communication, and the tenants of personal and professional respect. I took those values to heart, after serving my country honorably I returned home where I applied those values to my civic and professional life. As a former Sheriff’s deputy I have a proven record of championing just causes, and remaining steadfast when situations become difficult. I have developed the humility to admit mistakes and gained the wisdom necessary to learn from those mistakes. Finally, it is my greatest desire to contribute to shaping McHenry County into a thriving, blessed community where my four beautiful children can prosper as they raise their families and build their lives.
What is your top legislative priority if you are elected?
Transparency and Accountability- This county has very little accountability and transparency. For several years now, members of the public have wasted their time and resources in attempts to gain access to information that, by law, should be available to them. This lack of openness has diminished the trust of the people and the effectiveness of the government. The county needs its elected officials to be continually honest and forthcoming. When mistakes are made, the public should have access to the causes and consequences of those mistakes, as well as the details and the solutions necessary to correct the mistakes. When the people are granted transparency and accountability, all necessary reforms and agendas can be implemented with greater ease and less controversy. If elected I will immediately set myself to making transparency and accountability the new standard by pushing to establish a true means of oversight, while ensuring that all county agencies adhere to rules and laws already in existence. There is much that can be done to make McHenry County government open and accessible to those that desire and deserve accountable, honest government.
Where do you stand on the upcoming March referendum to make the County Board chairmanship popularly elected by the voters?
I believe that one of biggest problems facing not only McHenry County politics, but American politics is the entrenched career politician. This referendum is a means to creating an opportunity for another entrenched, career politician. Currently the county board elects one of its members to the chairmanship which entails a two year term of office. The members know the candidates personally and professionally at a level that the average voter does not. They know who is right for the position and who is not. The chairperson has to remain continuously diligent, knowing that in only two years he/she can lose the position if he/she is not productive. If the referendum were to pass the chairmanship would revert to a four year term and as is the result in many elections, the candidate with the most signs and campaign flyers will hold the office. The extension of two years takes away any meaningful sense of urgency by the chairman to confer with the other members and the public about issues and concerns that need immediate attention. The bottom line is that the county doesn't need more campaign signs and fundraisers. It needs productive leadership that can be revoked every two years if need be.
Do you believe that the County Board – before 2013 – kept an adequate eye on the finances and spending of the McHenry County Mental Health Board? Why or why not?
No. The irresponsible spending by the Mental Health Board was conducted for years, and was allowed to conduct while the McHenry County Board looked the other way. Cronyism and personal relationships played a part in the out of control spending. This is an example of the lack of integrity and accountability that must be addressed. The county needs board members that can recognize inequities and have the courage to openly address those inequities no matter the political backlash. Personal agendas, private financial agendas and political agendas should not factor into something as important as the Mental Health Board. Unfortunately that is exactly what has led to all of the scrutiny of the Mental Health Board and its participants.
Do you believe the county should continue to run Valley Hi Nursing Home, or would you like to see it sold to a private entity?
The research that I have done indicates that the current operating board for Valley Hi and its director has been very effective running the facility so that it has actually stayed in the black. As a result I don’t believe that there is any reason to change the status of Valley Hi and its relationship to the county. It is very important that Valley Hi remain a valuable resource in McHenry County, to serve our elderly and those who may face both health and economic challenges in their declining years.
What issues would you like to see addressed in the upcoming Unified Development Ordinance?
The Unified Development Ordinance was established to consolidate all of the zoning and planning ordinances so they provided a consistent means for our community to be able to responsibly develop land. I think this was a step in the right direction but I think that two important issues are lacking. Conservation of ground water needs to be addressed and strict guidelines need to be enacted. According to my research the county is hitting record low reservoir levels and much of the available fresh water is being ushered off into the Fox River. This ordinance has to seriously address this matter. Another issue concerns residential development and restrictions thereof. With the housing market in dire conditions and the countless foreclosures and abandoned homes in the area, residential expansion should be curbed and an effort made to repopulate those homes that are already available. Many of the people who live in this county do so as a means of getting away from the urban sprawl. There is no incentive to the local population to afford developers extra access to the community for the purpose of expanding residential subdivisions for a profit, while sticking the taxpayers in the community with the maintenance and upkeep costs.
Do you believe county government should continue to keep its tax levy frozen? Why or why not? And if not, what expenses would you cut to ease the burden on taxpayers?
I am and will always be for tax reduction and/or maintaining low taxes. I am also a realist and I understand that in order to keep taxes low, government has to reduce its costs. The taxes are required of taxpayers in this county are already making it difficult for residents to live comfortably much less thrive. Reports claim that property taxes in McHenry County are the third highest in the state, a state well known for over taxation. Over the last two years the County Board has not taken a tax levy. I think that has been responsible but in order to maintain this current levy and not have a revenue shortfall some of the county’s bigger agencies with the more robust budgets have to find a way to cut costs and reduce waste. I believe the county can maintain the frozen levy if some very shrewd financial plans are laid and implemented. If we are not careful, and we do not maintain parody with inflation we could jeopardize financial situation in the long run.