County Executive Candidate
Questions & Answers
|For the November 2018 Election|
What is the importance of the County Executive to the residents in Champaign County?
The newly created office of County Executive provides all Champaign County residents with the opportunity to vote for the leader of Champaign County’s government. This position will be accountable to the voters countywide, and will be able to set a clear direction and provide leadership, partnering with the County Board so that County Government can help improve our community and its citizens’ lives.
As County Executive, I look forward to a collaborative relationship with the County Board, building upon the eight years I’ve served as County Clerk, working with members of both parties to improve voters’ access to early voting, voting by mail, and voter registration, and using the resources provided by the Board to invest in technology that allows us to have the finest County Clerk’s office in Illinois while reducing expenses borne by taxpayers.
Why are you qualified to be the County Executive?
I’ve served as County Clerk for eight years, and I have experience expanding services while cutting costs, using technology to improve access and efficiency, and working with the County Board members in bipartisan coalitions to make tough decisions to improve our County.
Prior to serving as County Clerk, I served on the Champaign City Council and worked in the private sector in business development, as well as being a small business owner. I also have experience working with state and federal officials in a variety of roles.
I believe the experiences and relationships that I have, and the leadership in our community that I’ve demonstrated, will enable me to serve as County Executive, effectively leading the administration of the day-to-day operations of County government and representing the interests of our County.
What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?
My first priority is to improve the County’s financial management, using technology upgrades to improve our operations, transparency for the public, and provide services more efficiently and allow County government to recover from the financial damage done to the organization by years of mismanagement and financial hemorrhaging at the County Nursing Home.
My second priority is to engage in economic development, and to use the County Executive position as a regional cheerleader for our areas unrealized economic assets. We have incredible agriculture, unmatched human resources, fantastic infrastructure, first-class health care organizations and one of the finest public research universities in the world, and as County Executive I would promote those assets proactively to grow our local economy to create diverse opportunities for our citizens.
My third priority is independent redistricting. For too long, Champaign County Board districts have been drawn by politicians of one party to benefit only the interests of their party. As County Executive, I will use an independent redistricting commission to redistrict the County Board after the next census, so that we can allow voters to pick their Board members instead of Board members picking their voters.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
The biggest challenge facing the County Executive is finding resources to invest in the County’s infrastructure - both facilities and technology - so that we can improve services and efficiencies to provide better services more effectively and at a reduced cost. The County has avoiding such investments for so long that our buildings and software are in danger of obsolescence.
The biggest opportunity available to the County Executive is to break the culture of excessive partisanship that has infected County government and the County Board for decades. As County Clerk, I’ve worked to earn bipartisan praise for our office’s services, and for improvements we’ve made to voter registration, early voting, and voting by mail. Local government should operate efficiently based on best practices and provide necessary service efficiently. Partisanship too often gets in the way.
Additionally, the pending sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home creates the opportunity to finally stabilize the County’s finances and begin to invest in the facilities and technologies that have been so long neglected.