County Board Candidate - District 6
What is the importance of the County Board to your constituents in Champaign County?
County and municipal boards tend to be the bodies to which voters have the most direct access, and really they also tend to be making a lot of the governmental decisions that affect the average voter the most. These are people who hold regular, open meetings in your city where you can go and speak directly to them.
What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?
I know that he was a proponent of the nursing home sale, where I opposed it; and his position is probably more detrimental in this district than it would be in many others. But he has his own story to tell and I have mine. He’s willing to run for a thankless position in a tough district, so that says a lot.
The County Board is responsible for a yearly budget of nearly $130 million. How would you prioritize this money, and are there any parts of the current budget you would change?
We’re in a whole new era of budgetary dispersal if the nursing home sale is finalized. It can no longer be used as a scapegoat as to why other programs aren’t possible. If we can also find a better use for the downtown jail location, we might finally be able to enact many of the suggestions of the Racial Justice Task Force’s report like more pre-trial programs and mental health services.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
Ah, the oft-maligned undecided voter. You catch a bad rap for a lot of people, but I’m not so sure being undecided is really so awful. Ostensibly, it means you’re open to be convinced by whichever candidate(s) speak to you and your issues. But then you’re tasked with doing the research so that you don’t accidentally vote for a Nazi (suddenly a real possibility in 2018) or something. I hope you look around to see what options you have. Your tax money is being spent by these people. They’re making decisions about how your rights are interpreted. Champaign-Urbana could soon be a place where you can buy legal weed but can’t get an abortion. Your nationally established right to marry whatever gender you like could be targeted by a local clerk. Voting all the way down the ballot is very important. Have a look around and find someone you’re happy to vote for. Hopefully that’s me; but if it’s not, I’m at least glad you’re participating.