County Board Candidate - District 6
What is the importance of the County Board to your constituents in Champaign County?
The most important aspect of the county board is its being the most easily accessible and responsive government body for Champaign County individuals, families, and organizations. County board members are directly responsible for involving their local communities in the decisions that affect their economic well-being. I hope to become active in District 6 in helping to educate voters and encourage them to become more engaged in the local decision-making processes that influence their lives.
What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?
While my opponent and I do have several policy disagreements, I believe the greatest contrast between us is our approach to solving problems and working through difficulties. While I do strongly believe in fiscal responsibility and conservatism, I also understand the importance of working together between parties to find acceptable, practical, and sustainable solutions that benefit the entire county, not just those voters with my own particular views. I intend to focus less on political ideology and more on actual solutions, and I intend to work across party lines as much as possible. In contrast, my opponent strikes me as being more ideologically rigid and less willing to compromise.
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?
The essential and mandated budget obligations—personnel, highways, elections, courts, paperwork, etc.—should obviously be funded first. As the sale of the nursing home slowly frees up more funds, however, I look forward to exploring budget options to see what other services the county can better fund. We need to modernize our jail as a top priority, and then I hope to improve mental health, drug treatment, and youth outreach, in hopes of reducing both the prison population as well as actual crime.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
One other issue I hope to prioritize is creating fair and competitive county board districts after the 2020 census. The county board currently has practically no competitive districts, almost all of them being safely Republican or Democrat. I believe this leads to elected officials becoming less concerned with the needs and desires of all their voters and focusing instead on those who share their own ideological views. This tends to create more tension and gridlock in county government.