Ben Chapman

Ben Chapman

Democrat Party

County Board - District 1 Candidate

Questions & Answers

For the November 2018 Election

What is the importance of the County Board to your constituents in Champaign County?

Do you pay taxes? Do you want that tax money to be used wisely? Then the County Board is important to you. Public services such as the Sheriff’s office and the County Clerk’s office are part of the County Government, and they affect our community on a day-to-day basis. Important decisions, such as whether to spend money on expanding our jail or to spend it on strengthening our rehabilitation programs are made by the County Government, with the Board playing a big part.

What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?

Though I can’t speak with absolute precision to the position of my opponent, I can say that, by and large, the Republicans on the Board supported the changing of our Board’s structure to an “Executive” format. The resulting Board will have a executive member with executive privileges and an exorbitant ~$120,000 salary. I don’t support this structure change, and I certainly don’t support this massive salary.

Republicans have justified the expense by saying it would encourage more qualified people to run for the position. However, the filing deadlines have passed, and only two candidates stepped forward, one of which has even said the salary is too high!!! The Board Republicans made a mistake, and unfortunately the taxpayers will pay the price.

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 priority of a County Government should always be the health and safety of its citizenry. With this in mind, I would encourage our County Government to put a greater emphasis on public health services. Especially after the sale of the County Nursing Home, we need to reaffirm our government’s devotion to the health and well-being of the public. As a student at the University of Illinois, I know that mental health is of critical importance to our citizens, and I will always vote to ensure my fellow students and community members have access to the resources they need to succeed.

Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?

If elected, I will be the youngest member on the County Board. I know that, as a university town, our students are our strength, and we need public officials who don't simply see campus as a feature of our community but as a central cog that churns out our culture and workforce. Our students and young people deserve a voice on our County Board, and I am asking you to give them a voice by voting for me.