Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Previous political experience: None
Previous community involvement: I have been active volunteering for the Blythe Park and Hauser Junior High School PTAs and school programs, serving as room parent, library volunteer, chairing fundraising committees, and helping in general with programs for the schools. I volunteer with People Care and assist the elderly and disabled transporting them to and from their appointments and errands.
Education: BS and MBA from Illinois State University
How should Riverside address ongoing and long-term capital and infrastructure needs and how can those types of expenditures be funded?
I believe that it is important to make the necessary investments in our town to ensure that it maintains its appeal. We cannot afford to neglect capital and infrastructure. Riverside is a gem that must be taken care of and cherished. It is in all of our interests, both from a real estate investment aspect as well as a quality of life issue, to provide for our town’s needs. Obviously we do not have unlimited funding to provide for every proposed project. As a member of the Village Board, I will work with all interested parties to make decisions as to the utilization of our limited resources. Some tough decisions will have to be made, and while they may not always be popular, we can make sure that they are well thought out and include the input of the community.
How must Riverside address its financial future? Are there cuts that can be made? Is anything off limits?
One of my primary goals is to bring fiscal responsibility to the Board. Our town needs to balance its priorities when deciding how to spend its funds, just like every family weighs its priorities and decides what they can and cannot afford. There are things we can’t compromise on as goals (for example safety of the community), but I will ask the Board to take a comprehensive look at the budget to see what helps Riverside achieve its goals, what doesn’t, and what might be wasteful. In general, I want to ensure Riverside is a great place to live and that families want to live here. That’s how I will evaluate budgets and priorities.
Riverside voters several years ago voiced approval for the village incorporating green initiatives. What can Riverside do to ensure to remain committed to that philosophy?
Green initiatives are not only good for our environment, but they can also help to keep Riverside financially sound. Many green projects, while more costly up front, actually are much more cost effective over time. Grants and incentives for such projects can also be used to increase the cost efficiency. We need to be open to seeing the whole picture, and not just make decisions based on short term vision. Our village depends on us to ensure its future, and as a Board Trustee I will look to include environmentally sound options into our plans wherever possible.
Economic development has been a longtime concern in Riverside, for its downtown and on Harlem Avenue. What can the village do to foster such development? What shouldn’t it do?
Economic development of Riverside is very complex given the competing interests in town – those that want to increase the number of businesses versus those that want to maintain the small village atmosphere. I think this is why we have struggled with this issue over the years – we have never really decided what type of town we want to be. We need to listen to the people of Riverside and develop a plan that we can all live with. Not necessarily one that we all agree completely on, but one that hears from all sides and incorporates their interests. Rather than have a heavy hand in what businesses develop in Riverside, we need to show business owners that we are a village that is easy to work with, that will not over-burden them with unnecessary red tape, and that will give them room to build their businesses.
What other important issues will the next village board need to address? How would you suggest addressing those issues?
As a member of the Board it will be my responsibility to listen to the residents of Riverside and address issues as they arise. I am interested in working with the people of the town to not only determine what the issues are, but to work together on the resolution of those issues. We are a town that is greatly blessed with wonderfully talented people who care about our town and are willing to invest their time and talents in preserving and improving her beauty. I look forward to the next four years and the opportunity to do my part, knowing that this is a cooperative effort that will require the help of many other people.