Nine in race for five seats in Kendall’s District 2
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org November 1, 2012 3:40PM
Occupation: Real estate broker and owner of a small business.
Previous political experience: precinct committeeman, Oswego; Ethics Committee for the Kendall County Board; Government Affairs Committee for the Realtor Association of Fox Valley
Evelyn Maxine Givens
Occupation: Sports director of Kendall Weekly Times
Previous political experience: precinct committeeman, Oswego, since 2010
Community involvement: Community outreach for Kendall Weekly Times, volunteer work for Kendall County Democrats
Previous elected office: none
Community involvement: Working at the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry and Hesed
Occupation: Retired educator
Previous political experience: elected to the Kendall County Board, 2008.
Occupation: Insurance producer for Allstate.
Scott R. Gryder
Previous political experience: vice president, Oswego Library District; chairman, Oswego Plan Commission; chairman, Oswego Zoning Board of Appeals; chairman, Kendall County Young Republicans; secretary, Kendall County Republican Central Committee
Occupation: Vice president, national counsel for title insurance company; attorney
Previous political experience: Kendall County Board, since 2010; precinct committeeman, Oswego
Community involvement: 4-H program; Masonic Lodge 303
Occupation: Real estate managing broker, truck and implement salesman
Previous political experience: Kendall County Board since 2003; president, Forest Preserve District; Kendall County Board of Health.
Occupation: President of Jeff Wehrli Excavating since 1985
Town: Montgomery (Boulder Hill)
Previous experience: Precinct committeeman, Oswego; vice chairman, Kendall County Republican Central Committee
Occupation: Journeyman iron worker
Previous elected office: Oswego School Board, served as president
Community involvement: member, Oswego School District Strategic Planning Committee; Village of Oswego Strategic Planning and Economic Development Committee
Community experience: Oswego Rotary Club; Girl Scouts
Occupation: License insurance producer
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:42AM
Nine candidates are vying for five seats in the Kendall County Board District 2 election Tuesday.
The district mainly includes Seward and NaAuSay townships, and the part of Oswego Township that is east of Route 31.
Democrat Kristine Heiman, who is a real estate broker, says she is running for the County Board to protect property rights and values by helping with long-term planning.
She says she got a lot of community-based experience when her children were in school, and most recently helped organize a fund-raiser for the Kendall Food Pantry.
Heiman says budgeting during the down economy is key for the county government. But she adds she is not necessarily for the advisory referendum on the Kendall ballot Tuesday, which will ask governments to cut their tax levies by 20 percent.
That’s not realistic, she says.
“To cut 20 percent right now, it’s not going to happen,” she says.
She also says one of the biggest issues facing the county is making sure county highways stay as highways, with the Prairie Parkway being off the books.
Evelyn Maxine Givens
Evelyn Givens says she is running because she wants more diverse representation on the board, accountability, and transparency.
“I … want to create better accessibility for the residents so that they can have transparent awareness of how their tax dollars are being spent,” the Democrat says.
Givens says the most urgent issue facing the county is the lack of job growth. She points out that at least 65 percent of residents are traveling out of the county for work.
To that end, she says the county needs to work with the full community — the municipalities and state representatives — to help attract more business and make sure funding for highways is adequate.
Givens supports effort to cut the tax levy. But she says cutting the budget has to be done without cutting vital service, such as emergency services and the Health Department. She suggests the board do a “line by line” cut.
Givens says Kendall County should join the RTA “in an effort to make the county more accessible to transportation.”
“This will, in turn, encourage businesses to bring jobs to Kendall County,” she says.
Herman Johnson has lived in Kendall County for six years. He says in that short amount of time, the county has changed dramatically, and he could represent that.
“The idea of change requires a lot of energy,” he says. “I thought maybe I could be a force for that change.”
A Democrat, Johnson was an educator for 33 years, and thus says he supports education and programs for children.
Johnson supports the idea of enterprise zones for economic development, and “more collaboration between the county and its municipalities.”
Johnson has said he will not take the county health insurance, but is not necessarily against keeping it available for board members.
“I don’t need it, but probably someone does,” he said.
Elizabeth Flowers, an incumbent Democrat in District 2, says she wants to bring a long-term plan to county government. She says that must be done through “a focus on job creation and infrastructure improvements.”
To that end, she sees the loss of revenue to the county and improving the infrastructure as two key issues.
“Cutting the tax levy will put a further strain on the entities that count on these funds...,” she says. “Throughout the past four years that I have been on the board we made a deliberate effort to ensure that services are not being duplicated.”
Flowers says while she was chairman of the Economic Development Committee from 2008-2010, “we began to create the regional job creation discussion with the surrounding economic development corporations and business leaders within the county.”
She says she “fully” supports the Metra stop in Oswego, but at the moment, she does not support Kendall joining the RTA to get it.
“It is not fair to ask the residents to give what they do not have,” she says. “We can find alternative ways to make the RTA stop here in Kendall County a reality.”
Scott R. Gryder
Republican Scott Gryder says he is running for the board “to develop a vision for the future of Kendall County.”
He says the county needs to plan for infrastructure, and must encourage business and jobs to locate in the county. He says he wants to create an atmosphere of respect between the county and the municipalities.
“We all need to work together to make our community and our county the best it can be and I will strive to do just that,” he says.
Gryder, with District 1 board candidate Matt Prochaska, has proposed cutting the number of board committees and having all meetings at night. The move would provide more transparency, and would save the county money by reducing the number of meetings board members attend.
He also says he would vote to no longer pay mileage to board members for attending meetings at the county building.
Gryder says the county needs to “strategically plan” for future economic growth by improving infrastructure and keeping red tape to a minimum.
Gryder says he understands the “tremendous benefits” of having a Metra station in Oswego.
“There are many options available … to the residents of the county that are or will be negotiated that would not require a RTA sales tax increase and I will be a relentless advocate for those options,” he says.
In his first term on the board, Republican Dan Koukol has prided himself on having “jump started” the board’s economic development committee.
“I brought in a company with 30-plus jobs,” he says. “I developed the first education plan for the county and I was the first chairman to have local business round tables to find out the needs of the business owners.”
Koukol says one of the most urgent issues facing the county is rising insurance costs.
He also says he would end the practice of not requiring bids on projects of $30,000 or less.
Koukol says joining the RTA is a “big step for our county.” He says transportation issues should be on the front burner for the county and region.
“I believe we should leave this up to the voters,” he says.
Jeff Wehrli says he is running for re-election on his experience as both a board member and a businessman.
He says the budget and current negotiations with 12 county unions are the biggest issues.
“I am open to listening to levy reduction talks, but I’m not sure the majority of the people of he county want their services cut,” the Republican says. “The percentages given each taxing body would remain the same, so any cuts would effect every entity that receives tax dollars.”
Wehrli says while most economic development happens through the municipalities, the County Board can work to provide the infrastructure, roads and rails to foster development. He says the county should work with state legislators to secure tax incentive districts where appropriate.
He says that also is what the county should do to try and secure a Metra station.
“I am not a big fan of the county joining the RTA as it is simply more taxes being added,” he says.
Jeremy Swanson, a Republican, says he wants to bring accountability to the County Board. He says as a blue collar worker, he understands first-hand the county’s escalating tax rate, employment needs and need for economic development.
“I’d like to bring common sense to the County Board,” he says. “Boulder Hill needs some representation.”
As far as economic development goes, he says all entities need to be on the same page, both small businesses and corporations, and particularly municipalities.
He would favor putting the county’s checkbook online. He also favors looking at the rules surrounding per diems that each board member is paid for attending meetings, and mileage paid to get to those meetings.
He says the county should wait on joining the RTA until after studies of the Oswego Metra station have been done.
Lynn Cullick says she is running for the board to take her experience and help “build bridges” among governmental bodies. She considers a better working relationship between government bodies a key issue.
“I also believe that new blood is a vital component of any board,” says Cullick, a Republican.
Cullick supports efforts to cut the tax levy and says emphasis must be placed on finding efficiencies to reduce the budget’s bottom line.
She favors bringing business leaders and elected officials together to discuss the needs of the business community, both in luring new business and supporting current business.
She calls discussing the county’s participation in the RTA “a bit premature.” Metra is still studying the feasibility of a station in Oswego, and Cullick says “we should reserve judgment on or discussion of the county’s role or a sales tax proposal until the data/study has been presented and analyzed.”