James Kennedy

Demographics

Democrat

59

Lake in the Hills

Associate's Degree, Police science administration, Triton Community College

Bachelor's Degree, Criminal justice administration, Lewis University

Police sergeant , Elk Grove Village Police Department

Married, Lynnette Kennedy

Paul Kennedy, 32

Stephen Kennedy, 28

Elizabeth Kennedy, 27

On the Record

Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?

I am running for the McHenry County Board to bring my strong sense and experience of public service in meeting the needs of the constitutients of McHenry County. I bring 32 1/2 years of public service experience in law enforcement with the Elk Grove Village Police Department, 22 years as a police sergeant. I have supervised critical incidents helping people at their most trying times. I have completed budget assignments especially in overseeing our jail facility. I spent 11 1/2 years as a Village Trustee in Lake in the Hills and 4 years as a McHenry County Board Member overseeing budgets, enacting ordinances and policies, and working with village and county constituents. I was assigned to the Law and Justice Committee, Liquor Commission, and Valley-Hi Nursing Home Committee and Operating Board (still serving on the operating Board); volunteered as a Cubmaster with the Boy Scouts in Ek Grove Village and Crystal Lake; am currently serving as a Committee Member with the Lake in the Hills Boy Scout Troop 369; served on the West Elementary School Parent Organization; and as a parent volunteer with various sports teams at Lundahl Middle School and Crystal Lake South High School, the Elk Grove Park District, and other youth sports teams. I will bring this experience to the McHenry County Board in effectively serving the various needs of my constituents.

The County Board has resisted calls to make its chairmanship popularly elected. Now, a referendum has been placed on the November ballot that seeks to change the county to an executive form of government. What do you think about the referendum and the board’s resistance to allow voters decide whether they want to elect the board chairman at the ballot box?

I am happy to see that this type of issue has been placed on the November ballot for voters to evaluate and tell us what their opinion is on this issue. I know that the media will evaluate this form of government and educate the voters on the pros and cons of this issue. My opinion is that an executive form of government is not appropriate at this time for McHenry County. It places too much authority and power into one person\'s hands, with little oversight ability being given to County Board Members. I think that the County Board Chairman should be elected at large by the voters and that we should keep a professional administrator appointed by the County Board.

Do you support county government using taxpayer money to lobby against state legislation that would have protected property taxpayers from tax increases in years when property values declined? Explain your answer.

At this time in county government I do not believe that the County Board should pay for lobbying. As County Board Members we should be working with Federal, State and Local Governmental leaders in doing the right things by our constituents and working together. Lobbying costs are one area that can be reasonably cut from the County budget. Lobbying is one of the responsibilities that County Board Members and executive county staff members should be accomplishing in serving our constituents.

The County Board is working this year to not collect the inflationary tax levy increase allowed under state law. Will you agree to support a freeze to the county’s levy again next year? Explain.

I am fiscally conservative and do not believe in raising taxes unless absolutely necessary. As a previous County Board Member I took pride that the County Board kept a balanced budget and received an excellent bond rating, unlike most counties in Illinois. Each year County Board Members must closely examine the next fiscal year\'s budget and only raise the tax levy in the most dire of circumstances. After reviewing next year\'s budget needs, I would then have to make an informed decision.

Given the obstacles a local couple have had with turning their vineyard into a winery, how business friendly would you say the County Board and county ordinances are? What changes would you seek if elected?

I am in support of being as business friendly and supportive as possible. New and existing businesses bring in and maintain jobs as well as bring in the additional tax revenue to fund services for our county and other governmental entities. The county staff, Liquor Commission and County Board Members could have worked more effectively in bringing this type of quality business to our county. All you need to do is look at Galena, Wisconsin, Michigan and California to see the succees that wineries have brought to those areas. The County Board and staff must work to keep existing business in the county and in developing new business. Evaluating and updating our ordinances and reviewing the support practices of staff in the support of business and economic development should be a major focus in our county.

Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?

There are several major issues facing the voters in District 2. The first is to continue to improve transportation through roadway improvements such as the Rakow Road Widening and Safety Improvement Project; planning for the widening and safety improvement of the Randall Road Corridor; the current Route 47 - I-90 Interchange Expansion Project; improved traffic flow on Algonquin Road; and the Algonquin Road Western Bypass Project. Public transit needs to be increased and improved to take vehicles off the roadway such as more Pace Bus Service, Dial-A-Ride, Ride-Sharing, a Metra train station in Huntley and development of Bicycle-Pedestrian Paths as transporation corridors. A projected water shortage is projected in our part of the county in the future. The County Board and staff must continue to work cooperatively with our Federal, State and Local Governmental Leaders in addressing water conservation and storage issues. And last, the County Board must work cooperativley with our local governmental leaders in maintaining low costs, not raising taxes unless necessary, sharing of resources to decrease all of our costs, and to maintain the excellent quality of life we enjoy in McHenry County.