High School, Marengo Community High School
Bradaigh , 2
Keely , 2
On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
I’m running for office because McHenry County needs a voice of a regular citizen on the board who is willing to cross party lines to get jobs back in the county and place a willingness to work together for the greater good of McHenry County citizens over playing partisan politics. My work ethic, honor and integrity are my foremost qualifications. I also know what it takes to make a living in District 6 having grown up in this agriculturally rich county and worked on farms for a better part of my life.
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?
As to why the Board would not allow for citizens to popularly elect the chairman that is for them to answer. Some argue that competing referendums on the ballot would be “confusing;” others argued that the “Board knows best.” In my estimation, it’s probably easy to only have to worry about 24 voters instead of a whole county full of them. Concerning the County Executive Referendum, many have argued against this proposal with a ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ mentality of McHenry County government. Those same voices point to our bond rating as sufficient enough evidence to justify maintaining the current system. The fact is that McHenry County deserves a check to a board that has raised taxes on honest, hardworking citizens despite possessing a $47 million dollar surplus. McHenry County citizens deserve a check to a board that voted themselves pay increases and generous benefits on our dime for a less than part time job. That only comes from a County Executive.
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.
Absolutely not. Illinoisans are overtaxed. Collectively, Illinois has over 7,000 units of government – more than any other state in the United States – and since the economic collapse Illinois has lost over 100,000 citizens and close to 200,000 jobs. At a time when Illinoisans are struggling and cutting back to make a living, government has to do the same thing too, especially on the County level. Why not give real tax relief to McHenry County residents, wait for the economy to recover, and spend money on lobbying businesses to come back to the county instead of lobbying for more money from taxpayers? In District 6, the county could have invested into widening Rt-47 or many other local infrastructure projects instead of lobbying.
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 will support a tax freeze until home values recover. The county has to learn to do more with less and that starts with cutting back on board members as well. For example, Lake County cut their board down to 22 members and rely on single representative districts for representing their constituents. Why is it that McHenry County needs four District members when our population is half that of Lake?
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?
First, I would look at what makes other counties in Illinois so successful at attracting business. Exploring every option available to the county ought to be priority. The Board could implement TIF Districts or Enterprise Zones as means to attract business, reinvest in infrastructure, and generate jobs for many McHenry County Citizens
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
Voters in my district would like to see County Government provide real tax relief. More importantly though, voters need a government that will represent their interests and seek their opinions. Recently, Marengo and Union residents nearly saw the implementation of road improvements that included roundabouts. These fine citizens were neither consulted for their opinions about the plans. Only until a meeting was called were the plans scrapped and replaced with more desirable changes that residents approved of. Our county government should take notice to this desire of transparency by voters. I will fight to make our government accountable to the opinions and interest of the voters and as transparent by advocating for the elimination of back room deals that only seek to keep the citizens of McHenry County in the dark.
Heuser's Current Race
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Kathleen Bergan Schmidt