- Position sought: Will County Board, District 3
- E-mail address: email@example.com
- Website: bethriceforcountyboard.com
- Age: 43
- Family: Husband John M. Rice; three school-aged children
- Education: Graduate of Romeoville High School (class of 1986); bachelor of arts, psychology and education, University of Illinois at Springifled; masters in education, Northern Illinois University
- Occupation: Reading specialist
- Political party: Democratic
- Previous elected or appointed offices: None, but I do not view this as a disadvantage. I believe I have the skill set, integrity, and the gumption to do a stellar job representing the residents of District 3.
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
Yes, my experience in education makes me well-qualified to represent my district at the county level. First, as an educator I have refined my communication skills and realize the importance of both listening and speaking in order to accomplish goals. Secondly, as an educator I understand the need to provide necessary services while being aware that these services are funded by taxpayers. Lastly, as a middle class “household manager” I am able to set a budget and stick to that budget, while planning for future needs. These skills can easily be transferred.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
My priorities would be: 1. Ensuring that all decisions are based on current economic realities, and not the “gangbuster growth” of the early 2000s. I will see to it that we are acting on what is relevant to us today and looking forward to tomorrow with a realistic eye. 2. Communicating through emails and face-to-face conversation with my constituents to understand their needs. 3. Balancing my decision making in a manner that considers business, residents, and future development needs.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
There are three things that set me apart from the other candidates: 1. I am female and offer a female perspective on decision making and planning for the future. 2. I have a personal philosophy that elected officials are public servants and, consequently, I will act as a public servant, considering the needs of constituents before placing votes. 3. I pride myself on being informed and will collect information from varying sources, have discussions, and ask questions before making decisions.
What can the county do to promote job growth and draw new business to Will County?
I believe there are several necessary actions that will mutually promote job growth and draw new business to Will County. First, with knowledge. Will County needs to be knowledgeable about economic trends, knowledgeable about what competing counties and states are doing to attract business, and knowledgeable about what local businesses and investors envision. Second, by collaboration. Will County needs to collaborate with other organizations that are the heartbeat of Will County’s business and work force, such as Regional Chambers of Commerce, and not re-invent the wheel, paying consulting companies huge amounts of money to create “studies” when we can learn about the people by going to the people. Lastly, by envisioning alternatives. Will County needs to think outside the box and look for new opportunities, such as exporting materials to emerging markets.
Do you believe Cook County is encroaching on Will, and how would you make sure there isn't a negative influence from the city?
I believe that the redistricting that puts former Cook County politicians in Will County is an indicator that Cook is potentially encroaching on Will. I believe that as a group we can ensure that there isn’t a negative influence from Cook County by being politically active and organized so that Will County’s voice will be heard.
Should it be Will County or a special commission in charge of a proposed airport? Why, and how would that work?
First, I believe the PROPOSED airport should be re-evaluated to ensure that it is still a necessary, long-term economically helpful endeavor that tax payers are willing to support, especially with the current difficulties with the state budget and subsequent problems acquiring land. This project has been so long and contemptuous in the making that I think tax payers deserve a public forum type of meeting that discloses to the interested public how the need was assessed, the plan, and the cost of the PROPOSED airport. Then, if it is determined that the plans for the airport should be continued, Will County should be in charge of the proposed airport to ensure local control.
All candidates have lauded the current board for work balancing the budget; what more would you do to practice fiscal responsibility?
To practice fiscal responsibility, I support vigorous oversight of expenses, and thorough knowledge of revenue. I support looking into where expenses are being duplicated or overcharged and addressing these issues. I would like to see that each project the board is considering is necessary, affordable, and meeting the needs of residents.
Besides Renewing Will County, would you propose any projects related to sustainability in the county?
Rather than propose a specific project related to sustainability, I support sustainability being a consideration of each project planner to consider. I believe that sustainability is an important idea that needs to be integrated into our operations, when it makes sense.
What ideas do you have for improving the county's infrastructure and transportation?
In this regard, I would have to gather more information on residents’ needs before I am able to discuss specific ideas on how to improve the infrastructure and transportation. I think improvements need to be specifically matched with residents’ needs, and current data; anything else would be counterproductive. In a general sense, I am interested in a methodical and needs-based plan to repair and improve existing infrastructure. I would be supportive of mass transportation if I were to find out that the proposed plan would be highly accessible and used by those that need it to efficiently transport workers to jobs in Will County, allowing workers that do not have their own transportation the opportunity ofemployment.
In what ways can the county operate more efficiently and improve technologically?
I think the county can operate more efficiently by looking at areas that services are being funded in duplicate. I think a long-term technology plan that can persevere through changes in staff will prevent interruptions and duplications in technology cost. In regards to technology, I think that there is a constant challenge to improving technologically because of the ongoing and rapid changes in technology, and I believe it’s best to have the technology innovators “checked” by the financial planners. Specifically, I would like both the innovators and planners to concretely answer the questions: what is the goal? What is the exact proposal for accomplishing this goal? And lastly, what is the cost for doing vs. not implementing the technology. If these questions cannot be answered concretely, then I would recommend that the technological improvement is not worth doing. If these questions can be answered, then I would support implementing the technology that will keep down operating costs and keep Will County competitive.