Editor's note: Candidates for and have been asked to complete questionnaires about who they are, why they're running and their positions on some of the key issues. Plainfield Patch will run them as they are received and they will be available up through the April 5 election.
These are the candidates' own words, written specifically for the benefit of those who are deciding how they will vote.
PLAINFIELD VILLAGE TRUSTEE ELECTION QUESTIONNAIRE
Name: Dan Rippy
Address: 24632 George Washington Drive, Plainfield
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marital status: Married
Name of spouse: Debra
Names, ages of children: Catherine, 7
Education : Brother Rice High School; bachelor's degree, The Virginia Military Institute; law degree, DePaul University College of Law
Profession and employer: Attorney, The Law Office of Jeff Tomczak
Community (non-elected) groups of which you are a member:
-Plainfield Masonic Lodge
-Illinois State Bar Association
-Will County Bar Association
Previous and current elected political office history (please include the years of terms):
Plainfield Township Republican Organization precinct committeeman, 2010-present
Why are you seeking this office?
I am seeking election as a trustee because I love Plainfield and I truly believe I can help to take Plainfield into the future. I believe my experience as a former prosecutor and as legal counsel to the Illinois Senate will enable me to hit the ground running and to serve our community with a fresh perspective. I will bring common sense and logic to every decision I make as your employee on the board. While I cannot promise we will agree on every single issue, I do promise to always listen and to analyze every side of an issue with Plainfield’s best interest in mind before I cast a vote.
Why should someone choose you instead of those you are running against?
The village will be well served to have some new blood and a fresh perspective on the board. I am asking for your vote on April 5 because I believe together we can bring businesses to Plainfield, lower our property taxes, and ensure our village remains the same wonderful place it was when we chose to raise our families here. I am the best-suited candidate to put that plan into action.
What do you see as the issues in this election?
Ensuring that the village remain fiscally solvent, bringing more development into Plainfield, and easing the difficult economic conditions currently facing many of our citizens by lowering taxes and other costs.
What would you like to accomplish if elected to this position? Please be specific.
My biggest goal as a trustee is to lower our property taxes. I plan on doing this by broadening our tax base with new business development and by ensuring that the village remains fiscally lean and efficient even after the economy begins to turn the corner. This is an extremely ambitious plan, but one that I am excited about and one that I will work tirelessly to accomplish if elected.
If we can take our tax focus off of residential properties, it will benefit our village, our schools, our library, and it will help us to achieve a better quality of life and lower our cost of living at the same time.
What is your opinion of the current state of economic development in Plainfield? What should the village board’s role be in terms of encouraging economic development? Are there specific things you would like to see done?
While the village is beginning to head in the right direction with some good recent development, it is imperative for the board to foster a more cooperative relationship with our existing businesses and become proactive in pursuing new business relationships. I would like to be a part of meeting with new businesses with other members of our board leadership in order to find companies that would be a good fit for the village. We also have to communicate better with our current business partners to help ensure their success and to prevent any problems before they start.
The issue of placing term limits on village board members was broached at a recent board meeting. Should there be limit? Why or why not?
I don’t personally believe that term limits are in our best interest. However, it should be left to the citizens to decide. I wholeheartedly believe the question should be put on the ballot so voters may decide the issue.
The village has a very high foreclosure rate right now. Is there something the village board should be doing to help people stay in their homes? Why or why not?
While there is no simple answer to this crisis, we can alleviate some of the problems by lowering taxes and keeping our water rates even. Many of our residents are paying more than $1,000 per month in property taxes. If we can lower this amount and bring new jobs, we can at least make some progress toward solving the problem.
Do you agree with the current efforts to redevelop Plainfield’s riverfront? What is your opinion of the current plan? If you support it, do you believe village tax money should be used for it?
I think that the current development plans are wonderful. A well-developed riverfront will bring a great addition to our downtown. Unfortunately, I cannot support spending tax revenues on this project. Until the village’s capital fund is solvent and we have been successful in lowering property taxes, I will be very hesitant to approve further capital expenditures.
Do you support the concept of creating a downtown historic district? Why or why not?
This issue should be left up to the individual property owners who will be affected by the district. The key to this issue is that the village has an open and transparent vote so no one feels like they were left out of the process. I am very hesitant to put another level of bureaucracy in place, but I understand there are also benefits to the proposal. That being said, I believe the local business owners are in a better position to decide what is good for their businesses than the village board.