Job: Communications staffer, Illinois House of Representatives
Education: Bachelor's in journalism, SIUC
Previous offices: --
Qualifications: I bring an innovative and fresh perspective to the table. We've got to explore new solutions to the county's problems if we want our area to be attractive to the next generation of residents and businesses. I've made it my personal goal to give the people of this district and St. Clair County a representative who will perform his duties with the professionalism they should expect from a public servant.
Top issues: One of the biggest issues facing St. Clair County is the need for jobs. St. Clair County unemployment rate was 10.8 percent in July, which is dramatically higher than those of surrounding counties, the state and nation. One of the ways I believe we can start to fix the unemployment problem is to create a panel of local business owners and open a dialogue about the county's business climate. We need to ask ourselves questions such as: Why are we losing employers? Why are companies leaving for surrounding counties and states? What makes it difficult to start up a small business in St. Clair County? The other extremely large issue we have facing us is MidAmerica Airport. Years of doing the same thing time after time has gotten us the same result time after time, which is an empty airport that costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year to keep afloat. We need to make sweeping changes to Mid-America Airport management. The Public Building Commission should be removed as the controlling body over the airport, and the County Board should regain control. Additionally, the county should begin to work to attract private and corporate aircraft, such as those found at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, as a way to diversify and generate additional revenue. Finally, while the county should continue searching for business to go out there, we also need to research our options for shutting it down or turning it over to the Air Force. While that may, contractually, not be able to be done right away, we need to at least research when and under what conditions that can be done. Finally, having a background in journalism, I am a huge advocate for open and honest government. Our county government can dramatically increase transparency by putting a searchable version of the county checkbook online. Other documents, such as the county budget, should also be easily found on the St. Clair County web site.