Job: Owner, Dinges Auto Sales and Leer Camper Sales
Education: Belleville Area College
Previous offices: Alderman, City of Belleville
Qualifications: I bring many years of business experience as owner of Dinges Auto Sales to the county's economic development committee, and have been active in efforts to attract new companies such as Boeing and North Bay Produce to St. Clair County. As a board member, one of my roles is to serve as a liaison officer to the county's Veterans' Assistance Commission. As a Vietnam veteran myself, my experience helps me understand the issues and concerns of returning veterans. I also bring experience early in my career by working for the FBI in Washington, D.C., to my role as a board member of the Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission. The commission oversees police departments in the region, and provides training and certification for police officers.
Top issues: The top issue in the race is the need to continue to attract new jobs and businesses to St. Clair County. We have made great progress in taking advantage of St. Clair County's assets as a regional transportation hub, bringing in companies that rely on barge, rail, highway and air transportation. Part of this issue is the need to turn MidAmerica Airport around. The choice at MidAmerica is to close the facility and be forced to pay more than $300 million in penalties to the FAA or find a way to make it successful. There is still more work to do. Beyond the economy, we need to continue to keep a tight rein on the county's budget. We have cut $36 million from the budget in the past three years, while still maintaining essential services. This is a much needed break for county taxpayers. We need to continue this effort as our economy recovers from the depths of the recession.