Name: Jerry J. Dinges
Age: Did not answer
Immediate family members: Wife, Barbara, three grown children, John, Steve and Vicki.
Occupation: Car dealer, camp dealer.
Office sought: St. Clair County Board Member - District 11
Party affiliation: Democrat
Previous elected positions and years served: Belleville Alderman for 24 and half years; County Board member for 8 years.
Why are you running?: I am a Vietnam veteran and have been a small business owner for many years here in St. Clair County. Serving on the County Board, gives me the opportunity to make a difference in my community, and have an impact on issues that matter to me. I am the county liaison to the Veterans Commission. I am proud of the way we have been able to increase their budget, expand their programs and hire a veterans service officer to help with returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. As a small business owner, I am vice-chairman of the Economic Development Committee and serves on the subcommittee that provides loans to help with startup of small businesses. I also serve on the Public Safety Committee and sit on the Board of Directors of the Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission.
What is the biggest issue facing St. Clair County, and how should elected officials and county staff approach it?: With no state budget and the federal government decreasing funding to local governments, we have to make sure we tighten our belts and keep a line on taxes. In the last few years, we have reduced the total number of county employees by 113 while continuing to provide quality services and we are going to have to be diligent about continuing to look for ways to reduce costs. I am proud that we have abated taxes year after year while I have been on the county board and am not willing to see us head in the opposite direction.
What are your views on MidAmerica Airport, and how should the county handle the future of the airport?: The bottom line is that MidAmerica has helped keep Scott Air Force Base here, with its jobs and its $3 billion a year in economic benefits. Beyond that, I am pleased to be a part of bring good manufacturing and warehousing jobs to our county at the airport. And, I am excited that 120,000 passengers this year already have flown out of the airport. I want to see the airport continue to expand and become self-sustaining in the future, but I believe we are headed in the right direction.
What improvements do you want to see in how the county is run?: I want to see increased focus on pursuing transportation grants to continue to improve our infrastructure. I also want to work for more funding to improve neighborhoods by tearing down derelict housing.
Do you plan to serve the full term of office?: Yes.
Why should people vote for you?: I have been accessible to my constituents day or night, answering questions and helping to solve their issues and concerns. I also am knowledgeable about county government, serving on eight different committees and working on issues ranging from economic development to public safety to veterans affairs.