Name: Lester Byrd
Immediate family members: Wife Sharon, daughters TaShiara, Leslie, three granddaughters and one son-in-law.
Occupation: Retired epidemiologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Office sought: St. Clair County Board Member - District 10
Party affiliation: Republican, Freedom Coalition
Previous elected positions and years served: Founder and chairman of the Meadowdale Neighborhood Improvement Association 1994-1996, founder and served as chairperson of the Bi-State Infectious Disease Conference. Belle Valley School Board 2005-2012. Former president of the United Front for Progress.
Why are you running?: I am running because I have proven organizational skills and because I know the true meaning of leadership. I am seeking this office because I am tired of living in the dark!!! That constitutes our county board member not sending out one piece of information to her constituents in the past 15 years. Only until recently we were given a political hit piece, and at the bottom of the paper it said its cost was covered by the Democratic organization but nothing that explains what she has done, are planning to do since she has been in office for the past 22 years. Citizens in the county board 10 you deserve better, a leader whom will be accountable and responsible to your needs. When you are not in touch with the people, you are out of touch with the people. I have asked my opponent to debate me, I have asked her to do so with three phone calls. What really will put some light into the county board is some honesty. We need leadership that you can trust. Our county board district is without representation. This is the only way to bring some light into the district. We need proven leadership, we need Lester Byrd.
What is the biggest issue facing St. Clair County, and how should elected officials and county staff approach it?: The biggest issue facing our county government is our taxing structure it is totally out of control. St. Clair County has some of the highest taxes in the state of Illinois. The levy board, we need to take a hard look at them. We will take a look at Mid America Airport we must examine its existence. This is the reason we have a mad exodus in our county. Business folk along with the property taxes are extremely too high. We have to find ways to gradual lowering of both of these taxes. If we were assessing the taxes correctly from the start, we wouldn’t need a board of review; all it takes is having someone who is fair. We need to start working with our citizens, instead of against them. I will be the eyes and ears for county board district 10. I promise to be accountable and respectful of your needs. The trust that that you have given me, will not be taken for granted.
What are your views on MidAmerica Airport, and how should the county handle the future of the airport?: I am willing to commit myself to ensure that Mid America will not continue to operate in the red, it must be self sufficient our county cannot and will not continue to lose $13 million to $15 million per year it must become priority number one, how do we best handle it? We are a democracy, and we operate under such form of government. I would have like to have seen the county board members be able to express their dissatisfaction with the guidance of mid America airport. Maybe they can take a confidential vote.
What improvements do you want to see in how the county is run?: I am willing to keep an open mind on issues that affect my County Board District 10, I would recommend to Rodger Cook, whom is my hope for becoming our next County Board Chairman that we send out to all members that we will have a brain storming session for the first four weekends that we are in office. Try to prioritize our challenges and what the county needs.
Do you plan to serve the full term of office?: I don’t want to predetermine anything. My county board member has not sent any mailer to any of her constituents in the last 15 years. Letting us know how she voted on issues. I will not take a salary, as I have said in my fliers, the salary money will be use to keep all of my constituents informed about how I voted on issues and what issues are upcoming. I will show the citizens of County Board District 10 how much they are missing in leadership and honesty and trust.
Why should people vote for you?: I have know the Seiberts, Dixie and Paul, since 1995 when I was chairman of our neighborhood association. Paul who is my alderman in ward 6 and Dixie is our County Board member. They have both been my representative in City government for the past 20 or more years. I ask the voters in district 10 to change this process. The citizens in my county board district is starving for new leadership. We need a proven leader we need someone who will represent our district. We need Lester Byrd. I sincerely would like to thank all the citizens in county board district for expressing how you feel about the guidance and leadership that is needed in county board 10.