Candidate profile: Erica Conway Harriss

NAME: Erica Conway Harriss

AGE: 39

IMMEDIATE FAMILY: Jeff (husband), Ryan (son, age 11), Julia (daughter, age 9), Emerson (daughter, age 5)

OCCUPATION: Founder & CEO of Saving Grace Beauty, LLC

OFFICE SOUGHT: Madison County Board, District 26 (Glen Carbon)


PREVIOUS ELECTED POSITIONS: I have never run for public office before, so this decision was heartfelt and important to me. Involvement in our local government is essential as the actions of our local representatives have enormous impact on our everyday lives. I am ready for this new challenge and with your help on November 8th, we can start making a difference together.

Why are you running for this office?

As a local resident, wife, mom, volunteer and business owner, I believe my skills and experiences will be an asset to our county government. As a citizen, I emphasize the importance of financial stewardship. Having built my own business, I have learned to listen well and communicate clearly. I know what it takes to transform complex issues into practical solutions. I think “outside the box” and offer proactive approaches with a positive attitude. With the current problems being faced by local government in Illinois, I believe we need new leadership and direction.

What would be your top priority if elected or re-elected?

My biggest concern is about escalating property taxes and will work to keep our county budget in check. We need to drive results for taxpayers, making sure our tax dollars are being used wisely and receiving maximum return for the people who work hard to earn those dollars. To do this, we need to ensure that government is making decisions with integrity, free from the pressure of special interest groups, and making smart choices based on common sense practices.

What other changes or improvements would you seek in this office?

I love our community and want to be a part of positive solutions and good policy. Our state is in crisis, and in turn, impacts us locally. We need to continue to work to revitalize our economy and attract good jobs. Revitalizing our economy doesn’t happen by overtaxing citizens.

Madison County is considering a 5-cent cut to its property tax rate. Are you in favor? Why or why not?

I am in favor of the 5-cent cut to the Madison County tax rate. In fact, I was 1 of 127 people who collected over 10,000 signatures to get this initiative on our November ballot. The county brings in an extra $3-4 million extra a year in surplus. If passed, this will take away $1.7 - 2 million. It would still mean the county is overtaxing us by $1 million, which can be used for capital improvements.

Why should the voters elect you?

It's time for new faces and new perspectives. We need new thinking in government, especially from people who have worked in the private business sector. Not only have I had considerable experience working for others in the private sector, I have built my own company from the ground up. This company has won multiple business and innovative awards. I can offer this experience, along with integrity to our Madison County Board. Thank you for your consideration in having me represent you!