Candidate profile: Jessica Ellison Thomas

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Jessica Ellison Thomas

Office seeking: Madison County Board District 5

Party: Democratic

Age: 35

City of residence: Foster Township / unincorporated Alton area

Campaign website: www.jessfightsforyou.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? Our government is not currently working for the people of our area of Madison County, and it’s because the current county board member is not listening to the community and not working to get our tax dollars reinvested in our area. When I am elected to the Madison County Board, I will work so that the people in this community see a return on their investment. This means ensuring that the people have a say in who represents them on local boards and working to get Internet access to the many people in this district who do not have it.

How will you keep property taxes low? People are feeling taxed to death, and they’re right. The county board needs to look at the tax dollars that we currently receive and make sure to work within that budget. Fiscal responsibility is important to me, and I will treat the county budget just like I treat the budget in my own home. Being a good steward of your tax dollars means making smart, long-term decisions when investing in projects in our county and not handing out pay raises to people because of who they know instead of what they know.

What is something the board should be doing, but isn’t doing right now? The representatives of the board should be listening to their constituents and working for the people instead of working for themselves. Many members of the county board have forgotten who their bosses are -- the people and the taxpayers.

Since December 2016, Madison County Board meetings have jumped from lasting an average of 36 minutes to an average of one hour and 11 minutes. Is this an efficient use of time? Why or why not? Madison County Board meeting time has not only more than doubled, but the entire event has turned into a circus. Instead of working efficiently to get projects done for Madison County, board members use this time to grandstand, chest thump, and argue. Worst of all, Chairman Prenzler is ineffective at running these meetings and appears unfamiliar with Robert’s Rules of Order. The Madison County Board needs to focus on working in a bipartisan way to bring progress to the people of Madison County. I am not against long meetings -- but I am opposed to ineffective ones that waste time, and that is what is currently happening in Madison County.