Name: John Hipskind
Occupation: Lawyer/Business Owner/Hipskind & McAninch, LLC
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Position seeking: City Councilman
Campaign website: Facebook.com/JHipskind4CityCouncil
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for City Council because I am passionate about Highland and believe deeply in public service. Highland is growing and the opportunities for continued growth are already presenting themselves. We need experienced leadership to guide that growth to assure we do not lose what already makes Highland such a special place to so many. My education and experience as a lawyer; business owner; and father will allow me to provide that type of leadership and perspective on City Council.
What is the most important issue facing your town? How would you approach it? There are many important issues facing Highland. Among the most important, are economic development and the health of our drinking water supply at Silver Lake.
Highland is a wonderful place to live, raise your family, and start a business. These wonderful qualities have led to years of growth in Highland. I see no signs of this growth slowing. But we need to assure we have a plan to maintain what we love about this city while bringing in new residents and quality economic development. We need a comprehensive plan for economic development that brings in first-rate new businesses while also supporting the businesses who already call Highland home. As a business owner myself, I understand the difficulties of starting and owning your own business. This makes me uniquely qualified among the other candidates to work with our business community to foster the economic development we need.
In addition to working with the business community, we must ensure Highland’s infrastructure is ready to take us into the next decade. This includes making sure our electrical grid is up to date and can handle additional residents without interruption of services. Updating, repairing, and expanding our streets and sidewalks. And working to expand our high-speed internet so that it is available to all residents.
Another major issue impacting Highland is our drinking water supply at Silver Lake. We must ensure that Silver Lake remains a viable source of water and is healthy for consumption. The health of Silver Lake is in jeopardy. For years, chemicals have been running off from local farms into the lake. Livestock have used the lake as a source of water which has impaired its quality. There is significant shoreline erosion that has increased sediment in the lake, which in turn has affected the quality of the water. It is my understanding that the City has taken steps to help cure some of these problems, but more work is needed.
Unfortunately, the health of Silver Lake is a complex problem and will require significant resources. If elected, it is my intention to begin to tackle this issue immediately. I have already spoken with our county board member and a state legislator about this issue, and both have indicated a willingness to work with me to solve this complex problem.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you raise taxes or fees in the municipality? Please explain. Taxes in Illinois are already too high. I believe strongly that government should live within its means. For that reason, any proposed tax increase would receive my highest level of scrutiny. To receive my vote, a tax increase would have be limited in time and scope to cure the problem its intended to resolve. And a tax increase would have to be necessary to achieve that end.
Crime has been an issue in parts of the metro-east. What is the best way to stop the problem in and around your community? We are fortunate to live in an area where crime is under control. I credit that to the fantastic work of the Highland Police Department. However, we all know crime can seemingly spike overnight. For that reason, it is imperative that there is an open line of communication between the police department and City Council. This is the only way to ensure that the police department has all the resources necessary to keep Highland safe and secure. Only working together can we guarantee that our community remains safe for years to come.