Editorials

Many reasons to support a new chairman

Rodger Cook for St. Clair County Board chairman

Former Belleville mayor Rodger Cook explains why he should be elected St. Clair County Board chairman on Nov. 8.
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Former Belleville mayor Rodger Cook explains why he should be elected St. Clair County Board chairman on Nov. 8.

I seek the office of St. Clair County Board chairman on behalf of those who want to bring open, honest and representative government back to the people. I will place the direction of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport into the hands of your elected County Board members. It is currently controlled by Mark Kern and his five-member appointed board. The airport has lost over $81 million of your tax dollars. The airport has a debt that children not even born will have to pay. It’s time to say 12-years of Kern is enough.

Like the lies and distortions of truth that my opponent’s commercials and political mailers proclaim, he will lie and tell you MidAmerica Airport saved Scott Air Force Base from closing. The runway, not the airport, aided Scott during the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commissions. That’s the simple truth.

Kern will boast about his work with the levees with your tax dollars; however, he fails to tell you they could have been fixed with federal tax dollars already paid but he did not want to follow federal bidding guidelines. Kern was a failure with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency application. East St. Louis should have been offered as an alternative site for it meets the criteria of high-poverty urban renewal or “Promise Zones.” Did Kern’s reputation of not wanting to follow federal guidelines play a role in the NGA decision?

Kern will brag that he has lowered property taxes. I believe our taxes can be lower. As mayor of Belleville, I lowered property taxes four years in a row, and reduced crime four years in a row.

Mark Kern raised Belleville’s property taxes 32 percent in his first year and crime started to go up.

I will seek more funding for the sheriff’s office to fight crime. Lower crime and lower taxes is a key resource to economic development and job creation. We need more jobs.

I’ve asked Kern repeatedly to debate these issues in your own backyards. He refuses. Why? He cannot defend his record of failure and mismanagement.

If we don’t speak out and vote, we accept the status quo and normalize the “Culture of Corruption” that exists within our government. We become part of the problem. That is why I seek your vote.

I will solve the people’s concerns within our county government. It starts with fairness and equal treatment of all. Taxes must be transparent and justified. I refuse to accept the culture of corruption as the normal way of life and act as if it is an invisible problem.

I will rid the county of its reputation of “pay to play.” Under my administration, all government contracts will be competitively bid with the lowest and most advantageous business awarded the contract. These savings are how we can add more sheriff’s deputies to patrol the streets to protect our families. Competitive government contracting will entice businesses to relocate here and again create jobs. That’s why I ask for your vote on Nov. 8. We all know we can do better.

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