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"Only when we work together will we be able to provide real and sustaining property tax relief for Illinoisans."

 LIST OF ISSUES

EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION

The people of the 66th District have had three years of failed leadership by our current Representative, and it's time for a change.  Our current Representative has burnt bridges and become completely ineffective.  In three years, our current representative has not written even one bill that he's been able to carry through the entire legislative process.  Successful legislators build relationships, establish trust, and respect their colleagues- even when opinions on issues clash.  We don't have that in the 66th District.  Instead we have an individual who refuses to work with local municipalities and rails against not only Democrats but also members of his own caucus.  Consensus on key issues in Springfield is possible when we find common ground and work together on solutions.  Only then can we come together and make real progress in addressing the state's financial problems, improve the jobs climate, and solve the pension crisis.  I stand committed to serving the people of the 66th District.  

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

We need to focus on how we become competitive again with surrounding states to bring jobs and people back to Illinois and allow for property tax relief. While on the McHenry County Board, I sat on a Comprehensive Economic Strategy Committee for McHenry County and in partnership with Boone and Winnebago counties.  We created a formal plan for growing our local economy through job creation.  The plan includes identifying potential development and expansion, available workforce, infrastructure needs, and sustainable development all through a collaborative approach.  A similar approach can be taken at the state level to identify regional strengths and how to best utilize them.  For example, Illinois has the best freight network in the country and lawmakers should focus on how to capitalize on ease of access and mobility through our region.  This should be a collaborative approach which allows municipalities flexibility in utilizing funds for incentives on the basis of job creation and benefit to the economy.     

INFRASTRUCTURE

Supporting the improvement and enhancement of infrastructure is also a large component in promoting economic development.  We need to understand the needs of our residents and provide them with good quality roads and access to services.  Investments in infrastructure such as road expansions, highway improvements, and fiber networks are shown to encourage businesses to relocate to an area, which brings jobs, improves quality of life, and attracts residents.  On the County Board I supported the Highway 23/I-90 Interchange, County broadband fiber-optic network, and the Randall Road improvement projects after hearing from residents and local elected officials on the need for these improvements to enhance economic development and improve quality of life for their residents.

As a member of the Executive Board for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for planning, I understand the connection between transportation, housing, economic development, and the environment and the importance of regional collaboration to maximize the return on investment.  

EDUCATION

As a mother of three children, who is very involved in my local school system, I am a strong advocate for protecting the local education tax dollar to be spent locally. Education needs to be student-centered and not centered around state and federal mandates. There is no “one-size-fits-all” template that ensures a successful education, and public schools need flexibility so they can create a curriculum that benefits their unique demographic of students. In all cases, I would support expanding dual-credit and AP classwork that allows college-bound students to receive college credit while in high school. This has the potential to significantly cut college costs for Illinois families.

As a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it has been eye opening that the cost for my son to attend the University will be four times that of which it was when I was there.  Universities throughout the country are enticing Illinois' top students with offers of reduced tuition, making it more affordable for them to leave Illinois.  Once they leave studies show that 33% of them will find employment outside of Illinois.  In turn, their parents may decide to follow their children (and grandchildren) out of Illinois.  We need to refocus on educating the children of Illinois in Illinois. 

ENVIRONMENT

Being solely dependent on groundwater for our water supply in McHenry and Kane Counties has motivated me to be an advocate for the protection of both the quantity and the quality of our water.  As a former member of the Northwest Water Planning Alliance Executive Board, I have been working toward a long term solution and encouraging investigation and education on our water supply across the Chicago Region.  I have encouraged philosophical changes to be implemented in other areas such as planning and development.  The use of cluster developments and water infiltration in highly sensitive areas to reduce impervious areas and capture runoff, along with supporting green infrastructure plans, are sensible guidelines for future growth.

© 2023 by Don Richards. Proudly created with Wix.com

A copy of our report with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board's official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections Springfield, Illinois.