These responses were submitted by Democratic McLean County Board candidate David Parker, who faces Republican Lyndsay Bloomfield and Libertarian Sol Roberts-Lieb. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.
Explain any experience you have working or serving with McLean County government.
None in my professional life. As a member of the Pepper Ridge Elementary Promise Council, I have been involved with bringing members of the McLean County government into the school to speak to the children.
Last fall, the county had to close a $1.5 million budget gap — a deficit that led to an early retirement program and other cuts. What would you prioritize in future budgets if revenues remain tight?
We must plan for the long term, even when the budget is tight, and not succumb to quick fix solutions. One example would be the McLean County nursing home: There was a time when the nursing home was a financial asset to the county, but we allowed our ratings to slip to the point where we no longer qualified to receive Medicaid and Medicare patients. This was causing the county to lose money, which prompted some county officials to suggest selling the nursing home. Some of us advocated instead to make improvements to the nursing home to boost our rating, and make the nursing home profitable again. Fortunately the Board chose to adopt these measures. This is the type of long term planning that we must pursue, rather than make shortsighted decisions.
What would be your approach to evaluating economic incentives to help bring (or expand) businesses in McLean County?
I do not believe that certain businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, should receive incentives to build here. The market will determine the need for such businesses. In regards to manufacturing or other job-creating opportunities where we are competing with other communities, I can see the benefit of offering tax incentives. However, I believe that McLean County has a very skilled workforce, a number of colleges, and is centrally located, so we need to sell the prospective employers on all that McLean County has to offer beyond just tax incentives.
Do you think McLean County should establish a countywide election commission? Why or why not?
I do believe that a countywide election commission should be our long-term goal.
Do you support changing County Board meeting times — from the morning to afternoons or evenings?
I support changing the meeting times to any times that the residents of McLean County choose. It is the elected officials that should be inconvenienced, not the citizens.
How do you think McLean County government can help to provide more affordable housing in the area?
I believe that there should be more grants offered to low-income individuals who own their own homes, but don't have the resources to update or remodel their homes to make them safe and functional, and are subsequently at risk.
How would you describe the relationship between the County Board, the Board of Health and the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council? What role the County Board play in guiding health policy, governance?
The role of the County Board is primarily to ensure that they are properly allocating the finances needed to the Board of Health and the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council to ensure that quality healthcare services are being provided to the county.
What would be your approach to evaluating land-use requests involving renewable energy like wind and solar?
I believe that land owners should be allowed to utilize their land any way they see fit, so long as it's not negatively affecting their neighbors.
I am personally a big proponent of renewable energy technology, and believe that various incentives should be considered in encouraging land owners and energy companies in pursuing renewable energy technology in McLean County.