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GLT's coverage of the municipal election on April 2, 2019. Voters will elect members of the Bloomington City Council and Normal Town Council.Learn more about the candidates with our 2019 Voter Guide.

Candidate Questionnaire: Georgene Chissell

 Georgene Chissell
Ryan Denham
Georgene Chissell, a candidate for Bloomington City Council in Ward 2.

These responses were submitted by Georgene Chissell, a candidate for Bloomington City Council in Ward 2. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.

What in your personal and professional background has prepared you for this position? Include any experience serving in local government.

My locate government, professional, and personal work experiences have well prepared me for the position of alderwoman for Ward 2. I still draw from my experiences from my background:

* Beautification Committee
* Historic Preservation Commission
* Bloomington 101
* Multicultural Leadership Program Alumni Class of 2016
* Campaign Volunteer for Mayoral candidate Diana Hauman 2017
* League of Women Voters Member

* Faith in Action Volunteer
* Girl Scout Leader 12 years
* Assistant to Christian Education Director 20+ years
* Active in Student Association activities and leadership at ISU
* Business/Pol Sci Organizer for Bhopal awareness at ISU

* In-home daycare
* Design/seamstress
* Small Business owner for 10 years
* Trained & Collaborated on training co-workers on technology software program

What would be your approach to building effective working relationships with other aldermen, the mayor, and city staff?

My planned approach to building effective working relationships with my government leadership - fellow aldermen, the Mayor, and City staff is first to complete introduction meetings where I would learn about each member, their roles and goals, and to share about myself and Ward 2. Secondly, look to create partnerships for like initiatives.

I would maintain these working relationships, timeless principles of listening, gain full understanding, evaluating the information, and then provide a guided decision.

What new programs or initiatives do you think the city should pursue?

I believe the City of Bloomington would greatly benefit from developing a marketing program to better market what Bloomington has to offer in terms of employment, social, entertainment, sports, education, retirement community, etc. Create a partnership with the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Economic Development Office, and Chamber of Commence.

When is it appropriate for local government to use incentives to achieve an economic development priority? How would you make those decisions?

It is appropriate for local government to use incentives to achieve an economic development foothold when selectively targeting individual businesses to invest or expand that would otherwise not occur but for the incentive and it would greatly benefit our city. We should target incentives based on core principles of inclusive economic development. If we do not have core principles then we should development them for example:

* Grow from within - by prioritizing firms in advanced industries that drive local comparative advantage, innovation, productivity, and wage gains.

* Invest in our people and skills by incorporating workers' skill development which would result in meaningful work and wages (such as the union trade apprenticeship programs).

* Connect place - by maybe connecting our local communities to regional jobs, housing, and opportunity. We can focus incentives on addressing blight and distress in communities of concentrated poverty.

These principles will help us determine whether local and state incentive policies are aligned with ours.

What specifically would you support to make Downtown Bloomington a more attractive destination for residents, tourists, and business owners?

Continuity! Continuity! Continuity! Let's work full circle by engaging the community and working with what we already have by bringing the Beautification Committee and the Downtown Development groups together.

What should be the city’s role in expanding affordable housing opportunities?

The city's role in expanding affordable housing opportunities should simply be facilitating the conversation between local developers and key players (such as Bloomington Housing Authority) so that the city's housing needs are addressed effectively.

City staff say O’Neil Pool needs to be replaced and the public library needs to expand. Should the city pursue those projects? If so, how should they be funded?

O'Neil Pool should be replaced on a smaller scale with a cover to be used all year round (to cut cost). This would promote water safety and water education which is a positive option than screen time. We could look at endowments and federal programs for community/youth investment.

School libraries could partner with the Bloomington library to meet the needs of the children which brings the cost down. The brick and mortar, expertise, and access is already there at the school. We would need to create awareness and monitor the effectiveness and tweak as needed.

A recent Governing magazine investigation found a big disparity in median incomes between white and black households in Bloomington. What can the city do to address this and other inequalities that exist within the community?

To address inequalities the city should engage the community by identifying and prioritizing the gaps then identifying and prioritizing the solutions. Then look at partnering with the state and federal government to fulfill any remaining gaps.

What additional steps should the city take, if any, to better protect and serve local immigrants, especially those who are undocumented?

The current steps should be sufficient. however, if there is a gap we need to address it. To address protecting and serving local immigrants the city should engage the community by identifying and prioritizing the gaps then identifying and prioritizing the solution, for instance are there any gaps in protecting or serving immigrants, documented or undocumented?

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