These responses were submitted by Adelita Cruz, the Republican candidate for McLean County Board in District 4. See more candidate responses.
Why do you want to represent your district on the McLean County Board?
I want to represent District 4 because I believe I have an obligation to share my time and talent with others to help make our community better. You cannot expect to live in a great community if you are not willing to put in the work. The skills I have developed in my professional and personal life align well with the financial oversight responsibilities of the county board. I work for a Fortune 50 company as a contact center manager. I have experience with leadership, staffing, budgeting, and short- and long-term strategy. I also hold an MBA in Leadership and Organizational Health. I will use these skills to ensure the county departments have the necessary funding to run programs that are important to our citizens.
What are your expectations for the McLean County Health Department in 2021 as they relate to the pandemic? What would you do as a County Board to help the department meet those expectations?
It is important to note that the county board as no operational control over the health department. The Board of Health has full operational control. My responsibility as a board member is to provide financial oversight for their budget.
Aside from the pandemic, what are the most pressing public health concerns in McLean County, and what would you do as a County Board member to help address them?
In 2019, the health department conducted a McLean County Community Health Needs Assessment. This assessment identified three health priorities: access to care, behavioral health (mental and substance use), and healthy eating/active living (HEAL). As the county board has no operational control over the health department, I would offer support towards these goals by ensuring they have access to adequate funding.
For years, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has addressed jail overcrowding and mental health. What additional issues would you like to see the CJCC focus on next?
The county board does not have operational control over the CJCC. It is my responsibility to ensure they have the necessary funding to effectively run their programs. I will continue to support the CJCC’s goal of collaborative justice and lowering incarnations. The Veteran’s court, rehabilitation services, and utilization of restorative justice are some of the ways the CJCC is achieving their goal. I would be proud to continue to assist with these initiatives by providing them funding.
Do you think the county should continue to operate its own nursing home? Why or why not?
The county board has addressed the revenue deficits of the nursing home by creating a blue-ribbon panel to identify opportunities for improvement. The recommendations from this panel have allowed the nursing home to make progress towards increasing their revenue by reducing the use of temporary staff and becoming a part of the OSF network, which increases referrals. A new administrator was also hired this year to support these changes.
Before making recommendations to continue to operate or close the nursing home, I would need to consider the short- and long-term ramifications of this decision. The pandemic has caused citizens to keep their loved one’s home rather than seeking care in the nursing home. I need to obtain a better understanding of how the pandemic will affect initiatives that have been implemented. I would also need to consider how the citizens, who rely on the nursing home for care, will obtain assistance. One of the goals of the health department is to provide access to care. Will a decision to close the nursing home run counter to the goals of the health department? It is critical to take all these items into consideration before making a recommendation.
How would you evaluate whether to support offering economic incentives, such as tax breaks, to businesses to get them to expand or locate in McLean County?
The county board has never actually provided tax breaks to businesses. Instead, the board utilizes benchmarks to determine if they will allow the business to keep the county portion of a property tax bill, (which is approximately 10-11%). When making this decision, the board takes into consideration how many jobs will be created and revenue they will bring into the county through increased spending at local businesses. I would continue to support this practice because in most instances, job creation generates an increase in revenue for the county offsetting any portion of the tax bill the business retains.
What would be your priorities if asked to consider controversial land-use questions, such as those surrounding wind turbines, solar farms, etc.?
I understand the concerns on the impacts to property values for those who live close to wind turbines and solar farms as well as their effect on wildlife. I also understand the need to increase the use of renewable energy. My priority would be to enhance my knowledge and understanding of the concerns and by seeking recommendations from subject matter experts on both sides of the issue. I also want to hear from our citizens, as my responsibility on the board is to represent the interests of my constituents.
The County Board is unusual among local governments in that it’s partisan, with political parties attached to members’ names. Why are you a Republican, a Democrat, or a Libertarian?
My decision to become a registered republican, is based on my personal experiences. I am a proponent of financial independence from, rather than dependence on government aid. I also believe in independent thinking and choice and have never felt pressured by the republican party to vote a certain way or only have one way of thinking.
I do not believe that we need to divide ourselves so harshly into different parties. It is more important to elect someone who wants to be involved in the county board because they have a desire to make a difference and create a strong community for everyone.
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