These responses were submitted by Ben Webb, a Democratic 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 wish to represent the residents of District 4 in order to take our community forward in strides, even as we face the great challenges of this time. During a global health crisis, and especially during difficult times, it takes leadership and representation that will bring people together and foster collaboration within a community. I feel my background and experience are well suited to empower and elevate the voices of others and guide the county board to address the needs of our community.
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?
The county health department is a lifeline in our community. I feel that the experts must drive decision making in order for us to work out from under this pandemic and to keep ourselves and neighbors safe. The county staff should be given the floor and the latitude to make the requests necessary for our community’s safety. I will advocate for the science to speak the truth, and will not allow any political figurehead’s opinions to undercut the severity of the virus; in order to address the economic challenges of the pandemic, our collaboration between the board and local businesspeople must support local employers and employees during these harsh realities with the resources they need to do business.
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?
Beyond the pandemic, the board will continue to have work related to the nursing home, growing the services and facilities provided, and behavioral/mental health services which are more important than ever. Addressing social and racial justice is another concern that we, in my opinion, should address all facets of government, including health.
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 CJCC will have continuous work to maintain on the topic of mental health. I would like to see the county board more active and specifically proactive as the council sets its next set of priorities.
Do you think the county should continue to operate its own nursing home? Why or why not?
The County Nursing Home is of particular importance in our community and should continue to operate with our support. Continuing to develop the services and facilities provided allows us to showcase the nursing home as a quality public option for care.
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?
In order for tax incentives to be considered, the county government will need to continue to evaluate the gains brought to McLean County on our long-term roadmap of economic development and budgets.
What would be your priorities if asked to consider controversial land-use questions, such as those surrounding wind turbines, solar farms, etc.?
When addressing controversial land use, especially as it relates to renewable energy, it is important to remember the benefits seen to our county as well as our global carbon footprint. I am proud to live in an area that has confidence in renewable energy and what it brings us.
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?
As partisan as politics have become, I am a democrat and a democratic candidate because I value how the party elevates the voices of ordinary, working people. We come from diverse ways of life and benefit from that strength and collective coming together. We care for our neighbors. We share in the responsibility and obligation to be there for one another. And I think the world needs that goodness towards one another more than ever.
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