These responses were submitted by RJ McCracken, a Democratic candidate for McLean County Board in District 3. See more candidate responses.
Why do you want to represent your district on the McLean County Board?
For 17 years now I have learned, lived, and worked along side the citizens of McLean County. In this time I have come to call this my home. I hope to serve the friends, businesses and people of McLean county to assure that the people and places I love have someone who asks critical questions, and uses factual data in the decision making process for governing this county.
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?
I would listen to, and encourage the department to ask for the resources they need moving forward. Spikes in our numbers to over twice the national average are troublesome, and must be addressed.
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?
Our 1/5 star (by definition dangerous to residents) county operated nursing home.
I would ask critical questions about the short comings and see what the path forward to a higher rated facility looks like. I am excited at the opportunity to work with the new leadership and want to provide whatever is needed to turn it around... Far too often I watch the board meetings and see officials essentially get a pass on poor performance. We need representatives who are going to be critical and ask important questions. Current leadership falls short in this regard and we deserve better.
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?
I would like to see continued action on mental health treatment.
Do you think the county should continue to operate its own nursing home? Why or why not?
I under no circumstances would remove the counties nursing home, as we would no longer maintain control of the oversight we have protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.
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?
Here in McLean County, we have wonderful neighborhoods, both rural and suburban. Excellent schools for children to grow up and learn in, as well as fine universities that put out brilliant minds for businesses to draw from. A diverse mixture of small to large businesses, and an economy that continues to perform despite the stress it is under. This mix makes it very difficult for me to favor economic incentives for new businesses. I truly feel like the people of McLean county speak for themselves and that any business would be lucky to open its doors here. Ultimately tax breaks for new businesses strike me as unfair to the ones working hard here already.
What would be your priorities if asked to consider controversial land-use questions, such as those surrounding wind turbines, solar farms, etc.?
In my discussions with citizens of the third district the sentiment I get regarding wind farms is "enough is enough..." Pressing to me are the concerns that the companies operating them are not following the guidelines laid out in the contracts regarding road usage, causing unacceptable conditions for our residents living along access roads. My priority will be to assure that the current contracts are being executed properly before moving forward with any additional.
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?
Identifying as a Moderate Democrat, I come from a perspective that the government is not the end all solution for our problems. That being said, I also feel that the government has a moral obligation to help those that cannot help themselves, and that all citizens are owed their constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I will always weigh my decision making through this lens.
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