These responses were submitted by Democratic McLean County Board candidate Shayna Watchinski, who faces Republican Cheryl Froelich and Libertarian Steve Suess. 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.
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?
In future budgets I will work to find ways to protect the taxpayer without abandoning our obligation to care for our most vulnerable citizens.
What would be your approach to evaluating economic incentives to help bring (or expand) businesses in McLean County?
Economic incentives are only one tool in the county toolbox. We must also make sure we have adequate government services, roads, and infrastructure to ensure that our county attracts new business.
Do you think McLean County should establish a countywide election commission? Why or why not?
Yes. I would support a non-partisan countywide election commission.
Do you support changing County Board meeting times — from the morning to afternoons or evenings?
Absolutely. The current meeting time of 9 am is not acceptable. I will work to have the meeting time changed to afternoons or evenings in order to allow more working families and students to be involved in their local government.
How do you think McLean County government can help to provide more affordable housing in the area?
The county can work with the municipalities and rural areas to find opportunities to provide more affordable housing. We can help facilitate communication between the parties involved.
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?
I see the relationship between the County Board, the Board of Health and the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council as an important collaboration. The work they do together, along with the mental health action plan, will help to avoid the pitfalls that can come from working in silos. By working together they ensure we provide vital services to our most vulnerable citizens.
What would be your approach to evaluating land-use requests involving renewable energy like wind and solar?
I would approach every special use permit on an individual basis making sure to take into consideration the needs of the community and the rights of property owners.