My election to the DuPage County Board for District 5 was just over two months ago. The Inauguration and Swearing-In Ceremony was held on December 4th. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
But I wouldn’t be here now without you. I was elected by more than 1,800 votes ahead of my closest competitor. You made this happen with your votes and with your support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the opportunity to serve you for the next four years. I’m YOUR representative on the DuPage County Board. If you didn’t support me during the election process or if you didn’t vote for me, I hope that in the months ahead, I will earn your trust, respect, and support.
Since December 4th, I have been learning the job by talking with experts throughout DuPage County to become the best representative I can possibly be. Moving forward, building relationships and listening to others is the very best way I can serve you.
I had an incredible meeting with John Carpenter, CEO of Choose DuPage, during which I learned about the triumphs and challenges of businesses in our county. Major focuses include developing meaningful western access to O'Hare Airport; internationally marketing the concepts and discoveries developed by our incredible local gems, FermiLab and Argonne National Laboratory; workforce mobility, helping to make DuPage County employees’ commutes easier and more productive; exports and marketing DuPage County products internationally; and developing the property around the DuPage County Airport, which is nearly complete. My time with John Carpenter was well spent and productive. I look forward to future conversations with this brilliant CEO.
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico also reached out to me. We had coffee over the holidays and talked about business development opportunities in the DuPage County portion of Naperville. I look forward to reaching out to Aurora’s Mayor Richard Irvin and Lisle’s Mayor Christopher Pecak in the coming weeks. Collaboration is key to successful governance.
One of my favorite conversations over the holidays was with Mary Keating, DuPage County’s Director of Community Services. Mary Keating epitomizes compassion. Her department takes care of those of us who have the least in a county of great riches. DuPage County, we need people in public service who care deeply, and Mary cares deeply. In future communications, I will discuss more about the incredible work Mary and her staff do for our most vulnerable residents. In the meantime, I’ll just say that my impression of Mary and her staff is of balancing too many spinning plates on sticks—each plate representing a key component to help those most in need in DuPage County—but doing it masterfully. Mary and her staff are true heroes.
I met with Sheriff James Mendrick and toured the DuPage County Jail. A vast population of people incarcerated in our DuPage County jail system have mental health issues, many involve self-medication/drug and/or alcohol addiction, which led to their incarceration. Rather than the staid expectation of recidivism, Sheriff Mendrick is focused on rehabilitation, education, job training, and then to a productive return to society.
I personally know several “kids” (16 to 25) on the autism spectrum who would not have the ability to comply with law enforcement requests—even simple requests—so I asked the sheriff if his officers were trained to handle special needs citizens. Sheriff Mendrick shared with me that he has a child on the autism spectrum, and this has led to special training of fellow officers regarding citizens who may be on the autism spectrum. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed.
I had a brief conversation with Illinois State’s Attorney, Robert Berlin. As a journalist, I’ve reported on Berlin and his policies and have been impressed by his positions. Over the years, I have interviewed internationally famous celebrities like Barry Manilow and Patti LaBelle, but I have to say I was like a “fan girl” with State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. I’m incredibly impressed by Berlin’s positions. In my humble opinion, the greatest among his policies is his initiative to sue the biggest opioid pharmaceutical manufacturers in an attempt to recoup the enormous costs of battling the epidemic of addiction.
Overall, I am utterly impressed with the quality of staff that you have working for you in DuPage County. We are all so fortunate for their tireless work. Their dedication to you is amazing beyond words. On your behalf, I will continue to build these relationships, and I will continue to report back to you with my efforts to #BuildABetterDuPage.