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Q&A with Zay
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Published: 9/26/2008 2:59 PM

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1. Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you and, if so, what is that? What will be your main priority in office?

It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of District 6 on the DuPage County Board. For the past nine years I have strived to provide the 6th District with strong, independent representation. The trust they have placed in me is a great honor and I look forward to being their voices on the important issues facing our families and communities. With young children, I have worked hard to make sure DuPage County continues to be the best place to raise your families with safe streets, good schools and keeping more of your tax dollars in your pocket, not the governments.

Property tax relief has been a major issue for me. We cannot continue to burden our residents with blindly raising property taxes every year. I have voted to decrease our taxes for 6 out of the 9 years on the board. We also returned 1 million dollars last year back to the people. We have to continue to keep taxes down to keep your money with you and not government.

2. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us what important initiatives you've led. If you are not an incumbent, tell us what contributions you would make.

Over my nine years on the board, I have worked on many issues from small local problems to countywide issue so it is hard to narrow them down. With all of the attention on the County's finances over the last several months, I have been working hard to have the County find additional revenue sources to take the burden off of Property Taxes. I have been the Chairman of the County's Stormwater Committee and we have established a comprehensive flood prevention program that has helped alleviate flooding in our neighborhoods. I am working on the elimination of alcohol at Diamonds Adult Club which has become a major safety concern for our residents. I worked very hard with the City of West Chicago to stop the placement of a second waste transfer station in our area. We have made major road improvements to the District (County Farm Rd by building an underpass which helps Emergency Vehicles reach Central DuPage Hospital.) Worked with Carol Stream to get safe drinking water to unincorporated residents when contaminated wells were found. Worked on ethics and purchasing reforms to make DuPage County one of the toughest in Illinois. But the most important issues that the papers or most people don't hear about are the small local ones that we get every day from residents, like help with zoning problems, animal control issues, flooding or lowering speed limits or making no turns lanes when car accidents were adding up.

3. What are your thoughts on how to best make use of revenue from the county sales tax increase approved by the state legislature? What should be done with any surplus from the sales tax increase?

The sales tax increase approved by Springfield is to be used for Public Safety and Transportation. The major roles of County government is public safety. The Sheriff, States Attorney, Judicial system and the County Jail. Over 80% of the County's Budget goes to fund these areas. We need to continue to support public safety with funds to keep DuPage's low crime and murder rates down. With transportation we saw this last winter that our streets and roads had major damaged, and we need to continue to improve the roads. As the roads continue to have heavy rider ship, we nee to expand intersections, use new technologies to improve out traffic control devices, so you can spend more time with your families and friends than stuck in traffic.

If the county has any surplus, the County should put some into a strategic reserve fund, and some should be returned to the tax payers. Last year the County returned 1 million dollars in property taxes back to the people.

4. Should candidates for county board and other elected offices accept campaign contributions from companies that do business with the county? If so, why? If not, why not and how should this be addressed? If you have accepted campaign contributions from county vendors, please list them by name and amount.

Because of the corruption in Springfield and the city of Chicago this has become a very political question. The Daily Herald itself did an investigation of DuPage County to see if there was any correlation between donations and business, and they found that there was none. The County took steps itself by passing one of the toughest ethics ordinances in the State of Illinois. The County also passed a new procurement policy which contracts have to go through before approved by the County. With this policy, our professional staff bid the contracts they go though a review policy through many departments before the County Board votes on final approval, so basically our staff are doing there jobs and getting the lowest bids and to make sure we get the most qualified companies so the jobs are done right and your tax dollars are not wasted.

5. With the high price of gasoline, what should the county board be doing to improve energy efficiency in government operations? What, if anything, should the county board be doing to encourage mass transit options in the county?

The County has taken many steps to conserve energy and help the environment. We have been buying hybrid cars and trucks to cut down our gas costs. We have been looking into a 4 day week for staff, but we also have to make sure we are not cutting our services for the people. We have been going "green" in our departments to cut down on our waste and do more recycling. The County has been a leader in Mass Transit. The County and PACE need to educate people more about the routes throughout the County. We need to look into more local circulating routes that can move people to the places they need to go. One step that needs to be continued is to continue to improve our roads, so people can move around the area quickly, getting off the roads thus using less gas and having more time with there families.

6. What are your thoughts on the Canadian National Railway's proposal to purchase the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Co. in order to reroute some freight train traffic from lines in Chicago and inner suburbs?

This is one of the main issues in our district. If the CN buys the EJ&E railroad, it will endanger our public safety, quality of life and be devastating to the environment. With the number of new trains that will engulf our area it will mean longer response times for our police and fire departments to respond to emergencies. It will make the Village of Wayne an island, cut off by 2 of these tracks. With the increased amount of hazardous waste being transported in the area will increase the risks of a major spill. It will increase the risks for all of the school buses that have to make numerous trips back and forth taking and bringing children home from school everyday. Make no mistake if this sale goes through it will devastate our area, and this is why I have been at numerous meetings, hearings, writing letters to the Surface Transportation Board to oppose this. This sale has absolutely no benefit for our area and needs to be stopped. In the long run we would have to spend our tax dollars on under/overpasses to make sure our safety needs will be met.