Lynn LaPlante: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 4
Office sought: DuPage County Board District 4
City: Glen Ellyn
Occupation: DuPage County Board member; violinist and writer
Previous offices held: Current DuPage County Board member; three-term elected precinct committeeperson, currently running for fourth term
Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am running for reelection to continue all the wonderful work that I started in my first term: a brand new Fine Arts committee that I created and Chair, and my work toward health equity and affordable housing initiatives. I am particularly passionate about developing the arts in DuPage County in order to provide cultural enrichment with accessible, high quality artistic experiences. The Fine Arts Committee is helping to widen arts appreciation and engagement, enhance tourism, and drive economic development through having a vibrant cultural environment.
I have a long-term vision that I am working on currently with our many valuable community partners who are extremely supportive of this initiative. I'm very proud of what I have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time -- and there is plenty more to come!
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
When I saw that we didn't have one single line item in our half-a-billion dollar budget for the Arts, I set out to change that. I created a brand new, bipartisan Ad Hoc Fine Arts committee and filled it with established organizations from our community to all work together to drive COVID recovery and economic development through the arts. I created the inaugural DuPage Community Arts Festival, being held on May 28 on our county fairgrounds to highlight and showcase all the amazing artists and performers that live and work in DuPage County. This innovative event is the very first of its kind in the history of the DuPage County Board.
I chaired the Community Development Committee that passed the funding for the first ever permanent homeless shelter in DuPage County. I worked on the Health Equity and Accessibility Response Team to increase vaccine confidence in vulnerable communities and helped create groundbreaking PSA's encouraging residents to get vaccinated during the pandemic.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
I am proud of our county board's fiscal responsibility. We have done an amazing job of balancing our budget, and spending wisely. I am excited to use these funds to invest back into our community to grow our economy and elevate our already high quality of life. I have so many ideas that can be incorporated into existing programs, as well as creating brand new initiatives to serve the people of DuPage County. In terms of challenges we may face, I believe COVID still poses the greatest threat.
We have already proven that we can successfully navigate our way through a pandemic, in a cohesive, smart, bipartisan manner. I am proud of the work we have done as leaders, paving the road to recovery as a shining example of good governance in the state of Illinois, and I know we will continue to do so as necessary.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them.
I believe DuPage County clearly prioritizes transparency, as well as public access. In terms of accessibility, closed captions were recently added to all recordings of board meetings for the hearing impaired. Anyone can watch any meeting, at any time, on the county's YouTube channel -- a wonderful way to keep up with county projects and the latest up-to-date information. There is always room for improvement, but I am extremely proud of the work the county is doing in this area.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
The DuPage County website received a much-needed redesign and overhaul using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, providing greatly improved automation and customer service for our residents. The rest is easier to access services and information for all. I love to encourage engagement and involvement in our local government -- because knowledge is power. I believe DuPage County does a wonderful job of providing opportunities for residents to get involved, get informed and get active in their local government.