Barbara Osborne: Candidate Profile
DuPage Township Supervisor (4-year Term) (Democrat)
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: DuPage Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Married, two children, one grandchild
Occupation: Business/Management consultant and Project Manager
Education: Masters of Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL Bachelor of Schience, Xavier University, New Orleans, LA
Civic involvement: -Illinois Women's Leadership Institute -Bridges Communities for the Homeless -NAACP
Elected offices held: DuPage Township Precinct Committeeperson, 2004-current
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
A good old fashioned house cleaning! That is to revamp the current Township administration and institute formal Professional standards and a code of ethics--ensuring fair and non-partisan distribution of services; also, governing how and where taxpayer funds are spent to eliminate blatant conflicts of interest such as those currently plaquing the office.
Key Issue 2
Expanding the scope and reach of the services the Township office now provides (without increasing the budget)to include the specific needs of residents that are: 1) faced with homelessness, 2)young adults between the ages of 21-30 (high needs,often overlooked), 3)formerly incarcerated, re-entering the community after serving jail sentences,4)more services for our Latino community such as ESL classes and 5) Veterans and their families.
Key Issue 3
Long-term solutions and programs for the "working poor"...that is, residents earning just above the poverty levels but still unable to care for their families without assistance; consortiums and townhall type forums with all non-profit service organizations in the community to pool resources and lessons learned.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1) Implement professional standards and codes of conduct for staff and leadership to allow for fair and non-partisan service to all residents of the township--with sound fiscal responsibility 2) Expand the scope and reach of this township office services to address additional underserved segments 3)Build a strong consortium and "think tank" of community service leaders to capture the abundance of our township; collectively pool our resources and planning to meet the varied needs of our diverse community.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Township government is needed and present within 99% of the villages and towns within Illinois. The resident segment requiring the services of the township are those in-between the indigent poor and the financially comfortable -- the working poor. The residents that go to work but don't earn enough to make it from paycheck to paycheck and need some supplemental help with food or prescriptions or utility bills, for example. The indigent and poor are helped by the public aid system, however the working poor may barely be above the poverty level and do not qualify for state assistance. Township government fills this gap.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
To supplement the needs of the working poor in our community, helping to sustain and empower them as they get back on their feet. This segment usually does not qualify for state public aide, but do not have the earning power to make it from pay check to pay check.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Actually, the township office doesn't have any input on the formula used to determine the tax income set aside for it's budget. Coincidently, due to the hard economic times, less taxes are collected anyway (less property taxes due to high forecloseres,less sales taxes due to lower spending (related to income and job cuts). So the real challenge as the new Supervisor will be to stretch fewer dollars over an increased resident need base. My strategy will be to ensure the board and I maximize the use of the limited funds with stringent budgetary oversite to put funds in the hands of residents that truly need them. The current administration has used funds to make contributions to a Cricket sporting club and others organizations, offering no direct service to residents of the township that are hurting economically. This type of irrelevant spending will not continue under my administration.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have served as an elected township precinct committee person for 8 years now. This role has allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse of the tremendous economic struggles of a growing number of residents and to provide referrals and help where possible. I have also served as a court appointed advocate in the Joliet juvenile courts. I am a guest teacher in the 365 Valley View School district and I provide volunteer services to the homeless via the Bridges Community organization. I have also been fortunate enough to experience a fulfilling career in business, management and leadership. However the experiences that ultimately prepare me for this role extend far beyond academic degrees or the business career I've achieved... but instead,stem from my life experiences. During my lifetime, I've known poverty, homelessness and struggle--up close and personal. My parents relied on temporary social services to get us thru the tough times. During the economic downturn of the past 5 years, both my husband and I have experienced job layoffs and unemployment like so many other residents of our township. I am qualified to serve in this role because I have been on both the "receiving" and the "giving" sides of the table throughout my life. This role requires compassion and intuition and the ability to work with people that are hurting; treating them with dignity and respect. I am a candidate offering the necessary real-life experiences, compassion, humility and voice, to advocate for residents requiring Township services, along with professional and academic preparedness.