John Martin: Candidate profile
Name: John Martin
Office sought: Kane County Board District 11
Occupation: Retired attorney
Education: AB and JD
Civic involvement: Lions Club. Prior to being elected to the County Board I served as member and officer of many civic organizations, commissions and committees
Elected offices held: County Board member and Forest Preserve District Commissioner
Questions & Answers
Question 1: If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led.
I was the driving force in County Board and Forest Preserve District approval of the closed Settlers Hill landfill reclamation as a forest preserve and NCAA qualified cross country course, including obtaining a volunteer management entity and Northwestern Medicine as a naming sponsor. Using no tax dollars and only the tipping fees from garbage trucks, construction began this past April and honors a County commitment made to the 11th District decades ago. ... I have served four years (the last two as Chairman) of the Board's Judicial/Public Safety Committee, working with departments and County offices comprising in excess of sixty percent the total annual budget.
Question 2: What is the single biggest need in your district?
The 11th District shares the overall need of County residents to thoughtful and cost effective government.
Question 3: Is the county doing enough to control expenses? What additional, specific steps do you recommend?
Evidenced by the years Kane County has not taken a cost of living tax increase and the conclusions reached by the mandated services study mentioned later in this questionnaire, I believe our administrators and elected officials run a very tight ship.
Question 4: The county commissioned a study to determine which services are mandated and which are not in preparation for a deeper budget cut. Do you believe the county must continue to reduce costs? If so, which non-mandated services would you cut or reduce? Under what circumstances would you support a tax increase?
As that study concluded, the County operates on a very lean basis. Beyond our control is the fact that the state's financial problems, significant reductions in previous reimbursement levels for mandated operations, statutory changes restricting the County's revenue stream and the general increase in the cost of living may necessitate further cuts and/or an increase in taxes. Inasmuch as countywide elected officials and the courts are also entitled to determine priorities, the evaluation of individual programs or services is not simply a Board decision and requires that we work together and with the elected officials to address these issues. I believe elected officials are stewards of the taxpayers' dollars and as such are obligated to not only keep expense low, but also make thoughtful and difficult decisions to make certain services reasonably expected by our constituents remain available.
Question 5: What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I believe the size of the Board (currently at 24 members) is too large and support an effort to decrease that number, not only as a cost saving, but to make County operation more efficient.
Personal insight questions:
What's the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Retirement. I loved my profession and found it difficult to call it a day. Hopefully I took advise I was once given that it's important to quit soon enough to be missed.
Who is your hero?
My heroes were my parents who taught my brother and me and our families that life is a journey important to the end and that being involved in our communities is a natural and important part of that journey.
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
The First. Without those essential freedoms the rest are meaningless.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
Respect your fellow man.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
Get back in the saddle.