Lara Sanoica: Candidate profile
Name: Lara Sanoica
City: Rolling Meadows
Office sought: Alderman -- Ward 7
Age (on election day): 27
Family: Oldest sister in a family of four
Occupation: Financial Investigator
Education: Cum Laude in Global Studies and Spanish Linguistics (BA) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Alumnus of St. Colette School and William Fremd High School
Civic involvement: Rolling Meadows Environmental Committee
Previous elected offices held: None.
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?: N/A
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
From my own experiences and the experiences of my neighbors in Ward 7, Rolling Meadows is heavily affected by improper storm water retention. I joined the Rolling Meadows Environmental Committee to voice these concerns and incorporate storm water infrastructure in development plans, but these issues need an advocate on City Council to move forward. Protecting our homes from the elements is a fundamental concern to maintain affordable, quality housing and attract new business. In addition to these development issues, many of my neighbors expressed a desire for Rolling Meadows to be more inclusive of diversity. We feel that while many residents are welcoming and value different backgrounds, City Council does not reflect the diversity of our community. As Alderman, I fully intend to communicate the issues we are facing with residents, in both English and Spanish, and solicit their feedback. I want all residents to know that they are heard and their participation is necessary for Rolling Meadows to succeed.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I am hardworking, analytical and passionate, which are three essential qualities to being an effective alderman. Most importantly, I continuously engage with my community and strive to make City Council an accessible resource to residents. I grew up in Rolling Meadows. It's my home and I want to see this city thrive.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your city council.
My leadership style is collaborative, goal-oriented, and optimistic. City Council is tasked with making decisions that will positively impact our future and keep Rolling Meadows current and competitive. Those decisions often require members to vote "yes" on public matters, while "no" votes can kill innovative municipal services. I want to establish clear goals with residents, staff, and other City Council members so that new ordinances, policies and contracts are aligned with residents' needs in the first place. With specific goals front and center, policies are easier to approve and implement.
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people want?
I think there is a lot that Rolling Meadows does well regarding its budget and budgetary planning process. However, the procurement process needs improvement. In the past, the bidding process has had bidders that were more than 15% off from one another, which means that contractors were either missing important information or they were misunderstanding the Request for Proposal process. More than anything, I think that Rolling Meadows has an interest in accurately communicating the procurement process and any major changes that occur during that process to stakeholders.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I respect Rolling Meadows' efforts to increase community engagement and sense of camaraderie. The success of the Community Events Foundation is a great example of this dedication. To further community engagement, I believe the city should increase its municipal outreach planning to include non-English and limited-English speaking residents, which constitute about a third of our city's population. Three immediate actions that could increase engagement from our multilingual residents are (1) to meet and personally invite community leaders and property owners to public forums, (2) explain, in residents' preferred language, the purpose and procedures of formal public meetings, and (3) provide interpretation resources to participate in municipal meetings and forums or to answer questions regarding these matters. Many of our residents speak English in addition to their native language, but there may be a preference for their native language when discussing technical terminology like zoning ordinances. Realistically, many English speakers may also appreciate additional resources to understand municipal procedures, which is why community outreach and engagement should continue for all residents. The inclusion of multilingual outreach should be in conjunction with the City's current plans to increase participation.