Mark Davoust: Candidate profile
Name: Mark J. Davoust
City: St. Charles
Office sought: Kane County Board, District 14
Family: Married, one son, four grandchildren
Occupation: President, Brasel Products, Inc.
Education: Naperville North High School; Waubonsee Community College; Western Illinois University; Aurora University
Civic involvement: Coaching youth sports, precinct committeeman, volunteer for recycling and forest preserve events; Professional associations: National Federation of Independent Businesses, Illinois Manufacturing Association, Chamber of Commerce, Kane County Bar Association Foundation, Forest Preserve Foundation.
Previous elected offices held: Kane County Board, District 14; Precinct committeeman
Incumbent? Yes, elected in 2004
Facebook: Mark Davoust, Citizens for Mark Davoust
Questions and Answers
1. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
I am running for reelection to this office because community matters and the connection between government and the people it serves is direct and personal at the county level. I take pride in where we live and enjoy contributing to making Kane County a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Being a good steward of people's hard-earned tax dollars and protecting open space for future generations are of utmost importance to me.
2. 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?
As president pro tem and chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, I led the effort to present the public with a referendum that allowed those voters to decide the direction we would take. The choice included the knowledge that by refinancing our debt at a strategic time, we were able to save taxpayers millions of dollars. The support was overwhelming. As a result, we have now protected over 22,000 acres of open space. This is a valuable, lasting protection against rising taxes.
As chairman of the Human Services Committee, I directed the overhaul of our county Ethics Ordinance which led to creating the position of Ethics Advisor. I led efforts to secure insurance coverage that saved millions of dollars while better protecting the 1300 employees serving Kane County. I helped to negotiate the launch of our Wellness Program, improving lives and saving money.
Currently, I am helping to lead the effort to provide the Kane County Coroner's Office with a long-needed, updated facility. This is being done as part of a multiuse building, making the project a better value for taxpayers while addressing future needs of the county.
3. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them. In particular in the suburbs, President Preckwinkle has set a goal of eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight. Do you agree with this approach? If so, how should the county go about it?
When we hear people in politics talk about budgets, it can be difficult to take them seriously. When I view Kane County's spending habits and sources of revenue, I do it through the lens of a small-business owner. We don't deal in campaign promises or slogans. We face realities. These include customer expectations, employees and their needs, utilities, insurance and more. You face these continuously and with limited resources. County government and its services depend on sound decisions and policy just as our company has done for more than 70 years. Perhaps most importantly, we will be faced with capital expense needs for our community. Plans that anticipate those needs in facilities, transportation, health, safety, and sustainable water supply are what's needed.
4. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
During my time on the Kane County Board, we have consistently worked to insure that our work is open, transparent, and available to the public. Quite often, our greatest challenge is to garner the attention of the community we serve. Improvements to lighting, seating, and sound in our meeting room have recently been made. Very recently, livestreaming has been approved to make the content of meetings more accessible. We routinely convene a committee of the whole meeting later in the day each month in order to try to allow attendance by more working people. Perhaps one of our best efforts has been the creation of an online presence beyond our website (which is very good), this is called Kane County Connects. Improvement is always the goal. The more we can connect with the public, the better informed they can be on the issues we face. An educated constituent is an asset to the county.
5. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
We have an IT Department in Kane County government that is second to none. Our director works tirelessly with all departments in order to keep all systems operating smoothly. We are always searching for efficiencies through automation. A few years ago -- ahead of most agencies -- we began work on a fiber optic network. This has allowed for much improvement throughout our systems countywide. There are efforts already being made to secure new election equipment for future use that will keep Kane County in the leadership position we are known for throughout Illinois.