Al Murphy: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Forest Preserve Board District 6
Office sought: DuPage Forest Preserve Commission
City: West Chicago
Occupation: Owner Murphy Ace Hardware
Previous offices held: DuPage County Forest Preserve Board member since 2014; and former Alderman, City of West Chicago
Q: 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?
A: I believe the Forest Preserve of DuPage County is vitally important for all future generations and the ecology of our society. While many beneficial projects have been completed and continue to be extremely important, there are a vast number of endeavors to continue the progress that I would like to see to completion.
I am honored and proud to have been a DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner for the last 7 years. There are many important past and present projects I have been fortunate to work on. There are also many more future projects that I am looking forward to being involved with in order to protect and support the Forest Preserves.
Q: If you are an incumbent, describe your two biggest contributions to the board. If you are a non-incumbent, describe two ways you would contribute to the board.
A: Working on the comprehensive long range plan for the district, as well as, the district as a whole.
With a sizable number of dedicated staff and over 2,000 volunteers that serve the district, there is a massive responsibility to oversee operations and programs, while maintaining a fiscal competence.
Q: What role should the forest preserve play in preserving historic buildings on its land?
A: We have a long-range master plan that calls for some of these building to be used as education sites for current and future generations. The main mission of the Forest Preserve is to preserve the land. All buildings are evaluated by staff to see if it fit into the master plan.
Q: How would you rate the job the commission is doing to develop existing forest preserves and make them accessible to residents? How would you approach things differently?
A: The Forest Preserve District is doing a great job but there is always room for improvement.
As a district, we need to do a better job of exploring possibilities for expanded access for all abilities and sensory gardens. We need to explore the possibilities for expanded access for dog parks and/or trails. Any new bond that get issued should be done with public input through referendum. We have done a lot of restoration, but I feel we need to do a better job of reforestation.
Q: What is the most important issue facing the forest preserves in your district and how should it be addressed?
A: Future land acquisitions is a vital issue in the district because available land is getting scare. Land acquisitions should be addressed through a referendum seeking voter approval for the sale of bonds.