Cindy Cronin Cahill: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 1
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant, Cahill & Jensen CPAs, LLC
Previous offices held: Elmhurst City Treasurer, elected; Illinois Liquor Control Commission, appointed
Q: 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.
A: As a professional woman CPA and a trusted adviser to my clients, I understand the importance of balancing the budget. With fiscal restraint, we can provide excellent county services while holding the line on taxes. Families are struggling with skyrocketing inflation, rising gas prices and instability in the marketplace. As a mother raising a family of 5 children, I often have to prioritize spending to balance our budget with two working parents. The cost of government services has increased too.
Financial acumen and a commitment to fiduciary responsibility should be the hallmarks of a member. Future threats that need to be addressed are the increase in criminal activity and the opioid crisis. The SAFE-T Act increases mandates without related funding and challenges law enforcement, making it easier for violent offenders to get back on the street. We must ensure that the sheriff and the state's attorney have sufficient resources to keep our families, neighborhoods and businesses safe.
Q: Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?
A: Those in our county who are the most vulnerable are in the greatest need: the hungry, the homeless, those suffering addiction, and mental health issues. The pandemic and economic uncertainty has strained social services and health care providers. The county has made great strides in making it easier for social service agencies to work together, combining resources and offering expanded care and services. It is also wonderful that we now have a permanent PADS shelter.
But we need to do more. We need to allocate resources and partner with the private sector, health care providers, academia and local communities to address these issues with the gravity and the urgency they deserve. No one in DuPage County should be hungry or homeless.
Q: Should the county board continue to start its regular board meetings with an invocation? Please say why or why not.
A: Yes, I believe the county board should continue to commence the regular board meetings with an invocation from different faiths, religions and beliefs. It is a time of reflection and silence before a meeting. We have to calm ourselves before the meeting and recognize that we are all human and are doing our best job, and using our best judgment to serve the citizens of DuPage.
Q: Does there need to be more bipartisanship and cooperation on the county board? If yes, what would you do to help make that happen?
A: Yes, there needs to be more bipartisanship and cooperation on the county board. Members need to work together in a collaborative manner to find concrete solutions to the pressing issues facing the county. Despite having differing views of how to serve the county, the objective of these actions and initiatives should be the same -- to work in the best interest of our citizens. Members are executives and leaders charged with a job to serve the people of DuPage. Politics should be left at the door.
I would plan to have small group lunches and gatherings in order to "break bread" together and get to know each other outside of the board room. We need to relate to each other as mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends -- to find common ground, to bond. Mutual respect will bring about compromise and wise policy.
Q: If your political party has control of the county board after the November election, how would that benefit DuPage residents?
A: If I am elected, I will bring my private sector business and financial experience to the county board. I am the only woman on the ballot that would represent District 1 and I can relate to the residents as I have worked full time along with my husband raising 5 children. I am running because I want to give back to the community I love so well. I believe my expertise as a CPA who has audited governmental agencies, a DuPage County business owner who prepares income taxes for corporations and businesses and advises clients on tax and accounting issues, and a wife and mom of 5 children would benefit the DuPage residents. I will be a voice for my community. The priorities of public safety and fully funding the Sherriff and State's Attorney's Offices is shared by all those running in my party as the safety of our children, neighborhoods, and businesses is paramount.
Q: The COVID pandemic put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?
A: The county must continue and expand its leadership role. The county board allocated a portion ($10.6 million) of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds received by the federal government to the DuPage County Foundation. The county partnered with the foundation to utilize their knowledge and expertise to evaluate grant requests and best deliver health and human services. The initiative aims to provide multiyear funding. The hope is that this approach fosters innovative solutions to some of our most pressing social service issues. The goal is to provide assistance that lifts people out of need and provides them with the tools and a pathway to self-sufficiency and stability. The county should expand this model, partner with private foundations and academia, businesses, and communities to fully explore how best to provide needed health and human services and achieve positive outcomes that change lives.
Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
A: The single most important issue impacting District 1 is the uncertain economic climate. We have crippling inflation, rising gas prices, and supply chain issues. Some parents are unable to purchase school supplies. There was a shortage of baby formula affecting so many families. The county cannot add to that struggle by raising property taxes.
We need to continue to attract investments and businesses that create high-quality sustainable jobs. A skilled workforce is key to attracting employers. Working collaboratively with our businesses, chambers, labor unions and schools we will make sure we are training for the jobs of the future. The more opportunities we offer here, the more we can keep families together. We need to continue to have a friendly business environment so more companies move to DuPage. Better jobs and stable taxes will grow our economic base. As businesses come to DuPage County, they produce more sales tax revenue which decreases the burden on residential property taxes.