Joseph Janicki: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 19
Office sought: Lake County Board District 19
City: Lake Zurich
Occupation: Owner of Brightway Insurance, The Janicki Agency
Previous offices held: District 95 Educational Foundation board trustee; Rotary Club of Lake Zurich president elect; Lake Zurich Lions Club board member.
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?
A: During my previous career, I worked as a management consultant in the automotive industry. My focus was on maximizing efficiency and productivity for my clients and, in turn, increasing their profitability. This included performing in-depth business assessments, process development, training, as well as implementation of new accounting strategies. During my time in business, I have learned that if you cannot find ways to work together, you will never make progress or resolve any issues. As much as I love this community and all it has to offer it's costing more to put food on our tables, and gas in the car for families including mine. I am running for this office because we need to stop the political fighting and finger pointing and start working together on real issues that affect all of us. I believe we need to run Lake County like a business and promote economic development.
Q: 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?
A: My main priority is to find ways to operate Lake County more efficiently and save the tax payers money. As a business owner, I have experience streamlining processes and adhering to prudent budgeting. Reducing waste and redundancy would give us an opportunity to do things like eliminate the gas tax which was recently implemented. I am focused on doing everything I can to make Lake County more business friendly. Entrepreneurs are the foundation of our community. They provide jobs and they invest in the community both personally and financially. They also bring in sales tax revenue which offsets the need for the county to raise their property taxes.
Q: Given the recent history of flat tax levies, do you think the county/forest preserve have done good jobs of budgeting or do you see specific area that can be improved?
A: I appreciate the forest preserve's prudent use of their budget, and I would continue that directive. Putting on my business owner hat, I would say my philosophy is that we should always focus on continuous improvement. My first order of business would be to sit down with all the department heads at Lake County to assess their needs to find out where they need help and where we can work together to improve what we are doing.
Q: Would you support putting a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide if they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails and upgrade forest preserves?
A: The purpose of a referendum is to gauge the opinion of the voters. If voters decide they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails and upgrade forest preserves, then it is my job to be the voice of those voters in my district and support their wishes. This answer may sound surprising because most people think of elected officials as people who believe what they believe and only vote accordingly, but at the end of the day, I am elected to represent everyone who lives in my district not just myself and my beliefs.
Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
A: My district is an incredible place to live, we have great schools, great restaurants and entertainment, amazing neighbors and community organizations. This is truly a great place to live, but the cost to do that is ever increasing, whether it be at the pump or in the grocery store, the cost of living for Lake County residents is skyrocketing. We need to do everything we can to find ways make Lake County more affordable for all those who live here. It also has become commonplace for some individuals to draw a line in the sand and refuse work with or listen to others to find solutions and that needs to stop. Placing people into a box and deciding who they are and what they believe without making the effort to sit down and discuss the issues is counterproductive and does not move us forward. We have more in common than what makes us different and it's important for us to remember that when we are representing the people in our district.
Q: Lake County officials want public feedback on how to spend portions of some $135 million in leftover federal pandemic funding. What are your thoughts on how the money ought to be spent?
A: According to an article published by the Lake County News-Sun, the board met to discuss the input from residents from an online questionnaire and the results showed that the residents ranked the areas they wanted to see the money spent were public health, then household assistance and third was infrastructure and economic and business investments. I also truly believe there needs to be a focus on mental health programs and accessibility for those in need. We all know there is an issue with gun violence in our communities, with mental health at the center of much of it. Directing some of these funds to support programs to help people in need and prevent these tragedies from happening should be a top priority.