Winfield Township trustee candidate: Voelz
All six Republican candidates running to fill the four open trustee positions on the Winfield Township board this election cycle attended a forum last week to answer questions about why voters should support them.
I’ve (Don Voelz) been a lifelong resident of Winfield Township. I was originally elected in 1988 to become a precinct committeeman with the Republican Party. After about eight years, my kids (were) getting a little bit older and I chose to go be with my family. A couple years after that I came back to being a committeeman, so I’ve been a committeeman close to over 20 years. I was also on the West Chicago Park District. I served three terms there. The last six years I was vice president. I was appointed in 2012 to fill a vacancy by Fred Dusza as a Winfield Township trustee and I was elected in 2013 as a trustee. I feel as though I know this area. I know these people around here, the residents … I look at it as not just one area, this area, West Chicago, Orangeville, Winfield, Aurora … I look at it as I did when I was in a district with the park district. This is a district; this is a township; this has all these towns, so I feel as though I offer everything to any resident … any town, village.
I do have to take offense to one thing that was said earlier. I’m a candidate for this township, which means we have all kinds of residents in this township – rich, poor … whatever. But growing up in this area, I take offense to a certain town being called poor with the citizens where I’m from. I take offense to that. I’m a candidate for the trustee and I represent everyone in this whole township, and I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with that statement.
Q: Have you been attending township board meetings, and what do you think the current issues are?
We have 12 meetings a year … I try to attend every meeting. I think if you look at my record, I think in probably the last five years or so I think I may have missed two, and I think that’s a pretty good record. Prior to the meetings and during the meeting, the heads of all departments will be given … we get reports on what we (will) be going over in the meeting. So we have the information out in front of us. So each department head – the highway commissioner, the assessor and the supervisor – will give us the report as to what’s going on inside the township … and for the most part, when I read these, and everything. It seems everything works pretty good. You have breakdowns (and) vehicles, but it all seems to work out
Q: Do you support township government in its current form? If not, how should it change?
I support it. I don’t really see the need to change because you have your elected officials, we hold primaries like these, people come out, people vote for who they want to see in office. I think it works fine. It doesn’t work fine when people want to start having their own way … when people get elected and they want to try to run the business as a business when they have no business doing it. I hope that just made sense.
Q: Do you or will you always vote the party line or would you break from the majority and vote against something?
Decisions are nonpartisan. Just because the six of us up here are running as Republicans for this position does not mean … I will vote on the issue important, not important, what is right for the people in this township who (are) going to vote for four of us for this position. You can’t have the politics deciding.
Q: Would you reduce or eliminate any services that the township currently provides?
This bus has been brought up (by) the last two candidates that were up here, too. I’m going to read something I did some looking up on. DuPage Ride: after becoming a rider you would have to contact a 1-800 number here. Right now it’s serving Naperville (City), Naperville Township, Lisle Township … city of Wheaton, Milton Township. Winfield is currently not part of this organization. If you look under Lisle Township, they are a subsidiary of DuPage Ride, and guess what, they are offered the same amount (of) money … it costs them the same amount as what we do … why would you want to take our residents in this township and throw them in that mess over there where our driver can get there in quicker time, better service. It doesn’t make sense why we would cut the bus. That’s just my opinion and that’s how I’m going with it. The facts are there.
Q: The Daily Herald newspaper stating many townships spending more on salaries for staff to administrate programs for the poor, than they are giving out to the poor. How much does this township spend on the staff and how much money is given to the poor annually?
We partner with Wayne Township, it’s called the Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family (Services), but I guess we have to change that to Wayne/Winfield Area Youth and Poor People, I guess, because I don’t know where this “poor” is coming up. I guess it’s just a bad choice of wording. That’s my opinion, I’m going to stay right with that.
We pay out $44,000 a year. We donate to the Wayne and Winfield families. I don’t call them poor…the less fortunate. And we also have the salary for Debbie which is about $68,800 and I don’t have a problem with it at all because she’s the only one in the office doing all that work. Some of these other townships … they have assistants that do this work. She does it all. So I don’t have a problem with it, and I really hope there (isn’t) another questions with the work “poor” in it. I really do.
Q: The DuPage County Election Commission estimated the cost of the primary to be $50,000 and would be borne by taxpayers. Did you vote to have a primary vs. a caucus?
I voted for a caucus for a couple reasons. I called the DuPage County Election Commission and I talked to a CPA guy over there after reading a memo he had sent to our county board member. The money wasn’t budgeted to have these primaries, which means, when I talked to him he said, “The money is there, they are obligated to pay for it.” So after serving the years that I did in a park district, I, in lay man’s terms, asked him, “So, you’re taking money from a budget that the county board has to pay on Nov. 22 to take money out of Peter to pay Paul to run the primaries?” and he told me yes. To me, primaries are nice and everything, but when you (have to) take money from one part of a budget to pay something else, somebody’s getting short. So I did vote for the caucus , and primaries are fine, too. Years ago, I thought we should go to a primary, but I was outvoted.
Q: Why is the township road district separate?
My understanding, same thing when I was elected, it’s always been there, and I’m under the assumption that that’s set up by the state. I don’t think us as a local government, here in a township … we didn’t do that. I think that’s coming from the state. I could be wrong. (But) I think that’s where that comes from.
Q: Do you believe in term limits for township elected officials?
I served on the park district for three terms, that was 18 years. And you know it seems that after the second term you start getting stagnant. So, I think at some point, I do believe there should be limits. What that number is I don’t know. Is it 20 years on the township board? Is it eight years? I think it’s up to the individual. Like I said, after that second term I began getting stagnant, and it was time for me to go. That was my decision. I believe in it.
Q: How long have you been active, specifically with the Winfield Township Board? Why run now?
Earlier I said I was appointed in 2012, so I’ve been there five, six years. Why not run? I look at it this way: there are people out here in the township, the residents that need a voice. And if somebody has something and they feel comfortable with me in that position in that office, and they know that they can come to me and talk to me, and I can find them solutions and to help them, why not run. And if they didn’t feel comfortable doing it then I wouldn’t run. I enjoy doing this; I enjoy helping people the in the whole township, not just one little area … but for everyone in this township. I would like to have your support on Feb. 28, and come out and vote for Don Voelz.