A Great Place To Live
The past year has certainly taught us a lot about the value of home. Not just the houses turned office space, classroom, and sanctuary we’ve been stuck in for months on end, but the real sense of home – filled with all the small moments with family, and friends, and neighbors and the basic human connections and little local places that make our lives so rich. And, even though we’ve been cut-off and distanced from each other in ways none of us could have imagined twelve months ago, we’ve each managed to try and find new ways to remake and strengthen those connections in meaningful ways.
My wife Rose and I first chose to make our home in Downers Grove because we were so struck by the warm hometown feeling, beautiful neighborhoods, and the strong shared sense of community.
Now years later raising our two little girls, Evie and Hannah, there’s no place else we would rather be. I have dedicated myself to giving back to this town that has given my family so much. You’re giving me the opportunity to serve on the Village Council has allowed me to do just that.
What We've Done
With your help and support, I have led the council to:
- Return full funding to Meals on Wheels – a critical program many more seniors depend on today not just for healthful hot meals, but regular wellness checks and basic personal contact to break the isolation many face due to the pandemic
- Invested millions in stormwater infrastructure and strengthened regulations to improve flooding problems for thousands of residents across the village
- Organized our neighboring municipalities to re-start the Peer Jury program ended by Downers Grove Township to help keep first-time non-violent juvenile offenders out of the regular criminal justice system while still having them account for their actions
- Improved our historic preservation program to help owners actively protect and affordably restore more properties in order to preserve the unique character of one of the oldest towns in DuPage County
- Revised our zoning code and comprehensive plan to protect the hometown feel of Downtown Downers Grove and encourage responsible redevelopment that maintains and enhances our historic town center. This one action has driven the village to preserve the core of the Downtown area while preventing large-scale development from creeping into the surrounding residential neighborhoods
- Help expand our sales tax base and reduce the village’s dependence on property taxes by opening the town to investment by new reputable marijuana related businesses
What We'll Do
The pandemic has challenged every family and every business in Downers Grove. It has also predictably blown-up our village budget. Despite this, I have worked to make sure that no neighborhood in town has lost any services. In the challenging years ahead, I want to:
- Hire a social worker to help residents, seniors, and homeowners access existing federal, state, and county programs that they qualify for and may not even know exist; to help simplify navigating often complex processes to bring them benefits they deserve
- Continue and expand mandatory diversity and inclusion training for all village staff in every department, invite public input to help focus future training programs on issues identified and promoted by residents
- Fully-fund body-cams for the Downers Grove Police, access existing federal and state resources to maintain the program, develop appropriate policy and training for our officers, and explore additional ways to strengthen police-community relations
- Not let-up on investing in critical village infrastructure to improve streets; build and maintain new sidewalks; improve and enhance energy efficient lighting; and make every neighborhood safer, more walkable, and more bike friendly for residents and students on school routes
- Now that you’ve helped me become the greatest stormwater advocate on the council, using that knowledge and experience to help create a new comprehensive long-term plan that will force us to build and fund integrated stormwater systems to a set timeline to control runoff into streets, yards, and homes in EVERY neighborhood; create even stronger enforcement for new development; and better coordinate with other government units that impact the village and surrounding municipalities to finally solve this problem for everyone
- Stop talking and actually tackle the village’s never-ending facilities problems. The police building has not physically been able to meet the needs of a modern law enforcement unit for years and the other village offices are housed in an over 110-year-old factory that was converted for “temporary” use more than half a century ago. Co-locating different units of government in an innovative environmentally and fiscally responsible new building will save taxpayer money, end our spiraling maintenance costs, and give us a village center we can be proud of
- Partner with the Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Management Corporation along with a new task force of residents and a broad coalition of businesses from across Downers Grove to find help and resources for local establishments that will be struggling with the effects of the pandemic for years. Closely coordinate with our own county, state, and federal officials to ensure we secure every form of aid and support available for the small family places that are the heart of our community