Solutions …

Invest in a countywide public broadband Wi-Fi internet service:

The FCC’s recent ruling to repeal net neutrality rules now allows companies like Comcast and Verizon to “own” our internet and change the way we all access it. Keep in mind, the internet was created with our federal tax dollars.

The time has come for us to invest in a countywide, publicly funded Wi-Fi broadband service that would be owned by you, the taxpayer. This would be a public option for internet access so that each of you can decide if you want to access it.

You can stay with Comcast or you can join with more than 180 American communities and access a public broadband Wi-Fi service. In Chattanooga, TN, their publicly-funded city Internet is up to 30 times FASTER than what Comcast offers and each taxpayer who signs up pays between $58 and $70 per month for this super-fast speed!

This investment also seconds as an economic boon for our county, as having readily available super fast internet that every business in the county can utilize. Not to mention tens of thousands of citizens of Winnebago County saving an average of $100 per month from what they currently pay thanks to the much cheaper rates using the public Wi-Fi to spend at all those businesses. We are a demand economy, and when people have extra money in their pocket, they tend to spend it.

Public Banking:

I fully support the idea of a countywide public bank for Winnebago County in order to rid us of Wall Street influence.

Across our nation, municipal, county and state governments struggle year after year using the same old tools to balance their budgets: They raise taxes, take on more debt, cut vital services, and layoff or ask for employee givebacks. These choices subtract from economic health and prosperity.

History shows that a public bank would add to our economic success. An historical model is the nearly 100 year-old public Bank of North Dakota. North Dakota has been the only state in America whose finances have run in the black every single year since the state bank went into effect in 1920.

Annual returns of profits to the general fund as non-tax revenue can refinance existing state debt at near zero interest rates and reduce the debt service for which we are all taxed. Instead of expensive bond issues or more burdensome increases in both sales and property taxes, a public bank would be able to provide low-cost loans to our school districts, library or forest preserve boards, and local governments within our county for critically needed investments in our infrastructure and job-creation projects.

Best of all, we keep the interest paid on those loans right here in our own county bank at much lower costs, safe from the recklessness and greedy risk takers of the mega banks on Wall Street whose first priority is profit before all else.

Worker owned cooperatives:

I would like to see many worker owned businesses spout up in our county. Woodman’s being the most well known. I would also support a local regulation that would allow the employees of any business to have first rights to band together and purchase the very business they work for where the owner is looking to sell or shutdown. There are many examples of this working quite well across this nation. And I firmly believe having worker owned cooperatives as an essential part of our local economy would create more economic growth and stability than continuing doing things as we currently do them.

A livable wage:

I support raising the minimum wage to a livable wage. With $15 by 2022 and tying all future increases to national inflation levels, cost of living adjustments, and local economic growth within Winnebago County. People who have more money to spend increases demand, which creates more jobs, increases more small business competition, which keeps prices manageable. And that’s just the beginning.

I believe we all need to get out of the habit of looking down upon those who work in so-called “menial” and/or low skill jobs. All jobs are important regardless if someone flips burgers or not. I believe every person willing to work deserves a livable wage that allows that person to afford the bare minimum of life’s necessity: a roof over their head, water, and enough food so as not to go to bed hungry.

Further, if you would like to see government shrink, you must accept the fact that the higher the minimum wage goes there is less need for government assistance like welfare and food stamps. As such, welfare rolls go down the higher the minimum wage, resulting in a win/win for all.

Turn WCAS into a no-kill shelter and end puppy mills in Winnebago County

Let us make Winnebago County a state and national leader in animal welfare by making our county animal services a “no-kill” shelter and pass the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Act to help stop bad breeders and puppy mills.

Public campaign financing:

I fully support full public financing of campaigns and elections and making Election Day a countywide holiday. Let us also implement Instant Runoff Voting when and where there are ever three or more candidates running for any political office. Once elected, I will introduce legislation pertaining to each within my first 100 days in office.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (P.A.C.E) Financing:

I fully support the use of PACE financing to help businesses with upgrading into the 21st century without adding unnecessary burdens.

PACE is a voluntary energy conservation program that provides full financing for energy efficiency projects. Financing is arranged through local administrators who ensure all applications meet specific guidelines, who then coordinates with a county or municipality to sell bonds that would provide capital for such projects. The property owners can then have upwards of twenty five years to repay the financing through an assessment to be included on the businesses real estate tax bill.

From a property owner’s perspective, there would be many benefits of utilizing PACE financing because it offers up to 100 percent financing for all approved projects. Meaning the business owner would not have to worry about upfront capital or raise funds other ways. The energy savings from PACE financed projects have the potential to increase a businesses property value and future cash flow.

In addition, it provides access to energy efficient technology like solar and geo-thermal that may not have been otherwise available to the property owner. Counties and municipalities can also see benefits from PACE in terms of economic development, job creation, increased property values and the fact that there are zero net costs to the issuer or government body. In other words, absolutely no tax increase to the citizens where PACE financing was utilized.

Mattress Recycling:

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of mattresses being dumped into landfills. Well, there’s a solution to this problem that would be beneficial to all of us as taxpaying citizens and for our environment.  I have been in constant contact with our local recycling advocacy group, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful and a recycling company in Onalaska, WI that specializes in mattress/box spring recycling. For the good of us all in the northern Illinois region and our environment, we need to do this.