Ted Myhre who is running for Champaign County Executive took the time to answer some questions for us.
What motivated you to run?
I saw a great need for fiscally-conservative leadership at the county level and my skills fit the position. When our community heritage organization needed to be reorganized, I became the Executive Director. When I saw a need for water drainage, I ran for Trustee. When our village needed clean water and the village needed to be cleaned up, I ran for Village President. There is something innate to my nature that when there is a problem, I want to jump in to develop and act on a solution. I like to get stuff done!
What has been the most challenging part?
I really enjoy the parades and meeting people. Responding to my opponent’s negativity and misinformation has been the least enjoyable part. I like to take time to think through and create ideal solutions to problems. Responding to commentary on the fly in debates has been a skill that I’ve developed.
What sets you apart from the other candidate?
I have a broad set of business and leadership skills developed through years of experience. Not only do I know how to lead and bring people together but I have the business analyst, technology, and public relations skills to advance our county into the future.
What changes would you like to see made to the office?
Since the office of County Executive is still so new, there are a lot of operational tasks to iron out. The current County Executive has been in a court case with the county board to figure out these kinds of details. I would like to set the expectations and interaction rules early so we can move forward without distractions.
County offices have become very partisan in the last few years. How would you work to heal that divide?
Contrary to my opponent’s mythical outlook, the county board is so partisan that it is nearly dysfunctional. Currently the board members are in a contentious us vs them battle. We need to refocus on providing services based on the needs and will of the citizens. That way it will be all of us unified against the problems instead of all the bickering, mocking, and in-fighting. Having commonly-accepted ground rules and a common enemy (problems) will bring us together toward solutions.
What do you think the role of county executive is?
The county executive (CE) conducts the business of the county as a mayor would do for a city. The CE is the administrator of the county offices (technology, maintenance, etc.) The CE promotes the county to intergovernmental agencies and commercial entities thereby increasing economic development. The CE manages the 180 million dollar budget through its development and approval process. The CE facilitates the monthly “Meeting of the Whole” County Board meeting. The CE appoints members to vacant seats on district boards ( water drainage, sewage, fire, etc.)
What is the most important thing people should know about you?
I’ve held leadership positions and had to make important decisions under pressure as a soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division, as a firefighter, an EMT, a High School Football Coach, and as a Village President. I have honed my business skills and personal interactions as an Information Technologist, a Business Analyst, a Teacher, a Business Executive, and a Public Administrator. Basically, I enjoy solving complex problems and successfully getting stuff done.
Can you tell me a little bit about your family?
I grew up with the silhouette of the Assembly Hall over the top of the cornfields out of the backdoor on my parent’s farmhouse. After going to college, military, and getting married, we returned to Champaign County to raise our four adopted kids. I could spend pages telling you stories about growing up, working, and living in the county that I love, Champaign County. I can’t wait to make it better for everyone.