September 26, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Election Spotlight: St. Joseph Village Board

ART RAPP
REPUBLICAN
What made you run for election or re-election?
I am running for re-election for the same reasons I did since I was first on the city council. One has to have a commitment to civic duty and to try to give back to their community.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing the village is currently?
Most people don’t realize that the Village of Saint Joseph only receives about 6% of the homeowner’s property tax dollars. Approximately 60% goes to local schools, Parkland college gets about 10% and other taxing bodies, county, fire and etc., split the remaining 24%.

Maintaining while always trying to improve various aspects within the village is a constant balancing act to be able to operate within our means. I always try to approach village spending as if it were mine and try to be a fiduciary for my fellow citizens.

What are your goals for the village for the next four years?
I can’t say that I have one specific goal as the village has a lot of items on its plate for this year and the future. In summary, oversight, guidance and completion in regard to the above would be my overall goals.

What do you think is the role of a board member?
Every board member brings something to the table. Albeit their field of expertise, past experience, judgement and all of us share a commitment to represent the best interests of the residents of Saint Joseph.

What would you like the public to know about you?
I have and will be a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars and continue being a fiduciary for my fellow citizens in Saint Joseph.
If you’re looking for social justice warrior, I’m NOT it!
I ask for your support and to continue represent the citizens as a Saint Joseph
Village trustee.

DAN DAVIS
REPUBLICAN


What made you run for re-election?

Gaining four years of experience as an incumbent, I have decided to run for reelection as Village Trustee to represent the citizens of Saint Joseph with integrity and reliance.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing the village is currently?

There are numerous challenges that continue to present themselves to our Village and its Board of Trustees, ranging from simple issues and available resolutions to complex projects and extensive solutions.

What are your goals for the village for the next four years?

To further improve my skillsets through Municipality Management Education and Training. Thus providing elevated service to the Citizens that have entrusted me with this privileged responsibility.

What do you think is the role of a board member?

As a dedicated Village Trustee, I embrace the opportunity to contribute, working as a diverse group of individuals, collaborating our efforts, drawing upon one another’s strengths to effectively address the challenges brought to the Board.

What would you like the public to know about you?
After moving to Saint Joseph over thirty years ago, raising my two children here, and completing a career at the University of Illinois.

I felt compelled to ‘give back’ to our community. Initially, serving as a trained Firefighter and First Responder Medic at SJSFPD, in addition as an appointed Village Commissioner, onto becoming an elected Village Trustee. 

Thank you, to everyone who has and will continue to support my efforts.

JIM WAGNER
REPUBLICAN

What made you run for election or re-election? I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our community. It’s an honor to represent our residents in the past and going forward.  I have met many new people that I have worked with now on a regular basis. This gives me a way to give back to a community that has blessed our family in many ways. What a great Village to live in.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing the village is currently? One challenge always keeping the Village within budget guidelines. This can be difficult for us when we only receive 6% of the property taxes with the large projects that face us. I am a firm believer that we need to maintain a healthy balanced budget to accomplish these projects. We are currently working through some big infrastructure plans that have been started not finalized that I would like to see through. This would help our community have steady growth.

    What are your goals for the village for the next four years? I would like to continue working through some of our infrastructure plans and see them through. One of the projects that you will be seeing hopefully later this year is a new sewer plant. This is one of our challenges because our plant is aging and at full capacity. The new plant should accommodate 1000 more home or better. This is much needed to see our growth plans through. We have a good board now to see these projects through. A big goal for me is to make sure I am here for the Village residents. I have an open-door policy and listen to my constituents. This is a very important part I feel as my role as a Village leader. Some of the issues we have worked on are the drainage issues and new sewer plant as mentioned. Although what we have put in place has been very successful we have a long road ahead of us.

      What do you think is the role of a board member? A good board member is a good listener, even if my hands are tied I try my very best to work through any issues or ideas that the residents bring to the table. Our board is well diverse with experience. All of our members bring different skill sets and ideas that make us well-rounded. We all have one common goal and it’s to do what’s best for the Village. With my 30 years of experience with brick-and-mortar stores, it helps to have this when we are working with projects that may affect businesses that others may not think of. Also, many business owners in our town discuss any challenges or opportunities that may help grow our businesses. I enjoy working with them and listen to the challenges and opportunities they may have in the future. I enjoy sharing ideas of my past and learn from others on ideas they may have.

      What would you like the public to know about you? I feel this is a very important role for all of us that serve. All of our residents work very hard to have their slice of heaven in Saint Joe. I feel every time we spend tax dollars we need to make sure it is spent wisely. I have enjoyed working with the community for the last 5 years as a board member and 16 years as a business owner. We are very blessed to be a part of this community as we move forward. We moved to Saint Joe in 2002 and never looked back. This town has so much to offer,  our community works together and have seen this many times over the years. This is a solid community to raise our children. This community sets the bar for other communities to follow.

      KELLY SKINNER
      DEMOCRAT

      Tell us about yourself:

      My name is Kelly Miller Skinner. I have lived in St. Joe for 15 years with my husband, Shawn Skinner. I have a background in non-profit association management, marketing and communications, and running a business. I work part-time as the operations manager for Homegrown farm-to-table restaurant and full-time as manager of Religious Exploration & Engagement at the UU Church in Urbana. I helped organize SJOnward in 2017 to encourage learning, action, and participation in local, state, and national government, especially around diversity, inclusion, and equity, and have made connections with similar groups in communities surrounding the CU area. I have five kids who have all gone through the Saint Joseph school system and a smiley pitbull.

      Why did you decide to run for the Village of St. Joseph Board?

      We need more diverse representation in our town government to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard and considered as we shape the future of the St. Joseph community. This includes involving people who have moved to St. Joseph in addition to those who grew up there and sharing leadership with people who have varying political and social perspectives. When I found out there hadn’t been a Democratic nominee on the Village Board in more than 15 years, I took the initiative to learn how to host a caucus, facilitate candidate recruitment, and coordinate getting on the ballot.

      What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the village currently?

      For us to thrive as a community, we need to address the perception that St. Joseph is only welcoming and accepting of certain types of people. 

      What are your goals for the village for the next four years?

      As a trustee, I want to work to develop and put in action a strategic growth plan in cooperation with community stakeholders, make wise spending decisions taking into account current and future needs, and maintain a balanced decision-making process with lots of input. I believe that we’re all in this together, united by our desire to live in a great town. I am committed to working collaboratively to find solutions that address the needs of our entire community while preserving those things that make St. Joseph special.

      What do you believe is the role of a board member?

      Democracy, especially at the local level, is all about the balance of different perspectives. The more diverse perspectives are included, the more balanced and representative our village governance can be. As a board member, it is important to understand the different issues that come up, ask good questions, and provide input/feedback to ensure that different points of view are represented in decision-making. I also hope that being active and engaged as a board member will inspire others to get more involved!

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