Q&A with Bolingbrook mayoral candidates

The Bugle emailed the candidates for Bolingbrook mayor five questions; setting a 500-word limit on their answers. The following are their emailed responses in their entirety.

Incumbent Roger Claar (Bolingbrook First Party slate)

Why are you running for Mayor and what are your qualifications?

I’m running to continue to serve in the position that I love. I love this village and I am very proud of the growth and development during the past 30 years. I am particularly pleases that Crain’s Chicago Business in February, and Chicago Magazine in March, named Bolingbrook as one of the top ten suburbs people should buy a home in.

My qualifications include 37 years of experience as a commissioner, trustee and mayor; overseeing Bolingbrook’s growth from 33,000 to 76,000 people. This community was 21 years old when I got involved and there was literally no infrastructure to provide for growth and development.

In addition to being involved in Bolingbrook’s governess, I also serve in numerous leadership positions in various local, state and national mayor’s organizations. I have been overseeing over 300 employees and over $140 million budget for the last 30 years.

What is the single most important issue facing Bolingbrook today?

With the exception of some of the planned roadwork for the far west end, virtually all the infrastructure to support a population of 88,000 is completed. The remaining important issues are the redevelopment of the property around I-55 and Route 53 intersection and the annexation and zoning of the few remaining vacant parcels. Acquiring Illinois American is a close second.

What issue is not getting enough attention?

The completion of the Weber Road (widening and new bridge). This project initiated by Romeoville, Bolingbrook and the county continues to be delayed because of the inability of Springfield to adopt a budget. The continued delays are not only creating more traffic congestion, but is also costing millions of dollars in increased construction costs because of the delays. Area residents need to call our representatives in Springfield and turn up the heat to get this project underway.

What is your vision for the future and how, specifically, will you lead the village there?

My vision, supported by the Bolingbrook First Party, for the future of this very diverse and vibrant community is to continue the growth and development that has been underway in the past. That includes support for our schools (public and private), our diverse religious community and our housing stock and the continued growth in our commercial, business, and industrial base in the village.

My track record as mayor reflects that same plan and vision. If re-elected, I will continue to embrace the open, transparent government we have.

Challenger Jackie Traynere (Bolingbrook United slate)

Why are you running as a candidate for Mayor and what are your qualifications?

I am running for the mayoralty for one reason: because I’m deeply invested in the well being of my lifelong home—the Village of Bolingbrook. I see that our community’s values are not being represented in that office, and I plan to change that. My experiences speak to this: I worked for the American Federation of Government Employees Union for the last 22 years, 20 of which as a labor organizer, because I firmly believe everyone has a voice and a right to be represented in their own community. I am currently serving my third term on Will County Board, this is my ninth year on the Board. I’m also a small business owner, so I understand the struggles that small businesses face and know what it takes to successfully invest in and grow an economy predicated on their success.

What is the single most important issue facing Bolingbrook today?

The most pressing issue facing our community is the massive debt Bolingbrook has incurred from overspending. This is especially concerning because ethics inquiries by the media have revealed Roger Claar receives millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Village contractors. I have little confidence this gravy train will ever end and we will be left holding the bill. As Mayor of Bolingbrook, I’ll bring back transparency and accountability. I want to work for the people and represent everyone in our great town and put an end to special interests and investments schemes that don’t serve our community at large.

What issue is not getting enough attention?

The fiscal state of Bolingbrook has been the central focus of our campaign because it’s the most important issue not getting attention. Claar is a 30-year standing mayor who has saddled our town with incredible debt. Moody’s cited the debt figure at $316 million, but Village documents – which are more recent – peg that number closer to $360 million. If we don’t get Bolingbrook’s debt under control, we will have to pay the price in higher property taxes, and other taxpayer costs. Reports from the Chicago Tribune show that Roger has accepted around $2 million from Village contractors. These contractors were that same one who won approximately $300 million in contacts around Bolingbrook. That’s why I’m calling attention to Bolingbrook’s fiscal state, and running against the irresponsible spending and lack of transparency Roger has shown in his 30-year tenure.

What is your vision for the future and how, specifically, will you lead the village there?

Like our government, I’ve seen that our community is stronger for its diversity. I’m committed to ensuring everyone in our community is represented and respected.

I see that our community’s values are not being represented, and I plan to change that by continuing the openness and honesty I’ve shown at Will County Board member, as mayor.

Not only is my campaign a campaign against the lack of transparency and against the corruption shown by Mayor Claar, but I have always been an advocate for those that need it most. I believe the people of Bolingbrook are tired of the lack of representation and lack of transparency in our town, and want to strive for a more inclusive, and financially secure future.

 

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