February 03, 2023

2017 election questionnaire: Diane Harris, candidate for Joliet City Council

Diane Harris

Joliet City Council candidate Diane Harris submitted this questionnaire, answering The Herald-News' questions about the 2017 Joliet City Council race.

Name: Diane M. Harris

Political party: Registered Republican

Age: 61 years old

Address: 424 Buell Avenue, Joliet, Il

Marital status: Divorced

Significant other:

Profession: Retired and also Independent Insurance Agent

Employer: Self Employed

Email address: info@dianeharrisforatlargecitycouncil.com

Website: www.dianeharrisforatlargecitycouncil.com

Children: Two adult children, Ivan and Alexandria and one young adult, David Dillon

Education: Associates in Liberal Arts, JJC and Bachelor of Science of Management, Professional Licensed, Kaplan University

Why are you running for Joliet City Council?

Of course, timing is an important factor as to why I’m running. It’s important to have the time to devote to the Council in order to get things done. Most importantly, as a citizen, it is my responsibility to get involve. As a community activist, I see the need to make changes, implement new rules and regulations, focus on innovativeness and provide fresh ideas for the betterment of our great city. As a taxpayer, I have a vested interested in the desire to make Joliet the best place to live work and play. As a retiree, the time is now. That’s my reason for running to serve as your at-Large Councilwoman.

What are your qualifications to serve as a council member?

Being over the age of 18, a resident of this city for over 2 years, have not been convicted of a felony and not being investigated for any fraud or bribery issues that would prevent me from serving on the City Council, indicates I am qualified. Of course, these are the basic qualifications, however, I currently serve on several boards and have made major decisions involving change, financial plans and furthering the mission of each organization. I have successfully completed the Open Meetings Act which will prove to be aligns with the council be an asset for serving and attending meetings. I have experience in complaint resolutions, managing political campaigns and hiring top administrators. Being in public service for over 30 years has prepared me for the responsibilities of serving. Being able to identify the needs and resolve complaints efficiently and effectively, is a key to getting the job done, and will be very beneficial when elected to serve as your Councilwoman.

What are the greatest challenges Joliet is facing in the coming years?

The major challenge is the water shortage, where we should get it and what neighboring city we will get if from. Those key factors will have a major impact on our supply and will affect our residents and business communities. Then moving forward, we need to focus on making sure the water is clean so that health and safety of our residents are not jeopardized. That’s why I support the Clean Water Act which will promote a healthy economy for all.

I support the move forward with the tax increment financing district surrounding the hospital. However, the challenge again, attracting business and promoting innovation and growth in downtown will still exist. This move may affect the growth of downtown because business looking to expand in Joliet might find the hospital district more desirable and profitable.That’s why I am committed to promoting business and economic development for the revitalization of downtown Joliet.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

I am committed to promoting a healthy economy and will work closely with the partners for safe water and focus on the Clean Water Act to make sure that our residents and business community can remain free from contaminations and health risks.

I support the safe roads project to ensure repairs to infrastructures and our road improvements are made. I’m the only candidate in the race with firsthand experience working with the U. S. Infrastructures One Call Program which will help promote a safe environment for our residents and business community. I am committed to fight for road improvements and infrastructure repairs which will create jobs here in Joliet.

Avoiding property tax increases without jeopardizing education or the public safety of our residents. I support promoting other methods of generating revenues other than placing the continuous burden on to the taxpayer. Other methods such as promoting renewable energy projects, supporting business with less regulations which will create more jobs, establishing new ordinances that will enhance the safety and reduce public nuances overall making our city a great place to live work and play. I am committed to reducing the burden of overtaxing our residents here in Joliet.

What steps should the city council take to rejuvenate downtown Joliet as an economic and community hub?

We must make sure our roads and infrastructures are stable and crime is at a level of comfort so business will want to come to Joliet. The need to have developers, investors, nonprofits, Chamber, etc., all should be in on moving the rejuvenation plan forward. Putting a survey in the local paper and have readers fill out and mail back indicating what types of business they would patronize downtown. This will make sure the residents have input in the process as well . Total inventory of the properties we have or will have. Seek businesses inside and outside of Joliet that are already established and see if they would be interested in expanding a second or third store downtown Joliet. Offer properties and various tax incentives and credits to do business here in our great city. The properties included should be mixed use and the overall project should be a public/private partnership; the main ingredients to be successful in rejuvenating. Of course, fresh leadership would be helpful to see the innovation and growth in the dream of vitalizing downtown. This cannot be done overnight, but as I mention, now is the right time which is why I am running to be your Councilwoman.

How can the city council accommodate the growth of the transportation and warehouse industries in Joliet while maintaining a high quality of life for all residents?

Again, we must make sure our roads and infrastructures are stable and have a safe and reliable passage in and out for delivery of goods and for transportation to and from. Also, develop fair public policy that will work for the safety and welfare of our residents. We must continue to fight for living wages for all workers which will create a higher quality of life for all residents throughout the city. Having develop professional relationships with Legislators and leaders of organizations will help move forward the agenda of maintaining a high quality of life for all residents.

How involved should the city council be in the management and funding of the Rialto Square Theatre?

I’m hopeful the new board will meet their goals and the city could be relieved of their responsibility to continue funding; especially if it’s not in the budget. In the future, once Joliet sees growth in downtown, then, maybe, the amount allocated to the Rialto can be renegotiated again if need be. The Rialto should also be transparent in their financial responsibilities. When the city voted to fund the Rialto, my support went with the city’s proposal to take over the property. The stability would attract businesses, create jobs and generate revenues for downtown. The most important aspect is that the Jewel would still remain. That’s why I support the city staying within their budget but also providing an option that will be a win for all.