Michael Clark, Whiteside County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Election 2024
Whiteside County Board candidate Michael Clark

Full Name: Michael Clark

What office are you seeking? Whiteside County Board Member District 1

What offices, if any, have you previously held? None

City: Sterling

Occupation: Mortgage Loan Officer

Education: Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management

Campaign Website: N/A

One of the biggest local issues curtailing economic development and growth is available affordable housing. The 2022 Census showed Lee and Whiteside both with more than 90% occupancy of existing residences. What is the role of the county to ensure there is available housing as it works to attract new businesses to the region?

The county board needs to ensure housing options are safe and stable. It is vital to provide a climate where options are available in order to meet the needs of the residents of Whiteside County. Continual investments made in affordable housing are vital to a healthy and prosperous community.

Many villages and municipalities in Lee and Whiteside have their own ambulance services, which are often strapped for cash to maintain operations. In addition, there are critical shortages of qualified EMTs and firefighters. What role should county government play in resolving these associated problems?

It is no secret to anyone that quality Health Care is a critical element in every community. County government needs ensure vital funds are available to provide excellent health care. It is important to be fiscally sound in order to accomplish this goal. County government must continue to play a role in making Whiteside County an attractive place for health care professionals to live and work. This is accomplished by collaborating with other several other community organizations.

Is it time to encourage privatizing ambulance services, consolidate services and provide them at county level, or augment state funding with county funds to existing units?

Saving money is a challenge all organizations struggle with. Mergers and consolidations are always an option to consider. There are always fixed and variable costs that go into operating any business. Whether a service uses 5 ambulance or 10, there are a variety of fixed costs that factor in. An organization can spread these fixed costs over an entire fleet of ambulances. It also gives a business economies of scale when purchasing items. This allows manufacturers to pass on the savings to the customer.

Northern Illinois counties are woefully behind when it comes to broadband and modern communications. What role does the county government have in equipping the region to meet the communication needs of the future?

Broadband and modern communications are vitally important for any community that wants to flourish. The development of broadband and communication plans should involve the participation of all relevant stake holders, both public and private. When accomplishing any goal in our life, it is important to have a specific plan of action. Once your plan is in place, you must implement the plan. Then you must track the progress of your plan to make sure it is working to its full capability.

Northern Illinois is seen as having a great deal of potential in developing/expanding green energy in the form of solar and wind. How can the county government play a role in expanding this? At the same time, growers and property owners often express the need to preserve land for crops. Is there a balance to be struck? What are possible solutions?

There certainly is a balance to be struck on this particular subject. The farmers of this earth feed the residents of this earth. I believe it is important to look at all options of energy. We also need to make sure that we are performing our due diligence with regards to the energy sources that we use. The possible solutions always lie in the research of what is the best sources for all involved.

Should counties do more to expand access to county government?

Yes they should. It is extremely important that the information of a county government is accessible to all of its citizens. A county government should be very transparent with its policies, procedures and decisions. County Board Members work for the citizens of that particular county. The citizens are and should be who a government representative answers to. It is important that the citizens are heard at the county board meetings as well.

Should video of committees and board meetings be continued/expanded?

Yes they should be continued and expanded. Transparency is very important to the citizens of this country. They should be aware of the decisions that government is making on behalf of them.

Should the county website be updated?

The county website is well done. However, websites always need to evolve and change with the ever increasing technology of our world.

Should board members be required to have email connections?

Yes they should. If you want to represent the citizens of a particular county, you should be available to hear the questions and concerns they have. Board members are elected to serve the citizens.

What technology upgrades and resource allocation is required to make it happen?

Stronger broadband options are certainly always needed. Just like any business, government entities need to keep up with progress and technology.

What challenges is the region facing in terms of attracting business and tourism?

Small towns and rural communities throughout the country are facing challenges in attracting business and tourism. Our area has many organizations already working together to attract business and tourism. This is something that must continue. Declining population due to higher state taxes and younger residents seeking employment opportunity are always a challenge for rural areas. It is important to have plans and policies in place to continue for the goal of growth.

What tools and services do northern Illinois communities have that can be better applied to this effort?

In our immediate area, we have several organizations in the private and public sectors who are resources for information and collaboration. We have many citizens who want what is best for the place we reside and they continue to give their time and talent. We need to be fiscally sound to make sure the citizens dollars are being used carefully and properly. Waste of the taxpayers hard earned dollars is unacceptable.

What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?

I believe that it is very important. As long as it isn’t invading a citizen’s privacy rights or national security, transparency at all government levels is vital and needed.

Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.

My plan would be to follow the laws already in place by The Open Government Directive. This plan includes transparency, participation, collaboration, flagship initiative and public involvement. Since all county board members works for the citizens, they need to be aware of what the board members they have elected are doing.

What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?

To make the business climate attractive for potential business partners. Businesses want to succeed and be prosperous. We have to make sure that everything is in place for them to succeed. Throughout my career in sales, marketing and banking, I have talked to numerous business owners for several years. Illinois isn’t tax friendly to businesses of this state. Businesses are going to locate in areas that allow them the most success financially.

Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses?


Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?


It appears inflation — in a way that hasn’t been experienced in a long time — is going to be an issue that could affect all local governments for the foreseeable future. What is the role of the county board as rising prices put a pinch on existing revenues?

It should always be the roll of county government to be fiscally sound with the money entrusted to use by the citizens. Government entities should never waste or spend resources recklessly. It is important to budget your funds appropriately and not overspend.

Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?

Yes - we do have a local crime problem. Of course, this has become a nationwide problem. We need to support the police with the resources they need to do this very difficult job. Crimes should have consequences. We are taught from a very early age that there are consequences for your actions.

What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?

It is my belief that for projects with regards to repairs for roads and bridges, a government entity should do an analysis study first. Then start with the projects that are most needed and work your way through the list.

Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?

I do support decreasing local property taxes. Illinois continues to lose residents at an alarming rate. Roughly 122,460 citizens left Illinois from April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. The citizens are leaving for more tax friendly states such as Florida, Tennessee and South Dakota. People are going to migrate to areas that allow them to keep more of their hard earned dollars. High taxes provide a financial burden and struggle for many of our friends and neighbors. You make up the difference by being fiscally sound with your budget. A government entity should not carelessly spend the taxpayers money any more than you would spend recklessly with your household income or your company’s income.

Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?

I do support stronger county government ethics laws. I believe that the government entities should conduct the public’s business in a manner that preserves the public’s trust in government. All laws and ethics should be followed.

Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, especially as it has a runway that can handle commercial traffic?

I would certainly like to see the possibility of more utilization at the airport including commercial traffic explored. It is a wonderful asset for our area.

Are there other investments to be made at the airport?

If airport growth justified more investments, then it would a step to take.

Is it a matter of promotion?

Having a background in marketing, I do know how important it is for any business to promote themselves. You have to be always marketing your brand.

How can the airport be an economic boon?

Increased usage from the general public and commercial businesses would be a positive step in that direction for any airport. The more people and companies exposed to the benefits of the Whiteside County Airport will always help with growth.

Whiteside County set aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified projects. How should that money be spent and why?

ARPA funds should be spent what they are set aside for which includes infrastructure, technology, water, sewer and broadband to name a few projects.