Robert Hendrick, Will County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Will County Board, District 2 candidate Robert Hendrick

Will County Board, District 2 candidate Robert Hendrick answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the Will County Board primary election.

Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.

Full Name: Robert Hendrick

What office are you seeking? Will County Board - District 2

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Board President for 8 years at Toluca Village (a local California board); unopposed candidate for Precinct 27 committeeman

City: I currently live in Frankfort and grew up in Manhattan

Occupation: Business Development; Business Owner

Education: Graduate of Lincoln-Way East and Central school. I went on to pursue my associate’s degree at Joliet Junior College and bachelor’s degree the University of St Francis

Campaign Website: 4WillCounty.com

The Will County Board has established broad parameters for how it should spend more than $133 million in federal pandemic aid including infrastructure, health purposes and economic development. What specific causes should the board focus on when spending that money?

I believe one area that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves is the mental health issue that this pandemic has created. We need to get people comfortable living again. We need to get people comfortable working again. We need to get people comfortable being a community again. The second part is we need to earmark a large portion of this money to help build up our small businesses. During this pandemic, large corporations were able to stay open and actually thrive, while small businesses either had to close their doors or wasn’t able to weather the storm. One group of small businesses that got hit the hardest are the farmers. With the cost of diesel exceeding 100% and fertilizer up over 160%, our farmers deserve the support of the county.

The Will County Board has yet to decide on how to spend new revenue from its recreational marijuana sales tax. How should that revenue be allocated?

A portion of that revenue needs to be earmarked for opioid addiction.  Another portion needs to be earmarked to law enforcement so they can continue to keep us safe.  Lastly, a third portion should be earmarked to help pay down our debt.  Will County’s debt servicing costs are incredibly high and dangerously unhealthy.

The board has been discussing what to do with the old county courthouse property. While it’s limited to using it for public purposes, what do you think should happen to the former courthouse building and the land on which it sits?

I am interested in hearing from the public and my constituents on what they believe is the best use of any public asset. It belongs to them, not the members of the county board.

Do you think Will County should maintain the county executive form of government? Please explain.

Yes, I think Will County should maintain the county executive form of government, but it should be served as an executive advisory role to the entire board. We should not have elite members of the board making any decision that isn’t voted on by the entire board.

The county is conducting a diversity and inclusion study of its operations. While the study is ongoing, what do you think county government should do to ensure diversity and inclusion in its hiring and contracting processes?

Diversity and inclusion is essential as long as it produces equal opportunities for all. It’s essential that everyone is given the same opportunities. I believe and support all of our Amendments from the 1st, 2nd, all the way to the 18th. We should run Will County like a business. You’d be hard pressed to find a business that doesn’t have some form of diversity and inclusion installed.

The annual salaries of countywide elected officials in Will County tend to trail their counterparts in neighboring suburban counties. Do you support raising salaries of countywide elected officials in Will County?

No, I do not. Elected officials should be serving for the right reasons, not for a pay check. There are thousands of school board members, park board members, and other elected officials that serve without pay, and they do an amazing job.

The county has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths during the past year. Its substance use initiatives office has worked to combat the epidemic. What more do you think the county should do to prevent such incidents?

This serious issue needs to be combatted head-on with education, prevention, and sound policing. This means educating everyone on the danger of the drugs that are out there. We need to make sure that NARCAN is available in case of an overdose. In addition, we need to ensure that the police and the judicial system has the tools and resources to apprehend and prosecute the offenders in this epidemic.

How would you encourage economic and employment growth within Will County?

The answer has been given to us several times in the past… reduce taxes. Businesses can reinvest savings far better than government ever could. Cut wasteful spending, terminate expensive programs that aren’t providing a return on our future, and encourage growth with smaller government. Reduce unnecessary regulations, but while ensuring the protection of the citizens of Will County.

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

Yes I do. We need to get the tools and resources to law enforcement so they can do their job more effectively. As the son of a former Will County Deputy, I recognize the challenges that Will County is facing today, and I look forward to working with the Sheriff and local police departments to find solutions to those challenges.

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

A survey and inspection needs to be performed to understand which roads and bridges are in the worst condition and most traveled. Those roads and bridges need to be addressed first.

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

I absolutely support decreasing local property taxes. The county can make up the difference by being more efficient, decreasing the size of our county government, and not increasing the salaries of our elected officials.

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

100% yes! We need COMPLETE transparency.

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

It’s a great tool, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.

We need to provide complete transparency to all levels of the county whenever possible. Keeping the recording and minutes of every county board meeting online is essential, while enhancing the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

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

We need to work with the local Chamber of Commerce to set up grants to local businesses. In addition (as mentioned in a previous question), we need to earmark a large portion of the roughly $133 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and give it to small businesses through grants.

Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign nondisclosure agreements with private businesses?

No. Such an agreement should never impede the transparency of government to its citizens.

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

I do not support government officials hiding anything, inside or outside an NDA, from the citizens of Will County.