Full Name: Joseph Starzynski
What office are you seeking? Woodstock City Council
What is your political party? N/A
What is your current age? 63
Occupation and Employer: Loan Officer/Residential Mortgage @ Home State Bank
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Woodstock City Council 2013-2017
Woodstock Parks and Recreation Commission
Woodstock Social and Cultural Awareness Commission, currently serving
Campaign Website: no
Education: BA Political Science Eastern Illinois University 1982
Community involvement: Woodstock Rotary Club
Marital status/Immediate family: No spouse, adult children-2
Why are you running for office?
The council is losing 2 current council members and I felt that I would be a good replacement for either of their perspectives. Of course, I have my own perspective, as I served on Woodstock City Council previously, but I do look forward to the dialogue that will take place when 9 people run for 3 seats as opposed to all seats going uncontested.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I’ve served as a councilman just 6 years ago. I’ve remained involved with commission work and volunteerism since then. So, in short, experience and commitment to community improvement.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
If it’s law, it should be enforced. My hope is that less assault weapons and regulation of those that already legally exist is safer for everybody.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
I’ve never personally felt unsafe, nor my property at great risk, while I’ve lived 32 years in Woodstock. I think the police department in Woodstock does a great job.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
In terms of how the City of Woodstock handled it, state law and CDC guidelines were followed. I personally wore a mask if it was requested and always felt it was the respectful thing to do for other people’s health concerns. I also felt that wearing a mask was a pretty minor inconvenience. I got vaccinated and boostered when those became available and am grateful that my one bout with COVID was mild.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
Fear and loss of social interaction can do a lot of damage to people’s livelihoods, mental health, etc. It also exacerbated existing divisions within communiities.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
Encourage development of affordable housing, using infill of space as close to the central city as possible. Although our area in comparison with other places in the USA is still relatively affordable, in truth, most peoples incomes have not kept up with the cost of housing. Encouraging that will help bring the demographics that higher level economic development (i.e., manufacturing, industrial, commercial) are looking for to place themselves in Woodstock.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
As I’ve previously stated, the end goal is to bring manufacturing/industrial/commercial development to ease the burden on the residential tax payer. We have a major expansion of Rte. 47 coming soon, and possibly the move of the Metra rail yard to NW of Woodstock, which would expand the Metra schedule. Capitalizing on development related to those events is going to be crucial to the residential tax burden.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
I do. As long as it’s safely regulated, I see it as no different than alcohol use, which keeps a lot of bars/restaurants/stores open.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
A hotel/hotels would be nice. We’ve opened up the use of the square over the past 10 years, expecting people from out of town to visit and it sure would be nice if we had better quality places for those visitors to stay.
If we want to encourage development of residential property close to town, then we ought to also encourage use of alternatives to transportation that are also healthy, safe, convenient and a lot less expensive...such as biking and walking.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Absolutely, there are alot of really good people running with/against me. If it’s not me, they deserve to try their hand at governance, too.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
100%, daylight is the ultimate disinfectant. As a councilman, my desire should be to serve not obscure.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?