Full Name: Melissa McMahon
What office are you seeking? City of Woodstock City Council
What is your political party? This is a nonpartisan race
What is your current age? 45
Occupation and Employer: Marketing Manager for Real Woodstock at the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry
What offices, if any, have you previously held? This is my first campaign for public office
City: From Hoffman Estates currently live in Woodstock, Illinois
Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087873256557
Education: Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Illinois State University.
Community involvement: Woodstock Pride - Vice President, Woodstock Groundhog Days Committee, McHenry County Fair Association
Volunteer(ed) with Miss Woodstock Scholarship Pageant, past McHenry County 4H leader, past PTO President of Creekside Middle School, Grace Lutheran VBS volunteer, Ladies Night Out Committee, Wine Walk Committee, Witches and Wizards of Woodstock Committee, RockStock, Christmas Clearing House volunteer, Ale Fest volunteer, past Treadfest volunteer, Lighting of the Square Committee, Inaugural class of WACCI Chamber Ambassadors, Cure CF
Marital status/Immediate family: Divorced, Two daughters - Olivia, a 2019 WHS graduate and current Navy Sailor and Charlotte, currently a 6th grader at Creekside Middle School
Why are you running for office?
As a long time community member and volunteer, serving on the city council feels like the logical next step in my service to the city I call home. I believe the governing body of a city should be reflective of the residents it serves and as woman and mother of a school age child I can fill that role. I believe I would be a voice to fill the void that will occur when Councilwomen Piersall and Lohmeyer leave the office. My years of experience interacting with various organizations and city officials will be of great benefit to the residents I hope to serve.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
The simple answer is I am resident of Woodstock. Long answer is I am a resident of Woodstock that cares enough to do everything I can to make it the best city possible for its residents, businesses and visitors.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
I believe banning assault-style weapons is an action long overdue and a necessary one in the attempt to curb gun violence, and support Governor Pritzker in having signed the bill this year.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
Sadly crime is a problem in every community. While Woodstock does not have what many would consider a serious crime problem, we are not immune to the crime. I believe Woodstock has good leadership in place in its police department and employs dedicated officers and that in and of itself helps to curb crime and what it may evolve into. I do believe there are improvements to be made, continued and diverse education of our officers and leaders, along with the installation of security cameras in some of our known crime areas and high traffic locations is a step the city needs to take.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I believe the City of Woodstock acted appropriately and compassionately. It immediately followed protocols and guidelines with closures and limiting gatherings. The Woodstock Public library, in my opinion became the template for others to follow in a community. It reworked it’s entire plan to continue its services to the residents and even expanded its community pantry. The city itself set up resource pages for its businesses and provided and later forgave emergency small business loans to local businesses.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
To take nothing for granted. When the Pandemic began I was the manager of an event venue on the Square and the order came that large gatherings were to cease. Forced home, I learned to be grateful for the time with my family, our local library, our city parks and grocery pick up. Also a new appreciation for my community and the people in, we colored pictures for neighbors and lite candles for front line workers and the whole city was doing it and I couldn’t have been prouder
How would you spur economic development in your community?
Give people a reason to spend. Attract businesses that will be successful and supported in the community.
Economic development is a two sided sword. You need to attract businesses, manufacturers and developments and help set them up to succeed. Sometimes that’s with tax incentives and sometimes that’s the relationships formed to get the right piece in the right puzzle. The other side of the sword is bringing in businesses and manufacturers that your residents will support. That could be by being customers or the work force for said businesses.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
Tax is a necessary evil, but it is the job of city government to take into consideration the residents they are taxing are people and families trying to survive in a post pandemic economy that has not been seen in modern times. The city needs to make choices for the good of its residents, create a sensible budget and stick to it. Actively seek out businesses and industry that will contribute to the sales tax so that there may be a reprieve on the property taxes.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
I support the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana. Like alcohol and tobacco, there are laws in place for its sale and consumption and should be treated the same. Marijuana and its use is a personal choice and like alcohol will continue to be bought and sold. We can’t stop that but we can collect tax from its sale. People will talk about the bad effects of marijuana and that it shouldn’t be sold but tobacco products have proven bad effects and continue to be sold. The fact of the matter is marijuana has been, and will continue to be a commodity and I believe that the city should tax it.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
The hot button answer is and always will be roads. It is no surprise that the road conditions in Woodstock is not what they should be, there are memes out there about the state of Woodstock roads. While that is a major concern and top of my list for improvement, we need to keep in mind that we should also updating and improving the utilities as we go and that has to include fiber optics. To attract visitors and keep residents we need decent roads, to attract businesses those road improvements need to include the utilities top businesses will require. This needs to be a priority and I challenge city staff to look outside the box for solutions. New materials and technologies need to be researched for longevity and cost over time.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes I would accept the voters’ decision. At the end of the day, whether elected or not I will continue to do my part to make Woodstock the best it can be. If that is serving as a council member, wonderful; if not than you will still see me planning events and doing my part to make Woodstock wonderful.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I believe government should be chosen by the people it serves and in the end answers to those people. There should always be transparency and fairness. The public is invited and encouraged to attend and speak at council meetings, commission meetings, and can access the agendas and packets ahead of any meeting.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
I absolutely support the Freedom of Information Act and believe decisions made on behalf of our residents by the city government should be available to all.
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
I am a firm believer in the proposed Illinois SB3038 which would prevent any local unit of government from entering into a contract that would include a non-disclosure agreement in economic deals. Back room, sweetheart deals have no place in a transparent government. Any government official or city staff should absolutely question and be wary of any potential company who wants to join a community but hide from the public at the same time.