Full Name: Tracy Smith
What office are you seeking? 3rd Ward Alderman City of DeKalb
What is your political party? Independent
What is your current age? 64
Occupation and Employer: Chief Operations Officer for Voluntary Action Center of Northern Illinois
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I am currently the 3rd Ward Alderman for the City of DeKalb being elected to this position in 2019. Previously I was a police officer with the City of DeKalb from 1985 until my retirement in 2016. I was also with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office from 1980 until 1985.
Campaign Website: I do not
Education: Attended Kishwaukee College and numerous law enforcement trainings over the last 35 years
Community involvement: I am currently with the Voluntary Action Center which provides transit services for DeKalb County. VAC is the provider for the meals on wheels program for DeKalb County.
Marital status/Immediate family: I am married to Karen (Wayman) Smith and we have 5 children.
Why are you running for office?
I am running for 3rd Ward Alderman to get DeKalb back to the way it was. We are working on reducing property taxes by bringing in large developments such as Facebook, Ferrara and Amazon for example. I want to continue to make DeKalb a business friendly community so we can attract more businesses.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I have lived in DeKalb for most of my life. My mother along with my 6 brothers and sisters still reside in the City of DeKalb many in the 3rd Ward. I also served a police officer for over 35 years gives me extensive background in government operations. This experience allows me to help residents with any problems that arise and quickly get solutions to the problems.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
Banning weapons will not take them out of the hands of people who want to obtain them illegally. If someone wants to obtain a weapon illegally in Illinois they will find a way.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
The City of DeKalb is taking proactive measures to reduce crime in DeKalb by increasing the number of officers. Recently DeKalb approved an additional 5 officers for the force. I would like to see us increase this number by 5 if not 10 more additional officers. We have also increased our SRO presence in schools to help with the increase in incidents in the schools.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I think our community did an excellent job in the handling of COVID.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned from the pandemic that we all need to work together. Something such as COVID affects everyone differently.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
The City of DeKalb is currently spurring large economic developments within the City. The south side projects like Facebook, Amazon and Ferrara are great examples. There are also other large developments in the works on the southside that will create more opportunity in DeKalb. I would like to see more housing development in DeKalb by offering potential homebuilders reduction in fees.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
Local governments should take advantage of the large developments on the southside of DeKalb and the increase in taxes that they are paying by reducing taxes to the residents. An overall reduction in the tax rate is needed to get additional growth in DeKalb
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
Yes I do.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
Streets and equipment are a top priority for me. Both have been neglected for years. When money is not set aside for street repair in eventually will catch up to us and it has. I would like to see DeKalb be more aggressive in street repair. The 3rd Ward has an abundance of concrete streets which are at or past their useful life and need repair. Replacing concrete streets are more expensive than replacing an asphalt street. I would be for a bond issue to address our street repairs now and utilize the projected tax revenue from the southside developments to pay for the bond.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes I will.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
Government has to be open and transparent to residents.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes I do.
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
Yes I would. Many companies, especially large national or international companies require it for their own reasons. If we don’t a non-disclosure the next town will and we could lose a possible development.