Election 2024 Questionnaire: Michael Kenyon, Kane County Board District 16

Election 2024

Michael Kenyon, a candidate for Kane County Board District 16 in the March 19 primary election, answered these questions from the Shaw Local News Network.

Full name: Michael Kenyon

What office are you seeking? Kane County Board District 16

What public offices, if any, have you previously held? Kane County Board District 16, 2006-present

City: South Elgin

Occupation: Farmer

In light of the increasing influx of migrants to Illinois, how do you propose the county should address the challenges?

Kane County really has no control over the influx of migrants to Illinois. We want to be sure to take care of our own with housing, food and employment. If migrants come to Kane County, we should help them with food and shelter. The immigration problem wasn’t created here in Kane County, but it impacts us and it is our obligation to be human in our response. We must pressure the government to shut the border down and enforce the laws that we currently have.

What are the top issues facing your county and what would you like to do to address those issues?

We have to be able to provide services that people need such as good roads, affordable housing, food and medical help. We need to attract businesses with a quality workforce and good schools, good roads, housing and job training. Through Kane County Connects we can give information about referral services that help people find support for their mental and physical needs.

Should counties do more to expand access to county government?

We need to provide more information about the services we do offer. We have a top-notch development department that helps ensure high standards are maintained. We need to continue to support programs that our sheriff and state’s attorney offer to help people stay out of the justice system. These rigorous programs help people with substance use disorder overcome adversity and get job training to become protective members of society.

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

We need to provide adequate transportation, good roads and a trained workforce with good school systems for children and adult education opportunities through our community colleges. We should provide opportunities for recreation with good restaurants, local entertainment and shopping. Kane County is home to beautiful natural settings for recreation such as our forest preserves, the Fox River, bike and walking paths and abundance of nature programs and informational classes. As a county board member, I am also a commissioner of the Forest Preserve, where we acquired many acres of green space for the people to enjoy. I am a member of the Forest Preserve of Kane County Foundation representing the Kane County Forest Preserve, the Kane County Farm Bureau, where we award scholarships to deserving students, and the St Charles Bank and Trust board of directors, where we provide advice and funds for businesses that hope to call Kane County home.

I am the only farmer on the county board representing a county that is almost 50% farmland. Our County Farmland Preservation Program is the only one in Illinois and it partners with the federal government to make sure that not all land will become developed. Preserving farms is important and the partnership with Farmland Preservation allows generational farmers to stay on their land. No farms, no food.

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

We need to make our laws thoughtful and easy to attain and not create ordinances we can’t sustain. We need to support applications for zoning to encourage business to come here.

Kane County is a member of a multi-county economic development program (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) that helps bring business to the county.

We have a wonderful development department that talks you through the steps you need to take to help grow your business. Our system is easy to navigate and helps people to do what they need to do right away.

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

No, because when you are a public servant you are supposed to serve the public not private interests. We need honest elected officials to serve the taxpayers.

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

In my district, there is not a crime problem, but in other areas there may be. Programs that reduce crime create cost savings to the county and help people contribute positively.

We need more opportunities for job training and also need to support the programs such as Pre Arrest Diversion Program, specialty courts such as Treatment Alternative Courts to help people overcome addiction and reduce interaction with the criminal justice system. We are blessed to have people in the judiciary who believe in rehabilitation.

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

The Department of Transportation does a good job at identifying and prioritizing the most needed projects. The county recently was awarded funds to put a bridge over the railroad at Hopps and Randall. We just finished another roundabout on Bliss Road.

Do you support the Illinois gun ban? Why or why not?

I am licensed to carry a gun and believe in the Second Amendment.

What is your opinion of the role of tax incentives in economic development and business growth? Should tax incentives be offered to corporations to entice them to plant roots in local communities? Why or why not?

It depends on what business is interested and how many jobs it is going to create. We need to balance between what we can do to incentivize business in unincorporated areas because it will cost the county to provide infrastructure support and road upgrades and protect our farmland.

The Grand Victoria Riverboat is a good example of how tax incentives can be used to benefit county residents. Through an agreement with Kane County, they provide a percentage of the riverboat’s annual net operating income to support education, the environment and economic development.

How would you classify the state of public health in your county? Do you believe access to affordable health care is an issue? Why or why not? If you believe it’s an issue, what ideas do you have to remedy it?

Affordable health care is not a county issue, but our health department does provide services to help people such as immunizations and referrals to local providers for services.

A big challenge is to keep people informed to where they can go to get services.