District 12 on the County Board includes parts of Deerfield, Del Mar Woods, Highland Park, Knollwood and all of Lake Forest.
Please tell us a little about you and your background? (family, education, work-life, hobbies, etc.)
For the past 10 years, I have been married to my wonderful wife Shruti. We have seven-year olds (twins!) – Eshaan and Reya. They are in public school in Highland Park (in the Spanish dual-language program). I attended the University of Michigan for my B.A. in Economics. I received my MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University), and currently work in marketing. My hobbies include traveling, coaching my daughter and son’s baseball team, and running.
Why did you decide to run for Lake County Board?
It primarily came down to two things. First, my strong belief in the role of public service. I love living here and recognize that this is not by accident. It is because there are people that take time – often away from their families, jobs, and other responsibilities – to make sure we all have a community that we can appreciate.
Second, I also felt that it is critical that people have choices in their representation. This seat was left unchallenged in 2012 and 2016. By running for this position, I hope to give the residents of District 12 an opportunity to vote for someone that may better align with their values, vision, and priorities for Lake County.
Has anything surprised you about your experience running for office?
I am not sure I would call it surprising, but very few people I speak to when going door-to-door have a good sense of what the county government does for residents, and the role of the board in administering the government. The county government consists of over 30 functions with 2,000 employees working on their behalf. From the court system, solid waste management, the Sheriff’s office, to the health department – to name just a few. Whoever is elected must do a much better job of ensuring their constituents understand the role that county government plays in their lives.
Which issues are you most focused on at this time?
There are three that I am most focused on right now. The first one is the environment, and specifically, climate change. It is the single biggest challenge we face. I would like to see the county government get to 100% clean energy by 2024. It is already happening at the municipal level right here in Lake County (Deerfield is the process of negotiating 100% clean energy for its residential customers). It is time the county government did the same. I also would like to see how we can make sustainability a part of our procurement plan. 50% of the county budget goes to services. We can start to ask our vendors and service partners to be committed with us on this issue.
Second, I would like the county to continue to be fiscally responsible. When I go door-to-door to talk to residents, many comment (especially older residents) that they feel it is too expensive to live here. We need to balance delivering excellent services with making sure we are thoughtful about how much we are asking residents to contribute.
Lastly, I would like to see the political process reformed. Frankly, there is too much money from mega-donors flowing into local campaigns. As an example, a candidate for county board can receive a contribution twice the size of someone running for the US Senate! It’s time to end this practice and make local government accountable to the people again – not just to a handful of large donors.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for our community going forward?
In addition to some of the issues I already identified, I think we need to focus on growing the county again. The county population and people employed has stayed flat (and has even been on a slight decline) for several years. This could lead to less investment in the community and fewer services over time. This is something that needs to be addressed. I believe Lake County can be the premier destination for families in the Chicago area. Addressing this issue will be high on my list when I join the board.
Please share a favorite local hangout or activity?
Over the last few years, I have been regularly participating in a 5:45 a.m. fitness class at the Highland Park Recreation Center. There are now about 40 of us that regularly do this and we have become friends. We have even dubbed ourselves the “5:45 Crew”. I actually now look forward to getting up at 5 a.m. to work out! I also enjoy getting to the public pools in the summer ( I swear my children were fish in a former life)!
What else would you like our readers to know?
The only way we can win this seat is with your support. And everything will help – volunteering, requesting a yard sign, spreading the word on your social media accounts, and sharing your ideas on how we can improve local government. I also love hearing from voters and listening to their concerns. If you have a moment, please contact me – I’d love to hear from you!