Name three long-term goals you have for the County and why you chose them.
Greater investment in our workforce. We need to do more to prepare our workforce for the new technology- and knowledge-based economy. Foxconn is a risky but worthwhile gamble, but our working families won’t be able to fully enjoy that investment of tax dollars unless we provide the necessary training and support to revamp our workforce for the future. Strong environmental stewardship. I don’t want Racine to become the next Flint, MI. We need board members asking the tough questions about how Foxconn will be handling the toxic byproducts of their manufacturing, as well as the impact that huge projected developments will have on our greenspace and waterways. More infrastructure investment. A growing economy will mean greater strains on our already stressed infrastructure. We need to plan for and pay for improvements to our roads, bridges, broadband access, and public transportation.
What are the three biggest challenges the County faces and how would address them?
Opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic may not be immediately visible to many, but it is taxing our county system, with the increased need for court, police and social services. We need to continue attacking this drug epidemic at its roots. In the meantime, we need to expand our support for the victims of this epidemic, especially children. Jobs. While Foxconn may bring thousands of high-paying tech industry jobs to Racine, we don’t have enough skilled workers for those jobs. We need to better prepare our students and current workforce by training them for the skills now in demand. I propose working with the Racine Unified and Gateway to increase outreach and promotion to connect our workforce to the resources we now have available. Environment. Over the next decade, we’ll probably see all the farms east of I=94 disappear, as well as many west of the highway. That will mean fewer green spaces and the potential loss of critical wetlands and natural resources. The county board must be vigilant stewards of our natural resources. We need to ensure that new developments preserve wetlands and invest in purchasing more lands for county parks and nature preserves.
The County is poised for growth, but many County residents struggle with employment. How should it adapt to that growth?
With Gateway we already have many resources to train our workforce, but we need to do more to promote those resources and subsidize the retraining. The County must work with the City of Racine and other villages to actively promote our training programs. In addition, we need to invest in public transportation to get workers to these training programs, because public transportation is a legitimate challenge for many of our residents.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Servant leadership. I believe that strong and effective leaders serve their people, rather than the other way around. Consequently, my approach tends to be collaborative and coaching.
Why should people elect you?
Racine County is poised for great changes and some upheaval over the coming years. We need board members able and willing to ask the tough questions that need to be asked, so as to protect and help our working families deal with the impact of Foxconn and other developments about to hit us.
Learn about Reynaldo Villar’s opponent, Katherine Buske.
The Spring election will be held on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018.
Find your polling location here.
Learn more about the other Racine County Board candidates.
District 1 Candidates:
Donnie Snow (i)
District 12 Candidates:
Ronald Molnar (i)
Donald J. Trottier*
*Editor’s note: We’re still working on getting responses to candidates questions at this time.