AP NEWS

Four candidates seek 3 seats in Bourbonnais

March 26, 2019

Four candidates are seeking three open seats on the village of Bourbonnais board of trustees in the April 2 election.

The group includes three incumbents, Jeff Keast, Randy King and Jack Littrell. The fourth candidate is Jane Hove.

What follows is a profile of each candidate listed in alphabetical order.

Jane A. Hove

AGE: 55

OCCUPATION: Teacher

EXPERIENCE: Resident of Bourbonnais

EDUCATION: MSU-business-communications, minor/marketing and journalism

Why are you running for village board?

Bourbonnais has been my home for more than 25 years. This community has been a perfect place for my husband, Brad, and I to raise our four children, Chase, Connor, Aubrey and Lilly. So why am I running? I’m jumping on board with a successful group of people who have made this a community to be proud of. Anyone can look around at all that is happening in Bourbonnais — it’s beautiful, safe, progressive, citizen minded, civilly dutiful and respectful of its heritage. The new interchange will offer tremendous growth opportunities, employment and taxation revenue. There’s hope to move forward the pedestrian walkway at Main St. and Convent to keep that high traffic area safe for citizens. The spirit is strong and I would be proud to be part of the honorable trustee board that has done a great job making Bourbonnais ‘the place to live’. So now it’s time I step up and pay it forward and be a part of the future of Bourbonnais.

What is the village’s biggest challenge?

At this time, I believe there are very few hurdles to jump over. I know there are pressing challenges like expenses, taxes and continued expansion. I want to be part of making those quality and educated decisions with good judgment for all our citizens. Where other communities seem to be in the red and struggling, asking for money to dig out of debt, Bourbonnais is strong and flourishing.

What improvements would you make to village government?

I hope I get the good fortune to be the “creative” one, to build on the ideas to have more community involvement and more recreational activities that are friendly and healthy. To unite Bourbonnais in ways that don’t cost anyone anything but time, events that Bourbonnais will enjoy and invite guests to, experience events and happenings to attract other area community residents to fall more in love with our “beautiful Bourbonnais.” Lastly, a thriving and healthy village our children and grandchildren are proud of and will want to stay and raise their own families.

Jeff Keast

AGE: 44

OCCUPATION: President of Keast Electric, Inc.

EXPERIENCE: Current trustee, chairman of community and economic development committee, local business owner, husband, father and grandfather.

EDUCATION: Herscher High school graduate, KCC marketing and management, five years IBEW Local No. 176 apprenticeship, business owner.

Why are you running for village board?

I am re-running for trustee because I love Bourbonnais, my family loves Bourbonnais and I believe it is my responsibility to help our community. I felt our local government was acting in the shadows. I am someone who has, and will continue to, bring issues done in the shadows to light with the voice of all Bourbonnais residents in mind. I am a proactive person. The way we handle some of our business is reactionary, and it falls to the detriment of residents. If we expect to bring progress and growth to Bourbonnais continuously, our local government must act swiftly and ahead of the curve. I challenge the status quo. Challenging current structures is not always popular, but ultimately, it produces results and results are something I am accustomed to achieving. “

2. What is the village’s biggest challenge?

“Stagnation and complacency. We have challenges such as growing infrastructure, residency occupation and business climate, but we fail to do simple things with our budget to act on those challenges. If we go about our budget correctly, we can potentially add more law enforcement or save money for future projects. Manteno reduced their building permit fees and was able to be more accommodating to issues facing the budget. I want to do the same. I don’t want to ask the people of Bourbonnais for more money. I want to accommodate our current budget for growth. It is possible; the only requirement is hard work — less government in your lives, more money in our pockets.”

3. What improvements would you make to village government?

“We need to bring local government to the 21st century. Information is available for residents to see, but that doesn’t mean its user-friendly information. I have been a large proponent of government transparency and accountability, that will never change. The growth and development of the downtown area has been a topic of discussion in recent months. For Bourbonnais to successfully achieve downtown development, we must first manifest different forms of growth in the area. We have not approached business growth aggressively enough and Bourbonnais is the perfect place for commercial businesses, whether filling empty commercial spaces or attracting new business with our new interchange. I want 5 and 10 year plans for our community to see, engage with and help develop. We frequently talk about grand plans for Bourbonnais, but I am aggressively trying to put actions behind our words.”

NAME: Robert “Randy” King

AGE: 62

OCCUPATION: President and owner of King Music, Inc. in Bradley

EXPERIENCE: Four years as trustee, Dwight Township and BBCHS band director, volunteer softball coach, former BBCHS school board member, BBCHS Foundation board member, Community Arts Council president, Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra board member, Bradley-Bourbonnais Youth Softball League board member and coach, New Horizons Band of Kankakee County co-founder and Bourbonnais Knights of Columbus member.

EDUCATION: Graduated from BBCHS and Millikin University with a bachelor’s in music education K-12 with jazz emphasis.

1. Why are you running for village board?

“I care about what happens in Bourbonnais and Kankakee County. I’m a current trustee, volunteer and local business owner. I now know, “from the inside” that village of Bourbonnais trustees have more to do and I believe I can continue to help make improvements in local government and services based on my experiences and active leadership. Effective leadership is a balancing act and not easy. It demands willingness and effort. It requires careful navigation of current issues, working together with other elected officials to set policies and procedures, assembling a solid administration team, staff and services while at the same time discovering and determining future possibilities. It demands constant assessment, decisive action and a vision for the journey ahead. Local government leadership is like looking through a microscope with one eye and a telescope with the other-fine tuning the now and looking to the future. I’m seeking the support of residents to continue this journey. I will listen, ask questions, speak and help make decisions to make Bourbonnais a better place to raise our families, play, work, welcome visitors and grow businesses. Our village is a place proud to call home. Let’s keep it that way.”

2. What is the village’s biggest challenge?

“Managing the future potential growth of the village while at the same time improving the infrastructure and aesthetics of the older areas and landscapes in our village. There’s a constant challenge of improving the actual value of services the village provides to the actual revenues received from all sources of income. We need to continue to do more with the revenues we receive. This is already happening, but there is more room for improvement.”

3. What improvements would you make to village government?

“Within the rules and guidelines that govern village government, I plan to continue to stress the importance of having written village of Bourbonnais standard operating procedures in place so when the current people are no longer with the village, future elected officials, committees, administration, department heads and village employees have in writing the Village of Bourbonnais way that we operate. Many improvements have already been made in this regard by current trustees, but we have more to do. I plan to continue to provide the means for the village to be more accessible to residents and provide more communication to help educate residents on what we actually do. Above all, I want to instill a role of leadership that suggests to all residents the importance of becoming actively involved in local government. The decisions we make locally have more of a direct impact on our daily lives than any other form of government. The village belongs to the residents, please exercise your right to vote. Hold me accountable, I look forward to listening to you, finding solutions and getting back to you with the information you seek. As an Independent I’m beholden to 19,000 residents–no political parties–I like to think that I serve all residents and look for their input to bring about the improvements they would like to see in their village and work with other elected officials to get the job done.”

NAME: Jack Littrell

AGE: 51

OCCUPATION: Series 6 and 63 licensed financial representative for Farmers Insurance and former U.S. mail carrier in Bourbonnais.

EXPERIENCE: Four years as village trustee

EDUCATION: Kankakee Community College marketing and management/business

1. Why are you running for village board?

“I love helping residents and I feel that I have great cooperation and rapport with them. I’m pleased with what’s been done the last four years but I need four more to finish what our team of board members started.

2. What is the village’s biggest challenge?

“The biggest challenge is always money management, being better planners and providing the best services for our tax dollars. Improvements have been great but there is much more in the works.”

3. What improvements would you make to village government?

“To be the village that decides ‘we can do it, not well, I don’t think we can’. Otherwise, village government works well together. We work more with village departments and employees to have the tools to be more efficient, safe and technologically up-to-date. We also try to interact with community much more. It’s supposed to be the Village of Friendship after all.”