NEW LENOX, IL — Election Day is only a few weeks away, and there are plenty of candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but voters will also decide the outcome of seats in more local races as well.
In Will County, there are two positions up for election for Will County Board Member for District 12. Republican Frankie Pretzel, Democrat Erin Moncek, Democrat Joanne Hamilton-Gunkel and Republican Tom Weigel are vying for the two positions.
Pretzel recently filled out a questionnaire from Patch, and his answers can be found below:
Age (as of Election Day): 41
Town/City of Residence: New Lenox
Office Sought: County office
Party Affiliation: Republican
Family: Traci Pretzel - 39, has a Masters Degree in Reading and a background in elementary education. She invented a children's product and runs her own small business.
Raegan Pretzel -11
Emerson Pretzel - 09
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?: No
Education: BA- Political Science and English Literature from University of Illinois at Chicago
Occupation: National Account Manager - 14 years
Campaign website: FrankiePretzel.com
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: NA
The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it: We MUST keep our communities safe. I will work closely with the Will County Sheriff's department to ensure they have necessary funding, equipment, vehicles and training facilities to keep our communities safe. This is and will remain my top priority as a member of the Will County Board. This is also why I was endorsed by the Will County Deputy Sheriff's Union.
Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake? I wholeheartedly believe that we are all created equally by God in His image. I think racism still exists today and that is very sad. I do not base my opinion of any human being on their skin color. I fully support our right to protest or demonstrate and love that we live in a country that allows us to do so. If those demonstrations turn violent, or any laws are being broken, I think anyone involved should be immediately arrested.
What are your thoughts on the campaign to "defund" the police? Any discussion of defunding the police is absurd. I stand proudly in defense of our brave men and women who defend and protect us.
What are your thoughts on the state and national response to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you favor such measures as limiting operation of non-essential businesses or restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a nationwide mask mandate? I think we need to carefully and safely reopen our economy immediately. This includes churches, schools and non-essential businesses. I oppose a mask mandate.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? I have over 15 years of private sector experience in account management and sales. As a successful businessman with a heart for public service, I know what it takes to balance a budget, cut wasteful spending and make tough choices needed to create a better future for the hardworking residents of Will County.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency): NA
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform: I will oppose any tax increases or new taxes. I think County Government should live within its means and not spend more than it takes in. I will dig deep to uncover redundancies within our County offices and look to reduce wasteful spending. I am in favor of building our own County buildings where we currently lease and I would fight to award these projects to local trade unions. This will create economic development and new jobs.
I also support future road improvements and projects that will improve traffic flow.
We must also continue to invest in our Forest Preserve and Recreation Services and make sure these are accessible to our residents with disabilities and safe for all to enjoy.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? I had perfect attendance in High School. I mention that because it shows that even at a young age I took my commitments very seriously. I led the Lincoln-Way boys gymnastics team to a 2nd place State finish and went on to be a Division 1 National Qualifier in college. I was awarded most improved four-year gymnast in my conference. What does any of that have to do with serving as a member on the County Board? I think it shows my determination, perseverance and work ethic. In my current role as a National Account Manager at a large medical device company I have been a Top Finisher 9 times and have learned to work with many different personalities, ideologies and backgrounds.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success? I would like to see the 2019 Gasoline Tax repealed.
Why should voters trust you? I am a life-long resident of New Lenox. My parents lived here long before me and I would like nothing more than for my two daughters to establish roots of their own someday right here in Will County. I have been an active member in my community and will remain accessible and accountable long after being elected to serve as a member of the County Board. I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard, and we must always remember that we represent the residents of Will County.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking? I believe government should live within its means and spend no more money than it takes in. I am a fiscal conservative and I believe elected officials need to always be prepared for a rainy day. Illinois has led the nation in losing residents to other states for six year in a row. Elected officials in Illinois have let us down and it is time for a change.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family? No
The best advice ever shared with me was: Do the right thing even when no one is watching.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions? I am a common sense candidate offering common sense solutions.
Election Day is Nov. 3.
Related: New Lenox Voter Guide 2020