By CARL GREEN
Alton, IL – Bob Daiber, the Labor-endorsed Democratic candidate for Madison County Board chairman, wants to know when the Republican incumbent, Kurt Prenzler, is going to meet the public with him – following a forum attended by candidates from both parties, but not Prenzler.
At the July 23 forum, hosted by the Alton YWCA at Haskell Park, Democratic and Republican candidates for state’s attorney and circuit court clerk answered questions and introduced themselves to the public. Daiber appeared by himself. Event organizers said Prenzler did not respond to their invitations.
Now Daiber has challenged Prenzler to commit to appearing at a minimum of three public forums hosted by neutral organizations before Sept. 24, when early voting begins.
“The YWCA of Alton’s format proved that it is possible for candidates to appear before voters in a safe, socially distanced manner during this COVID-19 campaign season,” Daiber said. “Utilizing an open space such as Haskell Park allowed voters to gain information directly from the candidates who had the courage to answer their questions.
“Kurt Prenzler’s failure to appear at the YWCA of Alton’s forum is just another indication of his inability to answer questions about the corruption engulfing his administration and the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Madison County.”
Daiber, of Marine, is a career educator, a strong Labor supporter and served as regional school superintendent for 12 years. He has been a township supervisor and village trustee. At the forum, Daiber said the county used to be capable of greater accomplishments than anything seen lately.
“This region needs true leadership. It needs regional leadership that will bring people together. That’s what I think I can do for you,” he said.
“I served the county while we did some really big things, like the America’s Central Port project, the McKinley Bridge project, beginning the Gateway Commerce Center and building Governor’s Parkway in Edwardsville.
“We can do big things again in this community because there’s so much potential in Madison County, but it takes true leadership and it takes an initiative to want to get things done, to include communities and to work with mayors and township supervisors to move this county forward.”
VOTE BY MAIL
Asked if he supported voting by mail, Daiber replied “Definitely!”
“Vote by mail is a true representation of democracy for all people,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to vote by mail, you don’t have the excuse that you could not get to the polls. We know what confronts us this fall with this pandemic. Don’t be fooled by the skepticism that we hear – that your ballot may not get there if you vote by mail. That is false. It is a safe and effective way for us to carry out a democracy in all communities and all parts of the county.”
Asked what he would cut from the county budget, he said Prenzler has made unnecessary hires in his office that could be eliminated.
“I will hire one competent county administrator and I will cut my salary 20 percent.” he said.
What he won’t do, he said, is pull the rug out from under other elected officials for political reasons, noting that his budget as regional superintendent was arbitrarily cut by 20 percent.
“I will not do that to fellow officeholders, no matter what party they belong to. I will not use politics in my office to settle budget problems,” he said.
AN INCLUSIVE ADMINISTRATION
One person stated that of 288 jobs and appointments filled by the chairman, only 10 currently are occupied by people of color. Daiber replied that when he was superintendent, 30 percent of his staff fit that description.
“What you can’t have is four white guys in a room making those decisions. That’s what you have right now,” he said. “You’ve got to have a diverse administration that’s making the decisions, and you have to get racism out of the chairman’s office.
“You, first of all, cannot endorse a national racist agenda as a candidate. That’s number one. But number two, you have to have an inclusive administration. You have to have people around you who can address and can help people of all racial backgrounds.”
Daiber recommended the two campaigns meet and agree on locations for forums that could include Wilson Park in Granite City, Highland City Park, Woodland Park in Collinsville and Tri-Township Park in Troy, utilizing the format implemented by the YWCA of Alton in which a moderator asked questions while the residents were safely spaced in their lawn chairs.