Meet Your April 9 Candidates: John Jekot
Get to know the candidates for Niles Village Board. Local governments affect you more, in terms of taxes, snow removal, services, etc., than pols in Washington. John Jekot is running for Niles trustee; he also serves on the D-63 board.
In this series, Patch is introducing the candidates running for Niles village trustee in the April 9 election. Following is the candidate questionnaire of John Jekot. Previous articles about him on Patch are below the questionnaire.
Name: John C. Jekot
How long have you lived in Niles? 50
Family: Mother, Brother, Sister
Education: B.A. - Leisure Studies. Minor in marketing
Occupation: Life Insurance Agent
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices (please include years of service): Presently Vice President of East Maine School District 63 Board of Education (14-years of service)
Other community involvement:
- President, Optimist Club of Niles.
- Past-President, District 63 Education Foundation.
- Vice President, St. John Brebeuf Men's Club.
- Member, Knights of Columbus.
Campaign Twitter: Nilesnewparty2013@Nilesnewparty20
1. Why are you running for this office? I am a civic minded individual who has volunteered in many community organizations throughout the years and this experience will carry on as village trustee.
2. What are the top issues facing the village of Niles right now, in your view? Maintain high quality village services and to manage budget towards low tax rates.
3. How should the village be addressing these issues? Implementing Performance Management standards to all Village Department's.
4. What ideas do you have to improve the village, whether in services, economic development, transportation, outreach to residents, communication, environment or other areas? Niles needs a renewed commitment to Milwaukee Avenue and neighborhood improvements. Our business and our homeowners deserve to feel confident in the direction village government is headed. Improving the business and neighborhood climate will encourage young people to come to Niles to start their families.
5. What accomplishments, in public or community service or your professional life, would you like voters to know about? When the East Maine School District was facing budget cuts, the Education Foundation was reinstated. What was accomplished is that I took the leadership role as Foundation President so that money could be raised to support the afterschool program. Over the years we secured over $129,000 in special event fundraising. Secured $557,000 in corporate donations. Received $125,000 in funding through writing federal grants. Awarded $199,000 in funding through a grant from the Cook County Department of Public Health and Center of Disease Control. The satisfaction I gained is that the school district will never have to cut the after school program, as long as the foundation continues to do the work with raising funds. Our afterschool program was approached from a neighboring district (school district 71) to provide services at their district because budget cuts forced district 71 to no longer provide funding towards its afterschool program. Both districts are now thriving with excellent afterschool programming.
6. Niles has a reputation as a thriving business community and it won the Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids honor from Bloomberg/Business Week. What do you envision for its future? As stated before, improving the business and neighborhood climate will encourage young people to come to Niles to start families.
7. Niles is divided between two townships, two high school districts and multiple elementary school districts. It does not have a downtown or a high school. In light of this fractionalization, what can be done to give Niles a sense of unity? The 4th of July celebration is a great example on how unity is bulit. We can encourage neighborhoods to host block parties. Collaboration among all government agencies is another way unity is built.
8. Anything else you would like to add? It would be an honor to serve the Village of Niles as Trustee.