People Making A Difference

I have had the opportunity to meet many outstanding people who are making a difference in our community, Nicole Virgil is one of them.

Nicole Virgil’s desire to provide clean, fresh, real food to her family has transformed into something very special.  What went from wanting to provide healthy food for her children has know become a small business that provides a healthy alternative for her neighbors as well.

I spent sometime with Nicole and her daughter Sarah to learn a little more about what they do.

As I was driving to the Virgil’s home I  knew I was getting close as the neighborhood yards were adorned with brightly colored Fairview Produce signs.

I was greeting with a warm smiles from Nicole and her daughter Sarah. Sarah was excited to tell me all about the produce they had for sale.  Sarah pointed out each item that was for sale as she talked about them. There was flashy butter oak lettuce , oregano, mint, three different kinds of kale, garlic, onions and chives, to name a few. There was hand made soap and honey from a local harvester.

Sarah then took me on a tour of the garden in the back yard. It was beautiful, almost magical. The raised beds with their bright, vibrant colors, the beautiful foliage and the fragrant smell, I wanted to soak it all in.

Many neighbors stopped by to purchase their fresh items for the week.  One of the neighbors even mentioned the “weight loss” since eating a little more healthy and thanked Nicole.

Besides healthy eating Nicole’s children Sarah and TJ are learning to run a business.  They help with the garden, they developed a website, learn to make change and the importance of a good work ethic.

If you have a chance you should stop by Fairview Produce located at 598 S. Fairview, Elmhurst, Il.

You can learn more about Fairview Produce here.

 

 

 

Chip, Chip, Chip Away

DuPage County contracts with four separate lobbying firms costing tax payers $282,000 per year.  The DuPage Election Commission has spent $36,000 per year for lobbyists and the States Attorney lobbyists costs to the taxpayer is $48,000 per year. Taxpayers also contribute tax dollars to the following lobbying entities: The National Association of Counties, Illinois Association of Counties, Illinois Association of Auditors, Illinois Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, Illinois Association of Clerks and Recorders, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Treasurer and the list goes on. Lots of tax dollars going to lobbyists.

I have been questioning the need for lobbyists since I was first elected. In 2015 I started questioning the need for the DuPage Election Commission and the States Attorney to have separate lobbyists. “Why not use the county’s lobbyists?” I asked.

During Tuesdays meeting of the DuPage County Board it was announced that the DuPage Election Commission will no longer be using its own lobbyists and will use DuPage County’s lobbyists saving the taxpayer $36,000 per year. I was pleased that DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin acknowledge my efforts.

 

 

For the past few years I have been using the Kane County Board as an example of how a government can succeed without using lobbyists.  The Kane County Legislative Committee has been acting as their own lobbyists.  I reached out to Susan Starrett, Chairman of the Kane County Legislative Committee, to ask how the arrangement has been working out.

“The partnerships with the legislators have been positive. We have direct access to all legislators, state and federal, and it has made it easier for us to convey our concerns (throughout the year) and give our opinions to the source. The last two years we have been able to save taxpayers between (conservative estimate) $3-5 million/year. We hold one event a year with great attendance. The response to return during the year and provide information has been excellent,” Starrett said.

DuPage County and Kane County share many of the same State and Federal legislators.  If this arrangement works well for Kane County I see no reason for why it would not work for DuPage County.

I believe the elimination of the DuPage Election Commission lobbyists is only the beginning. I am hopeful that we will continue to see a reduction of lobbyists contract over the next few years with all lobbying contract being fazed out.

I have learned that things don’t change overnight, you have to be persistent and keep chip, chip, chipping away.

You can read past posts about DuPage County Lobbyists herehere, and here.

You can find DuPage County Lobbying Contracts here .

You can learn more about the Kane County Legislative Committee here .

 

 

TAKING A SIDE WITH MY ELMHURST FRIENDS

Thank you to my Elmhurst friends who invited me to “take a side.” – Elie Wiesel once said “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” .

 

MY LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT

August 13, 2017

 

President Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Trump,

My name is Elizabeth Chaplin and I live in Downers Grove, Illinois. I am an elected official representing approximately 90,000 people. The State of Illinois was home to a great man, President Abraham Lincoln. Not only was President Lincoln a great man he was a great leader. He displayed strength, courage and good character. He was also responsible for ending slavery.

When I woke up yesterday morning to the horrific pictures of men carrying torches through the streets of Charlottesville and read the vile words a deep sadness came over me. Those torches represent the worst of this country. A time of violent acts of domestic terrorism. The sole purpose of carrying those torches was intimidation. They cause many people despair and anxiety. The event was described as a rally to “take America back.”

This morning I have read that three people lost their lives including two police officers that were killed in a helicopter crash while hovering near the rally. This is unacceptable.

It is a hard job being an elected official. Sometimes we are pushed out of our comfort zone. We find ourselves in situations that we never dreamed of. It is a position of great responsibility. We may have to take a position that may not be popular but is ultimately the right thing to do.

What we need now is for you to display the strength, courage and good character of past leaders. You need to strongly condemn these acts for what they are, they are acts committed by white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis. This is domestic terrorism. You need to say it loud and clear and you need to let people know this behavior will not be tolerated. Your words will ring hollow if you continue to allow the likes of Steve Bannon and Seb Gorka to roam the White House. These men and anyone associated with them must be removed from the White House and their current positions immediately.

Mr. President I am hoping and praying that you will find it in your heart to do what is right for this country and its people.

May God bless America.

Elizabeth Chaplin
DuPage County Board
Representing District 2