Candidate Name: John Krummen
Office Seeking: City Council
Campaign Website: Krummenforcouncil.com
Subdivision/Neighborhood: Knoch – Knolls
Occupation and/or Professional Training:
Mechanical Engineer, MBA
Six Sigma Black Belt, PMP,
Professor of Economics at North Central College
How long in years have you been a Naperville resident? 17 years
Service on Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc. with dates served (nonprofit too):
- Chairman/ Liaison of the City of Naperville Public Utility Advisory Board (2011-present)
- Liaison to the City of Naperville Financial Advisory Board (2015-present)
- Liaison to the Naperville Environmental Sustainability Task Force (2020-present)
- Church Volunteer, Youth Minister, and Religious Service Lector 2008-present
- Project Help Parent Mentor
- DuPage Pads (homeless) overnight supervisor volunteer (10 pm-6am)
- Director of the Naperville Area Homeowners Association (2011-2015)
- Member of the Exchange Club (2011-2018)
- Member of Rotary (2019-present)
- Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Forum (2012)
- Member of the Naperville Development Partnership marketing team
- Election Judge Supervisor
- Member of the Samaritan Network (similar, not affiliated with Habitat for Humanity) home repair for those who need help
The following answers have only been edited for formatting purposes.
1. Why are you running for City Council?
I moved to Naperville 17 years ago with when my sons were in middle school. My wife Barbara had passed from cancer a few years before. As we started our new life, we were instantly welcomed by thoughtful neighbors, great schools, mentoring youth sports, and concerned religious communities. In short, my sons would not have become the men they are if Naperville were not the community it is. I owe Naperville a debt I can never repay. Additionally, I have both a strong STEM background and a strong financial background. Both have been invaluable in my role as a councilman, as we navigate the ever changing technical, environmental, energy, and financial concerns before the city.
2. What is Naperville’s most pressing need?
We need to re-ignite our compassion and care for one another. We need to talk with, not at, each other. And most importantly we need to listen to each other. We need to come together as a community, and not allow national politics to divide us. Listening for a more community focused Naperville is the first step to solving the many complex issues before us.
3. In your opinion, what’s the City’s most important private/public partnership?
All of Naperville’s private/ public partnerships are important, so it would be disingenuous to state one is the most important. But the private/ public partnerships with our charities are first in my mind, because they help those most in need.
4. Name three policies that need review or immediate attention.
There are many pressing issues before the city of Naperville and to list just 3, does not mean that the others are unimportant. The three most pressing concerns are 1) COVID-19 response and economic recovery, 2) financial viability, and 3) sustainability.
The Covid response will require a focus on mental, physical, and economic health. Mental health was a growing concern for many before the pandemic. But social isolation has intensified these issues. Therefore, I have been working with local mental health experts to create a mental health grant fund. Keeping everyone physically healthy is also of great importance. It is still unclear what the correct policies are needed to stop the pandemic. Social distancing, masks, and the hope for a vaccine are top of mind. Furthermore, we do not know the long-term physical health concerns that may linger. Therefore, I listen to the health professionals to keep our residents safe. Additionally, there are many economic concerns as well. There is a great increase in unemployment, and many small businesses have or may soon close. I have partnered with the city, local business, and residents to develop a plan (pending) to delay utility payments for 6 months to give everyone some breathing room.
Financial viability is always paramount. During my first years on city council, we made difficult decisions, and took hard votes to place the city on strong financial footing. As a result, we have maintained the highest possible rating, AAA, for our municipal bonds. We have also passed structurally balanced budgets for the past 6 years. We also are in good fiscal shape to weather the Covid storm.
Environmental Sustainability is becoming ever increasingly urgent. I am proud to have championed the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force (N.E.S.T) and look forward to the economic and environmental improvements this will create for our children and grandchildren.
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current Naperville City Council of City Staff?
I have been involved with city leadership for almost 10 years and have been elected to city council for 2 terms. I participate in daily discussions with city leadership, city staff, and residents. Over these past 10 years, I spend on average 30 hours a week, listening to community leaders, residents, and small business owners.
6. What planned development will have the greatest impact on the City?
The train station/ 5th avenue. I believe people move to Naperville because of our great schools, and easy access to downtown Chicago via two train stations. The 5th avenue train station needs development, but not just any development for development sake, and bigger is clearly not better. City leadership will need to listen more than what was present in past efforts. Additional new concerns from the Covid pandemic will forever change the way we work and live. I have taken a slow and steady approach, as well as a listen to the neighbors, commuters, and the community as a whole approach. Much more discussion and more listening must be had, before any final decisions will be made for this large and important city owned parcel of land.
7. What up-and-coming development is most important to the City of Naperville?
Developments happen throughout the city, and the most important one to any one resident, maybe the one closest to them. With this, it is understood that all developments are important. Please see the answer to question number 6.
8. How often do you patronize Naperville restaurants?
9. When folks come to visit, where do you take them in Naperville?
I am immensely proud to live in Naperville, and I tell visitors about our great history, and the great future that lies ahead of us. I tell them about how this tight knit community has grown over the years, and how this big, small town has maintained a great community spirit. I tell them about our great schools, wonderful religious communities, our diverse population, and how we all work together for the better of all of Naperville. Then I take them to one of our many great restaurants.
10. How has the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) Fund served the City of Naperville?
The SECA fund generates almost $2 million annually for community projects. During my time on council, we have worked hard to simplify the process and push for more community focused projects. Many special events and cultural amenities simply could not take place with out this funding. As we have witnessed by their absence during Covid, the arts and special events play a key role in the culture of Naperville.
11. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
I have a copy of the Constitution in my city council office. Also, in my office, is a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence. I never forget the principles that this country was founded upon. The main principle being that government’s legitimacy and moral right is only derived from the consent of the people.
12. What do you think is significant about Naperville’s council-manager form of government?
I am a strong believer in the Council/ Manager municipal form of government. I believe it allows Naperville to take advantage of the best of two worlds. We have a professional staff with professional skills, who’s day-to-day work is focused on delivering great services to the people of Naperville.
We also have an elected city council who take responsibility for the strategy and governmental policies for the city. The city council is not intended, nor should it be a full-time position. Our job is to be out in the community (see 30-hours a week above) and listening to our residents. The city council’s focus is to listen to the people. The city councils’ job is not-day-to-day, but to deliberate and agree to policies based on our resident’s feedback.
13. What is a recent book, television program, or movie you have read/watched that you think everyone should read/watch to gain perspective on life?
Like many people, I like to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, over the holidays. It is a story of self-sacrifice for the good of the community. It will be wonderful when the current political climate throughout the United States returns to a more civil time. Our democratic form of government not only allows us but encourages civic discussions. We all have a voice. It requires our elected officials to listen to the consent of the people. Many elected leaders have forgotten to listen. Many citizens have become frustrated, and civil discourse has been lost. The wonderful lesson of It’s a Wonderful Life, is to remember, it takes all of us to make a strong community. It takes all of us to keep and make Naperville a wonderful place to live.
Anything else would you like to add?