Brooke Hernandez Brewer: Candidate for At-Large Joliet City Council Seat
3/10/2017, 2:19 p.m.
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up, go to school, describe your family life, what are your hobbies, how do you make a living?
I am a person who loves my family and my community, and who believes that strong family values and community ties are stepping stones to growth and prosperity for this great city. My husband Kevin and I are life-long Joliet residents. We were raised here by our parents Tom and Joan Hernandez, and Russ and Robin Brewer. We have happily chosen to stay in Joliet and raise our three daughters, Katherine (9), Elizabeth (5) and Margaret (3). Our children attend Saint Paul the apostle school and we are also parishioners at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
I worked many jobs in the community: working with adults with disabilities, developing before and after school programming for children in the Joliet Public Schools, volunteering for different events to fight hunger, volunteering to educate the community and its children on various topics, and working to find housing for homeless veterans.
Professionally, I specialize in stewardship and in helping people recognize each of their personal skills and in discovering ways to implement those skills for the betterment of the community. I believe strongly that I can play a prominent role in building alliances amongst community organizations for the betterment of the people they serve.
I was appointed to the City Council last year and I'm treating the position as a full time job. I believe it is that important to the community. I'm running for a full 4-year term because I know that we are only getting started making Joliet the best city to live, work, and raise a family in.
Why are you running for an at-large council seat?
I have always had an active interest in my community. It was an honor to be asked to serve as a councilwoman on the city council and I accepted the appointment with enthusiasm. I bring diversity to the governing body of a diverse city. I am executing my duties responsibly as the Joliet City Councilwoman at large. I wish to continue to contribute positive input that will keep this great city moving in a direction for the betterment of the community.
Gambling revenue is on a downward trend from a high in 2007 of just over $36 million to just over $18 million in 2015. What are some other funding streams you see as potential options for the city to replace those shrinking funds?
Every municipality should strive to create a diverse economic base so that if there is a downturn in one or more sectors of the economy, the revenue streams of the municipality will not collapse. I think collapse of the steel industry taught Joliet a valuable lesson in that regard, and we were very fortunate that the revenue stream from the casinos was able to provide the basis for a rebuilding of our city and a restructuring of our economy. Under Mayor Schultz the city began a geographic and economic growth pattern which we should continue to follow to attain a stable and diverse economy and we should continue along that path. Casino revenue is an economic aberration and I think we should work within a budget excluding casino revenue from normal operating costs and live within those means. We should not rely on casino revenues for our survival because the state could eliminate legalized gambling, or more likely, expand it to the point where gambling takes place so frequently that no person needs to travel to a casino to gamble.