Dianne Harris: Candidate for At-Large Joliet City Council Seat

3/10/2017, 1:54 p.m.
Dianne Harris is running for an open, at-large city council seat in Joliet in April.
Dianne Harris

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 mom and have 2 dogs and enjoy volunteering for several boards and organizations namely, Cathedral Area Preservation where I serve as the Vice President. Also, I am one of Joliet Public Library Trustees, a Joliet Central Band Parent, member of the National Hook up of Black women and the Vice Chairman of the Illinois Center Right Coalition. I graduated from the JJC with an AA in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. Recently retired after 32 years of public service with ComEd, I recently renewed my license as an Independent Insurance Agent. I enjoy teaching Sunday School and hitting a few notes on my violin from time to time. I am passionate about business and politics and look forward to being elected to serve as your at-Large City Councilwoman.

Why are you running for an at-large council seat?

Of course, timing is an important factor as to why I’m running. It’s important to have the time to devote to the Council in order to get things done. Most importantly, as a citizen, it is my responsibility to get involve. As a community activist, I see the need to make changes, implement new ordinances, focus on innovativeness and provide fresh ideas for the betterment of our great city. As a taxpayer, I have a vested interested in the desire to make Joliet the best place to live work and play. As a retiree, the time is now. That’s my reason for running to serve as your at-Large Councilwoman.

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?

Other methods such as promoting renewable energy projects, bringing more business to Joliet with less regulations which will create more jobs, therefore putting money back into the city. Target businesses inside and outside of Joliet that are already established and see if they would be interested in expanding a second or third store downtown Joliet. Maybe not just offer various tax incentives but allow the business to see that we have in regards to innovativeness that will attract the millennial job seekers and entrepreneurs; more bike able, walkable, downtown high end apartment living, transit accessible (which we already have) amenities to enhance our great city. A place for moms, youth, and adults all day and at least up through midnight. Offer the opportunity for public/private partnership; the main ingredients to be successful in attracting a whole new market of entrepreneurs. Along with that we will be establishing new ordinances that will enhance the safety and reduce public nuisances, overall, making our city a great place to live work and play.

Mayor O’Dekirk had discussed re-instating a five-year budget plan that had been discontinued under the previous mayor as part of his transition in to office. Do you see that as a useful tool for the city and if so will you push for a 5-year budget forecast and how will you make sure it’s implemented?