Rachel Ventura: Candidate for At-Large Joliet City Council Seat
3/10/2017, 2:38 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 was born and raised in Joliet. I attended Cunningham, Forest Park I.E., Hufford I.E., Joliet Central High School, Benedictine University (BS in Mathematics), and Tidewater Community College (AS in Biology).
I am the daughter of two hard working union parents. My father sat on the Will County Board before working and retiring from IDOT. My mother worked for AFSCME 2000 before working and retiring as an elementary teacher. My parents instilled in my siblings and myself four cornerstones 1) Give back to your family 2) Believe in a higher being 3) Educate yourself and have a philosophy and 4) Serve your community.
Growing up I worked hard in school to earn high honors. I served my community through girl scouts, JROTC and later volunteering for military organizations, community service projects, volunteering for schools, and other non-profit organizations.
My hobbies include gardening, bird watching, caring for animals, traveling, scrapbooking, astronomy, gaming, acting, and directing. I make a living now as a Business Director for an international publisher. However, before that I worked as an actuary, worked in marketing, worked as a naturalist for a state park, been a pet nurse, and substituted in elementary schools. After moving around with the U.S. Navy as a military spouse, I have chosen my hometown, Joliet to raise my two daughters.
Why are you running for an at-large council seat?
I am seeking this office to fulfill the promise I have made to my two daughters: They will inherit a better world than I did. I know Joliet has the potential to thrive, to attract good jobs, lessen the burden placed on taxpayers, and provide exemplary city services. At a time when so many working families are struggling to make ends meet, we cannot continue to increase taxes and fees. I plan to be a voice of reason and I will represent all the people so Joliet can get back to the basics and refocus its spending to provide the best protective services and infrastructure possible. Crime is on the rise and we need a Road to Change.
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?
I strongly believe that we can increase revenues from tourism. This will alleviate increasing taxes and fees which are a burden on Joliet residents. We must leverage and aggressively push for more tourism such as Route 66 (all of it in Joliet), Lincoln Highway, On/Off Historical Bus Tours, Collins Street Prison, possible new Sports Complex, Rialto, Conventions, and fine arts are just some examples of ways we can bring in more money to the city.
We must revitalize downtown. We can do this by working with big and small businesses in a short period to attract multiple companies to the heart of our city. We need more grocery stores like Whole Foods or Traders Joes. We need more dining establishments like the Route 66 Diner along with famous burger joints but also some high end or well-known names like Ruth Chris or Olive Garden. These are all just examples of