By Hermene Hartman
Why do you want to be a politician?To serve and help our fellow-citizens, it should be the same reason for any future politician considering running for office. I for one, am tired and let down by the empty promises and laziness of our current elected officials. They seem to be more interested in doing nothing, waiting for retirement and robbing the citizens of Illinois blind. I could no longer tolerate what I was seeing and do nothing. My goal as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is to bring about a positive change to society, provide jobs and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
Is Chicago water safe? Are we assured that Chicago would not be another FLINT?Chicago’s drinking water is safe at the moment. The City of Chicago and the suburbs of Cook County receive drinking and potable water from Lake Michigan which is the purest water source in the United States. We are blessed to have 80% of North America’s water supply in our back yard. However, the millions of miles of pipe that carry our drinking water from Lake Michigan to our homes and businesses in Chicago/Cook County are not safe. These pipes are over 100 years old and are made of wood, brick, clay and even lead. The reason why the City of Flint is in such a dire situation with their water today is because over 90% of their water infrastructure is made of lead. When the City of Flint switched its water supply from the Great Lakes to the Flint River, the corrosive waters leached lead from the pipes. It also didn’t help that the city failed to add standard anti-corrosion chemicals to the water that could have prevented this current disaster.
Chicago and Cook County could be a repeat of Flint if our politicians are foolish enough to switch our water supply from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River. As an engineer and your future Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, I will make sure that day never comes to fruition.
What is the last book you read?
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. But I would highly recommend for our youth to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, that book changed my life.
Why don’t you have a television set?
I don’t see the need for it with my current lifestyle. The proliferation of internet streaming media such as YouTube and Netflix has made TV obsolete for me at least.
What is your big idea for the Water Reclamation District?My plan is as follows:
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) shall assume control of the City of Chicago Department of Water Management, including the city’s two water treatment plants, 12 pumping stations, water/sewer mains and employee personnel. MWRD would take over maintenance and operations of the facilities and assume the role as the primary agency for the purification and transmission of potable water to the residents/businesses in Chicago/Cook County as well as responsibility for the transport of wastewater and storm water throughout the City of Chicago.
The benefits of the plan include the following:
- Shift the burden of maintaining/modernizing Chicago/Cook County’s aging water and sewer infrastructure from the City of Chicago to the MWRD
- Generate at least $5 billion for the City of Chicago to re-allocate funding for police/fire/teacher pensions – as well as for other essential city services
- Streamline government and eliminate bureaucratic red tape for homeowners and businesses
- Reduce water and sewer fees for city and suburban taxpayers
Who is your favorite politician?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as President, he ushered our country through the Great Depression, provided relief and recovery through the New Deal, was a dominant leader of the Democratic Party and led our country through World War II.
What kind of car do you drive?
Who would you most like to meet and why?
Elon Musk, the man is the modern day version of Thomas Edison. He’s built 4 companies that have already made a profound effect on the world. Paypal, Tesla Motors, Solar City and Space X. At the moment, Elon has proposed ideas for high-speed ground transportation. A subject I am very interested in discussing with him.
What would you do differently than any other politician, ever?
I’m not a politician, I didn’t study to be a politician and I never dreamed that being a politician would be my profession one day. I am a citizen who decided enough is enough, no one with my qualifications, values and principals would ever seek election in Cook County or Chicago. My candidacy and my goals are based on my record and experience as an engineer who grew up in the North Side, went to school in the South Side and worked in the West Side. Modernizing our crumbling infrastructure, stopping urban flooding and job creation are some of the issues facing Chicago and Cook County and I believe it’s high time and long overdue for someone like me to actually start tackling those issues immediately.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Smoque BBQ, best brisket in the city.
Tell me about your family?My family came to America from South Korea with nothing but $20 in their pockets in the late 1980’s. My father and mother worked extremely hard, raised my brother and I, and both built small businesses here in Chicago. Growing up in a small business family, I learned, lived, and understand the values of hard work, perseverance, difficulties, and risks that go along with building, operating, and growing a small business. My family is the living embodiment of the American Dream and they are very proud that I have chosen to run for elected office because they know I can help others with their American dream.
What’s your greatest gift?
The ability to listen.