Vernon Township Supervisor candidate Kelly running on platform of balanced budgets
Vernon Township supervisor candidate Robert C. Kelly, squaring off against Daniel Didech in the April 4 election, is running on a platform of keeping the township debt free with a minimal tax bill for residents.
Kelly is part of the Township Citizens Party and has served for four years as a Vernon Township trustee, winning a 2013 election. A retired banker and banking industry regulator, Kelly has strong ties to the community and to his fellow township officials in the local government.
The township supervisor position will have its first new winner in four decades. The current supervisor, William Peterson, is stepping down at the age of 80 after 44 years of public service, 40 of them having been in the same position. Peterson, who is retiring in the hopes of doing more traveling, has offered his endorsement to Kelly based on his leadership approach.
“He’s endorsing our full slate of candidates,” Kelly said. “He’s counseling each and every one of us and has personally let me know he’s only a phone call away if I ever want to reach out to him.”
Through his financial background and his experience as a trustee, Kelly feels that he is in a position to further his party’s stated goal of doing more with less.
“I have a good sense of what we can do,” Kelly said. “Everything about our party starts with respecting the taxpayer.”
The Township Citizens Party places an emphasis on fiscal conservatism and celebrates on its website accomplishments such as operating on a balanced budget, freezing or reducing salaries for elected officials for the past four years and reducing taxes paid to the Township by more than 10 percent over the past decade.
“I see us being a debt-free community,” said Kelly, who studied business and marketing at Western Illinois University. “Fiscal responsibility is definitely our number one goal, and we plan to take forensics of every single budget to see if there are others areas where we can save even more.”
Kelly does maintain that, as important as low levels of spending are to his vision for the township, it is critical that Vernon keeps its services for its most vulnerable citizens. Amongst these social initiatives are efforts lead by current supervisor Peterson, who lead the charge with the township’s food pantry and other programs that assist the township’s residents living in poverty.
“We have to have social services programs that make sure we’re taking care of every one of those in need,” Kelly said.
Kelly is heavily involved in the local community through his own service efforts. He is a long-time figure in Vernon Hills Little League, where he has served as a coach for many years and is now also the director. He has also served the township’s youth through the Boy Scouts, where he is currently an adult leader focusing on fundraising. He is a former Lions Clubs member, a Vernon Hills High School Athletic & Band Booster parent and is on the Oshkosh Ambassadors Senior Softball Tournament team. He volunteers with Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) and is a member and usher at St. Mary’s of Vernon Church.
On April 2, Kelly will take part in his party’s Day of Action walk, through which he hopes to engage more of the townships residents and win their votes on the ballots two days later.
“I hope it can all shine through the people of Vernon Township,” Kelly said. “I hope they can see that I’m a sincere and hard-working person who would put the needs and interest of this community above everything else.”