Candidate Questions and Comments – 2018 Edition

Introduction

It is the 2018 Election season and with barely six months under our belts, we were presented with an opportunity to ask the candidates that are going to be representing the citizens of McHenry County a few questions. You might remember from our Facebook post and our blog post, where we asked you, dear reader, what you wanted to know where our candidates stood on various topics related to Internet Freedom.

We heard you loud and clear and most of you wanted to know where the candidates stood on Net Neutrality, which we will ask. However, Net Neutrality is just one aspect of Internet Freedom, there is also several other aspects of Internet Freedom. Internet Freedom also includes digital rights, freedom of information, the right to Internet access, freedom from Internet censorship and net neutrality.

After considering several different avenues, we came up with the questions that we thought would get McHenry County and the State of Illinois on the track to increasing Internet access, and leading down the path to “Cheaper, Faster Internet for All!”.

At the Federal level, there are a number of partners that already do a great job of advocating for your rights. We are more interested in asking our candidates questions about state and local level initiatives, which in our opinion, can have a greater impact.

All the questions are going to be in a format of Yes or No with an option to provide a narrative response and they will be sent directly to the campaign or the candidate themselves. We’ll be posting the result in a couple weeks.

Federal Questions

  1. Do you support Net Neutrality?
  2. Would you support an infrastructure bill for expanding broadband in IL-14 or IL-06?

State Questions

  1. Do you support Net Neutrality?
  2. Do you think we have a lack of high quality cost effective broadband throughout the State?
  3. Do you feel that having Internet connectivity is essential for every day life for our citizens?
  4. Do you support the creation of a state broadband office that would lead broadband strategy in our communities across Illinois to support high quality cost effective broadband expansion throughout Illinois?
  5. IDOT has implemented a policy of Dig-Once regarding installing conduit and fiber-optic cable at the time when major road work is being done on state roads. Dig-Once is an effective policy for considerably reducing costs of installing conduit and fiber-optic cable when the ground is being disturbed.
    Do you support increasing the funding levels for laying conduit and fiber-optic cable for IDOT and other partners to ensure that we do not miss any opportunities to utilize Dig-Once?
  6. Do you support expanding the Illinois Century Network (“ICN”) and other networks, which results in bringing high quality and cost effective connectivity throughout the state?
  7. Do you support protecting our right to create our own community-owned broadband networks?

County Questions

  1. Do you support Net Neutrality?
  2. Do you think we have a lack of high quality cost effective broadband in the County?
  3. Do you think that having Internet connectivity is essential for every day life for our citizens?
  4. Would you support the county putting together a comprehensive strategic broadband plan?
  5. Would you support adopting Dig-Once policies to enable the County to expand our fiber-optic network more cost effectively?
  6. Do you support reasonable reforms that streamline approval requirements and permitting and/or making our utility poles “One Touch Make-Ready” to make it easier for entities to expand broadband in our county?
  7. Do you support expanding of our fiber-optic network for our schools, fire stations, police stations, townships, and other governmental entities?
  8. Do you support connecting residents and businesses to our fiber-optic broadband network to provide them with cheaper faster high quality reliable Internet service?

Candidate Questionnaire Responses

You wanted to know where our candidates stood on various topics related to Internet Freedom.
The results we received back are listed below and grouped by office.

2018 Candidates within McHenry County Survey Results
Congressional District
Candidate Narrative Response Net Neutrality? Support an Infrastructure Bill to Expand Broadband in IL-14 or IL-06? Comments
Randy Hultgren (R) No Maybe
We have reached out to the Hultgren office several times, but no direct response. We saw him speak at a Woodstock Chamber of Commerce event on 10/30/2018, and he said he did not support Net Neutrality. He said he would support an infrastructure bill, but Congressional infrastructure bills have gone no where.
Lauren Underwood (D) Yes Yes
Peter Roskam (R) No Response No Response
We have reached out to the Roskam office several times
Sean Casten (D) Yes Yes
IL House or Senate
IL House or Senate District Candidate Narrative Response Net Neutrality? Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? State Broadband Office? Expand IDOT Dig-Once? Expand Illinois Century Network? Protect ability to build community-owned broadband networks? Comments
House 52 David McSweeney (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
House 63 Steven Reick (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
House 64 Tom Weber (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
House 64 Trisha Zubert (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
House 66 Allen Skillicorn (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
House 89 Nick Hide (D) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Senate 26 Dan McConchie (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Senate 26 Tom Georges (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Senate 32 Craig Wilcox (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Senate 32 Mary Mahady (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Response No Response
Senate 33 Nancy Zettler (D) Yes No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Senate 33 Don DeWitte (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
District 1 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Christopher Spoerl (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Michael Vijuk (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Robert Nowak (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
District 2 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Carolyn Schofield (R) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Josh Howell (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Suzanne Ness (D) Yes Yes No (See Narrative Reponse) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
District 3 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Joe Gottemoller (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Kelli Wegener (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Lori Parrish (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
District 4 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Chuck Wheeler (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Pamela Althoff (R No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
District 5 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Carlos Acosta (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Frank Wedig (D) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
John Jung (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Michael Rein (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
District 6 County Board Candidates
Candidate Narrative Response? Net Neutrality Lack Widespread Quality Cost Effective Broadband? Internet Essential? County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan? Implement Dig Once? Streamline and reform regulations for broadband expansion? Expand our fiber-optic network to schools, public safety, and more? Connect residents and business to our fiber-optic broadband network? Comments
Larry Spaeth (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Michelle Aavang (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response
Larry Smith (R) No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response No Response

Public Statements by Candidates

This section is to showcase any time a candidate within McHenry County mentions broadband, fiber-optics, or other related topics. This will be updated on an on-going basis.

If we missed something, please contact us on Facebook or via e-mail and we’ll add it here.

Last updated: October 11, 2018

October 11, 2018

League of Women Voters for McHenry County held McHenry County Board Districts 4, 5, and 6 Candidate Forum. Link to video.

Democratic candidate Larry Spaeth for District 6 (Facebook)

Spaeth said at 44:38, “…and the other is infrastructure. If you live out in District 6, it is difficult to have Internet. So, I think that needs to be a priority for all counties current in the county, specifically McHenry County. We need the fiber-optic cables extended. We need to develop policies and regulations that would encourage the extension of fiber-optic cables.”

Spaeth said at 49:00 “The infrastructure I mentioned earlier, the broadband. I have been out in District 6 now for 18 years since we moved out there. The cable is down the road about some 400 feet (still down there). I cannot afford it, personally, I am on a retired salary, so I cannot bring it down the road. So, yes, I think we need to make infrastructure a priority to attract business to community and focus on the jobs of the future when we talk infrastructure.”

Republican candidate John Jung, Jr. for District 5 (Facebook)

Jung said at  45:50 “Also on job and economic development, we need to continue to improve our infrastructure, broadband, highways, and transportations. Because if  don’t come here with businesses and jobs, you are not going to be able to lower the tax rate.”

Jung said at 49:36 “…not only for transportation, but also the broadband Internet. There are still places still in this county that find it hard to connect hard to the Internet and to get broadband. You are not going to attract more industries. You can build the road just fine, but you need the roads. But if they don’t have a way to connect to the rest of the world anymore. Everything is global. People….You need the Internet or you are not going to survive as a business.
We have or we are improving our infrastructure. When they expanded Route 14, we worked with the State (Illinois), and we put down broadband to the college (MCC). I think it gone from there to Woodstock. Eventually, hopefully, we can get it go out to the more rural parts of the county that are not served very well.”

Democratic candidate Carlos Acosta for District 5 (Facebook)

Acosta said at 52:41 “We need also to extend the concept of infrastructure to include broadband because broadband Internet services are the infrastructure, nowadays, for any business wants to be connected to the world market. So, we need have to start including Internet services when we think of the infrastructure in the moment.”

October 8, 2018

League of Women Voters for McHenry County held McHenry County Board Districts 1, 2, and 3 Candidate Forum. Link to video.

Republican candidate Christopher Spoerl for District 1

Spoerl said at 1:22:24 “…We are continuing with the infrastructure improvements as well with the access to I-90 through Route 23. I think we should consider broadband as well.”

We look forward to discussing this further with Christopher Spoerl to see what he has in mind for improvements to our broadband infrastructure.

October 1, 2018

Northwest Herald Editorial Board met with McHenry County Board Candidates – Link to Article

Democratic candidate Kelli Wegener for District 3 (Facebook):

Wegener said “Make this a destination where we want [out-of-town] manufacturers and businesses to come [and] our workers to stay here,” Wegener said. “They have this infrastructure on the books right now: They’re increasing Route 31, 47, the fiber networks, the interchange on [Interstate] 90, [Route] 23. … That’s wonderful because the only way we are going to get people to come is if our infrastructure is strong.”

Democratic candidate Carlos Acosta for District 5 (Facebook):

Acosta said a key to driving businesses to open in McHenry County is intense investment in infrastructure. Acosta said “McHenry County has the opportunity, because they’ve already started investing in broadband infrastructure, to expand on that,” he said.
“That is going to bring more businesses in the tech world into McHenry County. I would hope that investment continues and is expanded and is made available.

We look forward to discussing further this with Carlos Acosta.