Debra Shore is running for a third six-year term on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District ( MWRD ) board. She was the first out LGBT candidate to win this office when she joined the board in 2006.
Windy City Times: What has the campaign trail been like since the primaries and which issues have the voters brought up during your interactions with them?
Debra Shore: It depends on what part of the county I am in. Residents along the North Shore want an easement to build a road through part of the golf course which is jointly managed by Evanston and Wilmette along the North Shore Channel. That has not come before our board yet and I am opposed to it.
Voters ask me about lead in the drinking water. I tell them Chicago supplies drinking water to the city and some suburbs, the MWRD only treats wastewater and manages storm water. We take it after you flush. People who are worried about lead in their water should get it tested.
WCT: Where do you see the MWRD going in the coming years and how will that impact the work you do should you win re-election?
DS: A big task is our search for a new executive director. Also, we will see two or three, out of nine total, new board members when our term begins in December. It will be a culture shift.
The district has been on the path to become a resource recovery agency. I support that, but we need to look closely at what the benefits and costs are and make sure we understand it fully and commit ourselves to it if there is wide agreement.
WCT: What was your reaction to the UN report that said the planet only has 12 years to get climate change under control in light of the current political situation in this country?
DS: The Trump administration's attempt to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords is a tragic mistake because our time is limited. Much of the activity, innovation and efforts to address climate change are occurring at the local and regional levels. National policy is going to be key but our agency, at my instigation, in July 2017 adopted a resolution stating that we will seek to meet the goals greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Our agency has set a path to become energy neutral in seven or eight years by increasing the production of biogas and finding ways to use less energy. We will strive to continue to be leaders in our region. I intend to work with a clear sense of urgency by communicating about it to the people we serve.
WCT: Why should water issues be on voters radar screens?
DS: We are deeply fortunate to have access to Lake Michigan water. The Great Lakes hold about 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water. This is an environmental, strategic and economic asset and we need to be caring and careful stewards of this precious resource. We need to plan for our future in a way that is smart and acknowledges that we can continue to grow and have a robust economy because of our access to freshwater.
WCT: What do you have to say about the state of national politics right now?
DS: The strength, resilience and survival of our democracy depends on an engaged and informed electorate. The 2016 election results have shown us just how fragile our democratic system is. Currently, we do not have the three branches of government working as checks on each other and that is deeply troubling.
I am prepared to work as hard as I can for as long as I can to restore civility, trust and faith in our government which means faith in ourselves to work through our problems together, to be our most generous and kind selves.
WCT: Has your status as an out lesbian candidate impacted your campaign during this election cycle?
DS: I am aware that one's sexual orientation or gender identity has been made an issue in other campaigns this year and in the past, but I have not seen that expressed in my own campaign.
WCT: If you had to tell voters why they should choose you in a few sentences, what would those be?
DS: I have been the leading conservation advocate at the MWRD since late 2006 and I want to continue to provide that strong advocacy. I am proud of my record of bringing disinfection to several large treatment plants and working to pass a pharmaceutical collection ordinance by the Cook County board to provide safe, secure collection sites for people to dispose of their unused and expired medicine. I am currently working to establish an independent inspector general for the MWRD.
To read more about how Shore stands on the issues, visit www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/ELECTIONS-2018-Water-Reclamation-Debra-Shore-discusses-plans-during-a-third-term/61568.html .
See more Windy City Times 2018 candidate interviews and election coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gaynewsarticles.php .