Full name: Laura LV King
Which office are you looking for? Johnsburg Village Trustee
What is your political party? Republicans
What is your current age? 47
Employment and employer: Police Officer, McHenry County Conservation District
What offices, if any, have you previously held? REACH
Education: Doctor of Philosophy- Psychology- Capella University, Minneapolis, MN
Master of Science- Psychology- Capella University, Minneapolis, MN
Bachelor of Arts- Criminal Justice Management and Administration- Judson University, Elgin IL
Community involvement: Johnsburg Economic Development Committee – member and volunteer
Johnsburg Area Business Association- Past President and Volunteer
Johnsburg Lions- Active member and volunteer
John the Baptist – Catechist and Volunteer
Pistakee Yacht Club- Secretary and volunteer
Fox Waterway Agency- Advisory Board member and volunteer
McHenry County Child Advocacy Center – Past Board Member (2012-2021)
Marital status/immediate family: I am married to Keith Von Allmen. I have two sons and three stepchildren.
Why are you running for office?
I think what makes Johnsburg an incredible place are the people who live here. I am running because I believe the board should represent the community and value their voice in decision making. Additionally, with nearly three decades of experience working for local government, I feel I have an informed perspective that will serve taxpayers well on issues of community growth and fiscal responsibility. I believe in transparency in government operations and the governing body’s responsibility to communicate to taxpayers about important issues. I am passionate about helping others and making the community a better place. These are the reasons I am running for local office.
What makes you qualified for the office you are seeking?
I have worked in local government for almost three decades. During this time I have learned about municipal operations, working with local partners and serving people. I also travel around the country speaking as a subject matter expert on culture change for government organizations. I know how to work as part of a team to achieve optimal performance. I have demonstrated my commitment to the Village of Johnsburg through more than 10 years of active volunteering on the Village Committee and other local organizations. I have a PhD in psychology which helps me understand people and what they need to solve problems successfully. I also have exceptional communication skills which I believe will be an asset to the Board. These qualities, and many others, combine to make me a well-qualified candidate for Village Trustee.
What’s your take on the Illinois gun ban that went into effect in January 2023?
I oppose any legislation that compromises the rights protected for the American people by the US Constitution.
Is crime a problem in your community and if so, what would you do to curb it?
In this day and age, a crime-free place simply does not exist. Johnsburg has some crime and that is a problem. I am very happy with the police services in our community and know that our police force works proactively to solve problems at the lowest possible level. This helps ensure that we don’t see bigger problems. To continue efforts to control and reduce crime, I will continue to support police operations to ensure we have a proactive policing model. I will seek technology-based solutions that help our police do their jobs more effectively. I would also encourage the police department to continue to prioritize police/community relations so that we have officers who know our community members and community members who know our officers. Through efforts like these, police and the community can work together to prevent crime and keep Johnsburg safe.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I think we did a better job locally than we did nationally or as a state, but I still think the pandemic was handled poorly as a whole. Businesses such as liquor stores and fast food restaurants were deemed essential and allowed to remain open, while churches, schools and health clubs were forced to close. I know the local government had minimal control over the governor’s orders and understand on many issues there was little they could do. Despite my disappointment with how things were handled in general, several things were done well when it came to local control matters. I want to talk about some of the things that were done right locally. I’m glad Johnsburg didn’t send our police out to harass local businesses and residents like some other cities did. The local schools made an effort to interact with students from a safe distance and try to keep spirits up, which was beautiful. Local charities and voluntary organizations also joined together to identify the needs of both residents and small businesses to create an action plan and help people in need. I’m excited about the Johnsburg Bucks initiative that was created to help people transition from living in quarantine to getting back into our small businesses and supporting their operations. I think sometimes all you can do is the best you can do with things under your control. From that perspective, I think Johnsburg did a good job.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned how powerful our government really is. I learned that the voice of the media is influential and can be used to motivate people in both good and bad ways. I learned that when people are afraid, the ability to make good decisions is compromised. I learned that the government will sometimes overstep boundaries if you let them. I learned as a parent to speak up for my children and trust my ability to make decisions that I feel are in their best interest, even when it goes against the grain. I learned that groups of people can come together and support each other even in the most challenging times. I also learned that it is never too late to take corrective action and start moving forward again.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
To promote economic development in the village of Johnsburg, I will work to ensure that the village provides support to people who are exploring opportunities to bring new businesses to the area. We must ensure that infrastructure is available throughout our borough to optimize the potential for commercial enterprise development. I also think that creating a tax incentive or rebate program would be helpful to support small businesses in allowing them to get through the challenging and expensive first few years of operation. Additionally, the Village of Johnsburg would be well served to have a staff member working to recruit businesses that would be a good fit for our area to Johnsburg. These recommendations are based on my experience as a member of the Economic Development Committee over the past six years.
Would/can/should local authorities do something to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
Yes. Local governments should always explore ways to reduce the tax burden on residents. At times this can look like creating improved services that result in a saving to the taxpayer in other areas, ensuring that people get good value and a high level of service for their tax dollars. Other times, local governments should explore grants and other funding options to offset the costs of infrastructure, development and improvements as a way to ensure that these expenses do not become the responsibility of taxpayers. In addition, local governments are able to request tax deferrals from other tax authorities when appropriate to facilitate local growth and redirect the tax burden on residents. All options should be explored and new and creative ways of bringing revenue into local government beyond the tax base should be something that local authorities diligently pursue.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower the tax burden on residents?
While it is important to ensure that local governments provide a fair and impartial process for all legal businesses seeking the opportunity to open within a jurisdiction, it is also important to maintain the sense of community and small-town, family-friendly environment , we have here in Johnsburg. Tax revenue is not the only thing to consider when determining whether a business is a good fit for a community. There are many things in life that are more important than money.
What projects or infrastructure would you tackle in your community and how would you do it?
One of the projects I would like to see is the continued development/improvement of our downtown neighborhood. This will include ensuring that infrastructure is available to accommodate a variety of businesses. It will also be necessary to ensure space for sufficient public parking and pedestrian access to the entire downtown area. I would also like to see a multi-purpose park in the same areas so people of all ages can come together and enjoy our beautiful green space while having access to charming small town amenities in our historic downtown area. I would do this by looking for infrastructure and development grants to secure funding for large projects. For smaller projects, I would work with local stakeholders to gauge community interest in business types that would meet the needs of local residents. I will then revisit the pre-existing urban development plan to ensure it is still relevant and see where there are opportunities for progress. I would work with local property owners to get their input and buy-in to the plan. These efforts will get people excited about working together to bring prosperity, growth and development to our downtown neighborhood.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes of course.
What is your stance on open, transparent government?
I think that is the only way for a government to function. Government is here to serve the people and it should have no secrets. Fair and impartial processes are the mandate that all local governments should follow. It is important that government practices are impeccable and that people are able to see the inner workings of the system so that they can have confidence in their local elected officials. Transparency is one of the easiest ways to ensure that elected officials work for the people and not for themselves.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and the ability of citizens to freely access public records?
Yes, I support the Freedom of Information Act. For several years I worked as a FOIA officer for one of my employers. I am familiar with the act and people’s rights to access public information.
Would you sign a confidentiality agreement with a potential business that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
This is a complicated matter. While I would love to say no to this, there may be times when it is in the community’s best interest for a nondisclosure agreement to be signed during the conceptual visioning portion of the process. The reason for an agreement like this is not to hide anything from society, but to allow the exploratory process with a potential company to take place without interference from outside parties. Once formal plans are presented, these documents become a public record and will be available to the public. I know there are times when large companies ask for non-disclosure agreements in the exploratory stages when they are doing research to determine if the local location would be a good fit. Under these circumstances, a nondisclosure agreement may be the best way for the local government to allow a deeper level of exploration without allowing outside influences to corrupt the process.