Name & Age:
Ajaz A. Gill
Jaime J. Olson
Immediate Family: Gill- Wife and three sons, Olson- Husband and two children Ransom- Husband and one son.
Current Occupation: Gill- Founder of MDI and Nascent Group, Olson- Labor and employment lawyer, Ransom- Business analyst consultant with The William Everett Group.
Political Party: Bolingbrook United
1) Why have you decided to run for office in the Village of Bolingbrook Trustee race?
We are running for Village Trustee in Bolingbrook because we want to bring new ideas and leadership to our community. The current administration has been in power for over thirty years. In that time Bolingbrook has seen substantial growth, but it has also seen over $300 million in debt accumulated with no long term planning driving the accumulation of that debt, an increase in utility prices, a significantly smaller bounce back in home prices since the recession, and a government that has not made its citizens feel as though everyone is welcome in our community. We want to change that by instituting long term planning for the Village, reforming our current utility approaches, and making government reflect Bolingbrook’s community. The three of us together have the experience, knowledge, and the ideas needed to make Bolingbrook an even better place to live and work. Because of that, we feel a duty to serve our community through public service.
2) According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018, 19.2% of Bolingbrook residents are African-American, 25.9% are Latinos, and 11.9% are Asian-American. Additionally, almost 24% of Bolingbrook’s population is foreign-born, while an estimated 5,000 thousand families in Bolingbrook is believed to have at least one undocumented member. What do you think is the role of local government in protecting the rights of immigrants? And what role do you believe immigrants play at the local level? (Note that this is a two-part question).
This country was founded on the principle that government should be “for the people and by the people”. That means all of the people it represents. Bolingbrook government has to live up to this principal and that means working to make sure that the rights of immigrants and native born members of the community have to be protected. If the government sees that the rights that have been enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, the State of Illinois constitution, the village charter, or any other statutory document are being violated, it is duty bound to take steps to enforce the rules that we have all agreed to follow through our desire to be free, prosperous, and safe all at the same time. As for the role of immigrants at the local level; this is a nation of immigrants. One of our trustee candidates, Ajaz Gill, is an immigrant to this country. He came here with only $3,500 in his pocket and built thriving businesses, patented numerous inventions, raised a wonderful family, and is a pillar of the community. Bolingbrook, and Bolingbrook United, would be lessened without his presence. And Ajaz’s story isn’t a new or particular novel one.
The stories of immigrants pulling themselves up and enriching their community are the literal actual story of America itself. The overwhelming majority of people in this country are the product of their parents, their great-great-great-great grandparent, or any generation in between coming to this country and becoming part of the American story. It’s our history, it’s our triumph, and it’s the very lifeblood of everything we have done and will do.
3) As you are probably aware, next year the Census will take place nationwide and will determine the allocation of resources to communities. What do you think the Village can do to ensure that all the residents of Bolingbrook, including immigrants, participate in the 2020 Census?
The Census is insanely important. It isn’t just a thing we do so that we can update the population numbers on the signs coming into town. Census numbers are used to determine everything from congressional representation to how much transportation infrastructure money is made available from state and federal sources. Almost every decision the government makes includes some consideration of the Census and what it tells us. We need to make a push at the village level to make sure that everyone is counted so that we can make the case that Bolingbrook deserves stronger and better consideration than it gets.
So our slate would of course want the village to spend resources on ensuring that the entire population of Bolingbrook participated in the 2020 Census. At the village needs to invest in a public awareness campaign to explain what it is and to make sure that all the information collected from our residents is confidential. Because that’s what money spent on increasing census awareness is…an investment. To not work to make sure that the census numbers accurately show the large and diverse population of Bolingbrook, is akin to leaving money on the table because we can’t be bothered to pick it up.
4) Last year in the month of May, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids in to our community here in Bolingbrook. Many parents were afraid to leave their homes or take their children to school out of fear of having their families separated. Do you support a Welcoming Village Ordinance, that would make it village policy for police and all village departments to not cooperate with ICE unless there is a signed warrant from a Judge? Why or why not? (Note that this is a two-part question).
We support the rule of law in Bolingbrook. That means a couple of things. First, it means relying on the advice that our local police force would give us. They are the ones on the front lines of executing and enforcing the laws, codes, and rules that govern our country, state, and village. So their advice is key to understanding and navigating these issues. But, it also means remembering that there is a coequal part of our government that determines, in many cases, how those officers enforce those laws, codes, and rules. That branch being the courts made up of judges who are well versed in the law and are more than capable of adjudicating how it is enforced.
Our stance is that both of those entities have to work together. It is unacceptable for any part of the government to not follow the rules that we have all agreed to follow. One of those rules is that arrests and detainment have to have either a warrant from a judge or probable cause. Government has to above all else follow the rules. Allowing the government to ignore one rule for expediencies sake opens the door for it to ignore any rule for expediencies sake. We would be willing to work with the police and local communities to explore options to make sure that those rules and agreements are being upheld. But making the community safer and welcoming for all its residents means that all levels of government have to work together honestly and openly. We would seek to help make that openness a reality.