Interview by Lisle Township Democratic Organization: Lets start with smart Dawn DeSart…
Dawn is running in District 5, our township’s largest district, covering portions of Naperville, Lisle, Woodridge, Warrenville and even parts of Aurora!
Susan: What made you decide to take the step to run for the board?
Dawn: Some of my friends in the various Democratic groups I’m involved in suggested that I run for the DuPage County Board in District 5. I really had no intention of running, but I invited Liz Chaplin to my home to talk about the Board and about her experiences. She was very encouraging. At the same time, she seemed discouraged that she was the lone Democrat fighting for progressive issues on the Board. The DuPage County Board is an organization which is run through Committees. Liz told me that Dan Cronin (the Republican Chairman of the Board), selects who will Chair each committee; and on which committee each Board member sits. Without a majority, Democrats have little say in our County’s government. I decided to take on the challenge.
Susan: What in your background makes you especially prepared or motivated for this office?
Dawn: I am a five-time Emmy award winning journalist. My research skills are excellent. I also served on the Indian Prairie School District 204 Board of Education, where I used my research skills and interviewing skills to ask the tough questions others couldn’t/didn’t.
Susan: Impressive! And how long have you lived in DuPage, and in District 5? What concerns you most therein?
Dawn: I have only lived in DuPage County for two years. Prior to that, I’ve lived in south Naperville (in Will County) for most of my life. I’m a local girl, a graduate from Waubonsie Valley High School in IPSD 204, so I’ve been in the area for a very loooong time.
What concerns me most is making sure the County doesn’t cut much-needed programs for constituents; responsible spending of resources and representation, making sure the Board looks like the rest of DuPage County (ideally, 50%+ Democrats and 50%+ female).
Susan: How do you feel you compare against Republican candidates, what difference in policy decisions would you have?
Dawn: I don’t feel the need to compare myself to the Republican candidates. Frankly, I don’t know them, and have only met them on a couple of occasions. I’m running my own race to the best of my ability. I can show voters that I have succeeded at Board work: IPSD 204 is the fourth largest school district in Illinois, with 28,000 students and a budget of $343M. (The DuPage County Board’s budget is $450M.) I served on that Board during an extremely austere time, when the state was cutting funding for school districts. We had to cut $30M+ from the budget at that time, yet I believe I was instrumental in saving middle school sports and the music program district wide through listening, compromising and finding alternate ways to provide these valuable extra-curricular activities.
Susan: All of that is so helpful. Now, how can we most help you get elected?
Dawn: In general: Get out the vote!
More specifically, walk with me during Naperville’s Labor Day Parade. The “DeSart for DuPage” group is position #74 out of 90 entries. I would love to have a large presence with families, kids, wagons, balloons, etc.
Then, in September and October, invite me … invite several candidates to your home … invite some friends and neighbors…. put on some coffee … and let’s talk. (Heck, I’ll bring the coffee!) One on one conversation is the best way to make people want to go to the polls.
Susan: Anything else you want our readers to know?
Dawn: My website is desartfordupage.com. Check it out. See what I stand for. If you like what you see, please reach out to me: If you’re a PC, I’ve got lit to be walked, I’ll drop it off anywhere. If you’re not a walker, invite some folks over, and I’ll be there!
You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-804-8688. Thank you for reading this!