Liz Chaplin’s political involvement began on a summer day in 2001. As she watched her three children play in their wading pool, she wondered whether the water could have been tainted by a spill of hazardous chemicals at the Lockformer Co. in Lisle. When a test of the family’s well water found it indeed was contaminated, Liz didn’t think twice.
She got involved.
After alerting her neighbors to the danger, Liz collected signatures to demand safe drinking water for their neighborhood and she worked with the DuPage Water Commission to make sure her family and her neighbors received safe water.
And they did.
County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom was so impressed by Chaplin’s advocacy he appointed Liz to the Water Commission in 2002 and reappointed her in 2004. From the beginning of her tenure on the Water Commission, Liz Chaplin asked tough and insightful questions rather than meekly accepting the status quo. She questioned the commission’s budget presentations, spending practices and office ethics.
When the recession hit in 2008, Liz foresaw that the Water Commission would face an impending shortfall, due to its reliance on sales tax revenue and its long-standing practice of selling water to municipalities for less than was being paid to the City of Chicago. The incumbent insiders attempted to shrug of Chaplin’s concerns – and sweep everything under the rug – however Liz stood her ground and her views were eventually vindicated. Liz’s advocacy and willingness to stand up against the powers that be enhanced the transparency and fiscal integrity of the DuPage County Water Commission.
In 2012, Liz was elected to the DuPage County Board, receiving the most votes among the four candidates on the ballot in District Two.
Liz is serving on the County Board with the same tenacity she displayed on the Water Commission. Liz has relentlessly challenged back room dealing making, excessive salaries and benefits for elected officials, lucrative contracts for the associates of connected insiders, and the practice of allowing campaign contributions from vendors doing business with the County. Prohibiting vendor contributions to elected officials was one of the positive changes that came to Downers Grove in 2007 and Liz thinks it is unfortunate that the County won’t follow this same practice.
Liz Chaplin’s philosophy is that government needs to be frugal and fiscally responsible while providing needed services which include education, public safety, quality infrastructure and human services. When tax dollars are spent lining the pockets of those connected with the insider elite, government cannot afford to do what needs to be done.
Liz describes her style of leadership as “about doing what’s right and in the best interest of the taxpayers” and she acknowledges sometimes we need “to shake up the apple cart to get things done.”
“What really makes me different from a lot of other elected officials is that I really do enjoy working with my constituents,” Liz says. “I talk with them, engage them on the issues and attend meetings. Too many officials are pro-business or pro-special interests, but not pro-individuals and pro-small groups. That’s the biggest difference between them and me.”