Sheila Rutledge in her own words.
It has been a great experience representing the people of District 6! After the 2018 election I went to work for the people of my district. I am proud to say that a couple of the things I have accomplished so far will be felt not only in my district but county wide.
Last year, in the midst of the pandemic I was able to finally get a hen keeping ordinance passed in our unincorporated areas. I was the 3rd board member in 28 years to attempt this and with the help of my fellow board members we got it done with a unanimous vote. Now, people in unincorporated areas can have up to 5 hens and have the security of knowing they have protein in their own backyard!
Since last summer I have set up donation areas for diapers, wipes, formula and feminine care products. Those type of goods were not being sourced to our food pantries and I made a difference there. I also worked to give an additional $5,000 of CARES Act money to each township to purchase diapers, wipes and formula for their food pantries. These items were in high demand and I am doing what I can to help with that need. Currently I am working on Amazon wish lists for the food pantries serving our district for those items that will be delivered straight to the food pantry! For most of my term I have been taking new children’s books, supplied by SCARCE to our local food pantries and helped SCARCE set up “Libraries at the Laundromat” where a small bookshelf gives kids something to do for the couple hours they are there and they can take a book home.
I was happy to direct $300,000 to arts organizations in DuPage during the worst of the pandemic. As a citizen member of the Arts DuPage board we worked together to get those much needed funds to those holding on until they can reopen and welcome us back for entertainment.
I began my chairmanship of the Environmental committee in December and am happy to work with our great staff and partners like Kay McKeen at SCARCE to implement changes to our county that benefit our environment. Just last week we passed the Dark Skies Resolution that will help birds and wildlife that are harmed by urban lighting. With Kay’s help we are looking into food scrap recycling and being more environmentally friendly at the county. I have advocated for the last couple years that the county stop spending so much money maintaining turf grass. We spend about $200,00 a year to cut and maintain grass that does nothing for pollinators that are in crisis. I hope to work with the rest of the county to be sure we are all doing all we can to protect our planet. The one upside to Covid is it did seem to show us a better way.
I have consistently voted against decades long appointments to various committees by our chairman and look to find candidates with our democratic ideals to get involved. Recently I lead my caucus in voting against an appointee who was first appointed in 1981! Time for others to step up and serve.
I ran on a platform of using tiny houses as a solution for the affordable housing problem in DuPage. The idea has gained support but it is really zoning laws that are holding back that effort. I will continue to advocate for those ideas on the Development Committee as well as Economic Development. Affordable housing IS an economic driver!
District 6 is the largest of all districts because of Fermi Lab and the many forest preserves. I have 6 townships with precincts in my district. Most districts have 4 or less. I stay in touch with 4 of those 5 and check in on the others a couple times a year. I work to pass along any news through my social media presence to support their efforts.
The other committees that I have the honor of serving are Technology, Animal Services, Finance, Economic Development, Development, Strategic Planning and the Redistricting Committee to draw new districts for the county.