Anyone really can be president, says Denise Winfrey (S3E14)

As she wraps up her year as president of the National Association of County’s. Will County Illinois commissioner Denise Winfrey talks about how she likes to encourage the next generation of leaders. So ladies, this show is for you, she hopes somewhere she is inspiring someone out there to be the first woman president.

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Denise Winfrey: Good government to me is service to the people the way that they need it, the way that they want it, when they want it. So field provide services, whatever that is, whether it’s health come, many of our counties provide health services, whether it’s transportation, it’s whatever it happens to be, be able to make sure that all the residents are able to access that and have what they need when they need it.

Well, one of the things they should know is and unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really know what counties do. They don’t really know what their city council does or even their state legislatures. And that’s unfortunate in this country that people are not as conversant about the different levels of government as it should be. There’s a need to remember that a lot of the services they depend on come from that government, whether it’s county, city, state, etc., come from that government, and they have the right and the responsibility to hold us accountable.

David Martin: Welcome to the Good Government show. I’m Dave Martin. And you’re about to hear a conversation with the boss, and that’s Denise Winfrey. She’s the president of the National Association of Counties for 2023. And we met up with her at a recent legislative conference in Washington, D.C. President Winfrey is also the county commissioner in Will County, and that’s just outside of Chicago.

Joliet is the biggest city there. She’s a member of the women of Naco, the National Organization of Black County Officials, Nico’s membership committee, and she’s on the NACO board of directors. President Denise Winfrey dedicated her 2023 term as president to the Rise movement that’s promoting resiliency, inclusion, solvency and empowerment at Rise. Part of that is getting the word out about the success of county government, and that’s something we certainly support here at the Good Government show.

Part of the RISE program is helping residents improve their economic mobility opportunities, and it’s getting leaders educational resources to help make more informed decisions. And it turns out she’s become an amateur plumber. So join me for my conversation with Commissioner Janice Winfrey. That’s President Denise Winfrey. And that’s coming up right after the break.

The good government show is sponsored by NACO. That’s the National Association of Counties. County Government is actually the oldest form of government in the United States, and it touches more people directly. Roads, highways, hospitals, schools, recycling law enforcement, water and sewers. In most of the country, those services are maintained by the county that’s county government. Naco is a nationwide organization that represents all 3069 counties across the U.S. Naco helps county government work better together through things like sharing best practices.

Because when county government works well, well, that’s just good government.

Welcome to a conversation with Ted. Today’s conversation is with Denise Winfree, who is a county commissioner in Real County, Illinois, and she is also the president, the current president of NACO, the National Association of Counties. Welcome. It’s great to have you here.

Denise Winfrey: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

David Martin: So first, tell me a little bit about your Naco background. Ed, you’re the president. That’s a big job.

Denise Winfrey: It is a big job. And I’m the president now. But the way that I came into this is I joined the county board in May of 2009, got involved with Naco. In July of this same year, a fellow commissioner said, You got to get involved. We produce, you be a part of it, got involved, chaired some other committees, some of the steering committees at Naco, involved in a lot of the task forces and decided that, hey, I think I want to be president.

So I ran for second vice president, which is the only office we elect to. Okay. So if you win that, you’re making the commitment to be second vice president, then first then president, then immediate past president. So I’m now halfway through my term. I can and as the.

David Martin: Sheriff, I was kind of walking.

Denise Winfrey: By. I can who is Kenneth Wilson is the county administrator, Franklin County, Ohio, which is Columbus greater area. All right.

David Martin: So so I guess, you know, everybody.

Denise Winfrey: I know a lot of people. I’ve been here 14 years, so I know a lot of people.

David Martin: County Commissioner is a is a difficult enough job. What made you decide to be as active in Naco? So your focus isn’t just on, you know, your local wheel county in Illinois, but you have really have to look at what’s going on in every county across America.

Denise Winfrey: Don’t you have to look at what’s going on in 3069 counties, parishes and boroughs across America?

David Martin: Yes, I stand corrected.

Denise Winfrey: And that is and that is exactly the job. But it is a job that this organization is 87 years old. And in the history of this organization, only one other woman of color has ever been the president. So I wanted to change that. I want to and in my life I’ve been versed in a lot of things, but somebody always has to do that.

So here I wanted to be the one who made the door open so that other women of color in this organization would feel like they could accede to the presidency. And so it has happened.

David Martin: So other women, other women of color.

Denise Winfrey: Other women, people of color, Other women of color, women and men of color. Yeah, they have had white women.

David Martin: Okay.

Denise Winfrey: And plenty of white men and not women of color. Only one other. And that was 70 years, 79. So from then until now.

David Martin: How have you met that person?

Denise Winfrey: Know she was long gone before I got here.

David Martin: Okay, so why is that important to you?

Denise Winfrey: It’s important to me because I want young girls to know that they can be where I am. I come from an ordinary background. My dad was a teacher. My mother is a housewife and worked in the local politics, you know, that kind of thing. We’re not from a fancy family or anything like that. And still I’m here, so I want them to know that they too, can be here.

It’s the same thing I say when I go into schools to speak, and I have friends who are principals and I go in for career days, you can get where I am regardless of where you started, but you have to know that it’s possible. And one of the ways you know that is possible is if you can see somebody who looks like you and that’s fine.

And so it’s important to me that they be able to see somebody who looks like them in those places so they can understand that they can get there. It may be a struggle. It may not be the easiest role and they may be the first one, which is always hard as all get out. But it can happen.

David Martin: What was the hardest part of your struggle to get that.

Denise Winfrey: To get here for? As for Naco, it wasn’t as hard as you would have thought. One of the things for women being president. Nichols, you’re on the road a lot. So a lot of women look at that and say, Oh, I got to be gone. I got to take care of the kids. I got to do this. I got to do that or do the other.

Yeah, I’m older, I’m divorced. You know, my daughter’s grown. You know, I got no.

David Martin: Husbands.

Denise Winfrey: Away. I got nothing. So, you know, I’m just here, so I got plenty of time on my hands. And that makes it a lot easier for me to do what needs to be done. When people call and they want you to be at this state or that state or the urban League says, can you speak? Or the school says, Can you be on our program to talk to the kids about what they can achieve?

Or whoever it is, it’s a lot easier for me to do that than it would be for some other women. And I know that that’s a piece of it for women, especially if they’re younger because they’ve got children at home, they’ve got different responsibilities and I have to as an older woman.

David Martin: So tell me a little bit about what’s going on in Weld County. What’s what’s what are your what are your issues there? What are you dealing with there?

Denise Winfrey: Will Carney is in the process of doing really major upgrades and renovations. We have a couple of three older areas.

David Martin: Well, County, this is a Chicago suburb.

Denise Winfrey: This is a Chicago. Several counties considered a county of Chicago or a Cook County. And that’s because if you think of Cook in the middle, the all the counties ringing that are called counties are we’re one of those. We’re county of 700,000 in our own right. So we’re not a small suburb. We are a big county and very heavily metro.

Some rural areas still some generation no farms, but very much an urban area.

David Martin: There you represent what’s the what’s that area?

Denise Winfrey: The area that I represent is District six in rural county, and it is an older area of the city. It is in the qualified census tract. There are a lot of areas in that district that have been overlooked for years in terms of funding upgrades, the kinds of things that make quality of life better for the people who live there.

So one of the task is to upgrade those things. So one of the things we’re doing with ARPA funding in areas invest is investing in those communities to begin to upgrade, because what we recognize is the upgrade those areas that may split not only that community better, but in Mesa County overall better, which means it is more attractive for people wanting to come into the area.

David Martin: One of the things one hears about in Chicago nationally is a crime problem. Has that crept into your area as well?

Denise Winfrey: We are now seeing that in the way that some other urban areas are, which is good because we have had a lot of turnover post-pandemic in terms of our shares, police not having the staffing levels that we need to have or want to have for that. So hopefully people don’t catch on to that and say, oh, there’s nobody watching.

But we have not we’re not seeing you know.

David Martin: It’s outside.

Denise Winfrey: The city. It is not. You’re not seeing homicides on a regular basis. You’re now seeing smash and grabs or the carjackings or some of the things you hear about in some of the larger metro areas.

David Martin: What is the number one issue you face there?

Denise Winfrey: Our number one issue is being able to actually. One is.

David Martin: No, you only get one.

Denise Winfrey: Only in one. Okay.

David Martin: All right.

Denise Winfrey: So the number two in is going to be the broadband issue because it affects not only the homes, it affects businesses, the schools, all of that getting quality broadband upload, download speeds that allow everybody in the county to be on and using it at the level that they need to. That’s one. But the other is around. Our housing is a really major issue for us and being able to offer people housing that they can afford that’s livable, that you would want to live in so they can be able to go about their daily lives is a big thing.

We are the largest in the important North America, and so we have a lot of jobs in our area, but we don’t have workforce housing.

David Martin: Is it affordable housing? Is it middle class housing? Is it upper middle class housing? Is it lower class?

Denise Winfrey: We have a lot of upper middle class housing. But for the middle class person, ordinary working and rank and file and young people, rank and file first timers. You know, first apartments, first whatever, homes. We don’t have the we don’t have the staff. We don’t have the housing units and the ones that are there. Speculators are coming in, buying them up, older, single family homes.

Right. So upgrading them a little bit and then doubling the price on them, especially the rental prices. Homes they used to rent for $900,000 a month. These are postwar bungalows, three bedroom, small, you know, little cubbies are now renting for 2500.

David Martin: When I think about that.

Denise Winfrey: What we can do about that is, one, we need to pay closer attention to who’s buying the property. And obviously, a homeowner can sell to anybody they want. But what we’re seeing is the speculators come in and they’re going to mom and pop, grandma and grandpa. You know what? Aren’t you tired of paying these taxes every year by.

David Martin: Changing your neighborhood.

Denise Winfrey: Hood? You know, nobody around here looks like you. They’re all younger, They’re all different looking, whatever. And we can buy you out. You can go and had retired Florida and they give them really what amounts to a pittance for the house. They slap go through white paint all the way through so it’s fresh looks and and then they double the rest, you know, they rent it out.

And so we have one or two groups that own like the majority of the rental property. Mom and Pop had a four unit that they were using for their income. Now that belongs to the same speculator in the market. And they, you know, doubled the apartment rentals. And they’re not huge fancy places. They’re thousands, 1500 square foot homes.

They’re studio apartments, all kinds of places like that. But they’re buying them off. And a person coming into the market wanting to rent has to go to them or they can’t get anything because they’ve got all the market, all the available stacked corners.

David Martin: You said one of the things you can do is pay attention to who’s buying the properties, right? What else can you do?

Denise Winfrey: What are the other things you can do is start to invest in housing as a county, to put some money into communities where they are older. Housing?

David Martin: Yeah.

Denise Winfrey: Or older stock. Upgrade them yourselves, do some things, upgrade the area, make it more attractive so the people living there feel better about it. Stay there and the other people look at it and see it as attractive. You could walk, bike past you do give them money to upgrade with a new roof. See me landscaping. They need sidewalk improvements, all the things to make a neighborhood more attractive so that others can come in.

And then you can put together programs that help for younger people. First job, whatever they can get the money they need to help, be able to get them in, whether it’s down payments or it’s first and last most cars is to get them into those places so that they can afford to come in. You know, you can involve employers in the area.

We have a lot of major employers in the area who could put some money into a fund that would help those people be able to get into those houses, have the money to buy them, rent them at reasonable prices.

David Martin: You’re not the first person I’ve spoken to here at this conference to talk about housing as a problem. What are you seeing nationally with this housing challenge?

Denise Winfrey: We’re seeing housing.

David Martin: That a fair word challenge.

Denise Winfrey: Is challenged and it is a challenge and is a challenge in different ways in different parts of the country. Right. But a challenge across the country. As a matter of fact, we kicked off a housing task force in November of this year to begin to look at all the different facets of that property, of that problem, because in different areas it’s different.

Denise Winfrey: In some areas where it’s more resort, like you may have a Raider population of 20,000 that piece your base that pays for things. But during the tourist season, their population may go to 40, 45,000. So those people are easier electricity. They’re using your water, these new broadband, they’re using your waste services, but they’re not putting money into your tax base.

You want to keep them coming because you need the money they’re spending in restaurants and whatever.

David Martin: Sure.

Denise Winfrey: But you also need some sort of way to offset the cost of having them come. So that’s a problem in some areas. For some areas it’s older stock. For some areas there’s just no sound old or new stock at all and no land to build it on. So a multitude of different private problems with respect to housing, depending on where you are in the country, but not a place that I’ve seen yet that doesn’t have some issue tied to housing.

David Martin: So what do you do for fun? You you you’re president of Naco, so you’re nationally engaged. You’ve got local issues in Real County, in Joliet. What do you do for fun?

Denise Winfrey: I’m a reader and I love mysteries. My idea was schoolteachers, how we came from that. I know, but I love to read and I love people. I like to be out mixing and mingling and just enjoying all the areas. And I have all kinds of hobbies. My mother was a homemaker major in school, so I learned all the domestic stuff.

I can do things I don’t even remember half. But what I love is either reading mysteries or being out mixing with people. I enjoy those the most.

David Martin: When you go to the grocery store, do people like Stop you all the time.

Denise Winfrey: And and that is the life of a county commissioner, is that you? And it doesn’t matter if you shop in your own neighborhood or you go to another neighborhood.

David Martin: People know like, Oh, I’ve got to go to the Whole Foods to sales. That doesn’t work.

Denise Winfrey: People know who you are and you have town halls in the meat department because somebody stops you. Oh, hey. Hi. How you doing? Oh, you know, by the way, this happened or did you know that they’re doing this or that on this street down here, the grocery store, yard, goods, clothing stores. You go to see a concert theater?

Hey, how you doing? Oh, by the.

David Martin: Way, let me ask you.

Denise Winfrey: Yeah.

David Martin: Do you mind?

Denise Winfrey: Not really, no. I don’t. But what I do mind is the fact that our federal legislators and state legislators very often don’t recognize that because they think, Oh, sorry, that’s all right. They will take their distance from it. So they recognize that we are seeing the problems face to face all day, every day, everywhere we go. He stopped off his school, picked them up from an activity, and another parent says, hey, by the way, you know, or whatever, or you come inside for something.

There is always something where you go to church, people stop you on the way out. You know, there’s you’re always face to face with the issues, good or bad. Yeah, but for a state, you’re removed for federal even further move. And for those people who haven’t worked in county government before, they put ideas in place or plans because they’re the higher level and don’t recognize what the impact is one on one in the counties.

David Martin: The researcher which brings me to our questionnaire. Here’s our first question. What is good government to you? What is as as NACO president, as a district councilwoman, What is good government is.

Denise Winfrey: Good government to me is service to the people the way that they need it, the way that they want it, when they want it. So be able to provide services, whatever that is, whether it’s health come. Many of our counties provide health services, whether it’s transportation, it’s whatever it happens to be, being able to make sure that all the residents are able to access that and have what they need when they need it.

David Martin: As an elected official, what do you use as your personal yardstick to know that you’re providing good government to not just the people who voted for you, but the people who perhaps didn’t vote for you? What I’m saying is how do you hold yourself accountable?

Denise Winfrey: One of the ways that I do that is by who comes up to me. If people who didn’t vote for me and I know they didn’t vote for me because, you know, I know them, I’m serving in an area where I’ve lived for most of my life. Yeah. If they’re willing to talk to me about what’s going on or they say comes to me, you know, I saw what you did was such and such.

I really like that. That says to me, I’m on track. So when they are willing to say to talk to me at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, at the theater, wherever it happens to be, about what they see, what they like about what’s going on, how much they appreciate this thing or that thing or the other that says to me, I’m on track.

David Martin: So it goes back to being at the church, at the restaurant, at the theater, at the grocery store. People come up to you and they let you know.

Denise Winfrey: They do let you know.

David Martin: How do you how do the constituents again, the voters, the citizens, how do they know if they’re getting good government? What you know, what should they know?

Denise Winfrey: Well, one of the things they should know is and unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really know what counties do. They don’t really know what their city council does or even the state legislatures. And this unfortunate in this country that people are not as conversant about the different levels of government as it should be. But one of the ways they know if they are getting what they should get, if I’m an individual sitting at home and there’s a problem on my street, in my neighborhood or whatever, and I call I made the call or I stabbed somebody and I can never get that taken care of.

That’s not good government, even if it’s not if they call me and it’s not a problem that I can directly fix, if I don’t connect them to somebody who can help them with it, because they’ll call me about city things.

David Martin: That.

Denise Winfrey: I have no control over the city, but I know who’s who at the city, right? So I can connect them to neighborhood services or to the tax people for the city or whatever it happens to be. So and that’s also my job is to make sure that you’re connected to the right people in those areas, wherever they need to be.

David Martin: So you’re fine with people calling you, stopping you and saying, Hey, I’m not getting good government, I need you to do something about it.

Denise Winfrey: That’s fine for me because that’s direct feedback. I know right away there’s an issue that needs to get taken care of, whatever that issue might be.

David Martin: You’re a part of a county government. You are part of a national organization. What would you like people to know? People who don’t know as much as you do about government? What would you like them to know about government and how it works?

Denise Winfrey: Good question. I try. I say the one thing that I really want people to know is and people make comments about, well, that’s the government. You know, you don’t want to have anything to do with them. I don’t want this. I don’t want there is a need. You remember that a lot of the services they depend on come from that government, whether it’s county, city, its state, etc., come from that government, and they have the right and the responsibility to hold us accountable.

They need to ask us, tell us what they want and they should expect to get it. And so I wish they knew that more.

David Martin: Who’s your hero? Who are your political heroes in you, in government, in politics? You know, it’s like know.

Denise Winfrey: Now you’re really playing hard.

David Martin: So I didn’t think so.

Denise Winfrey: Yeah, this.

David Martin: Is one of the.

Denise Winfrey: Easy ones. Yeah. Okay. Okay. I know No one. I don’t know that it’s one person necessarily, but I respect anybody who takes the hit if they have to take a hit and owns it, who does not make excuses for what they’ve done or what they said, but who says, yes, that was me. I shouldn’t have done that or yes, that was me.

And here’s why I did that. This is what the impact that’s going to be, even if that doesn’t fit with my party, even that doesn’t my caucus doesn’t like it. This is the right thing. And so that’s why I’m doing this or why I’m doing that. So I respect anybody who stands up.

David Martin: If you want to name a name, you ought to give you a political name. Here.

Denise Winfrey: You’re No, but I do respect anybody who stands up and says yes.

David Martin: All right, great.

You’re from Illinois. I yes. You are famous for many things. What’s your favorite cuisine in your neighborhood? What’s your favorite thing? Oh.

Denise Winfrey: And it’s not necessarily Illinois thing. I’m a seafood lover and I’m also a soul food lover. All right. So, of course, in Chicago, there are any number of restaurants that do an excellent job on both of those things. But I also was like really pretty much any cuisine except I’m not a sushi eater. All right? I’m not big on that.

But I do love fish, but just not sushi part. So in our area we have any kind of cuisine that you can imagine. We have dumpster dives, we have we have white tablecloths.

David Martin: What do you put in your food? Come out. You’re from Chicago. What do you put in your hotdogs?

Denise Winfrey: Yeah, well, in my hands, I’m not really a dog person. I like the polar sausage. So and I put some of everything on that. I put the crowd on, I put the hot peppers, I put some mustard on there. And I love that deep dish.

David Martin: Really? Yes or no?

Denise Winfrey: Thin crust for me. All rice. Thin crust. I like the thin crust.

David Martin: Um, when you were growing up, I mean, is this something you always thought you would do is be an elected official as you were your president of the student council? What was your.

Denise Winfrey: No. And actually, I’m originally from Southern Illinois, Carbondale. All right, So, Louise and that’s my mother’s hometown. My dad came there after the Korean War. To go to school is how they met and got the family started. So my two brothers and I were born there. We started school there as a matter fact, in the segregated school system, really for my peers, But my parents were always actively involved.

We moved to Joliet and in our neighborhood they had never had representation on the county board directly from the neighborhood. And so when we were little, my two brothers and I, in the backseat of the car, putting pamphlets together, my mother’s driving the car, my dad’s knocking the doors to get the first person, black person on the county board in Will County.

That’s the seat that I’m now sitting in.

David Martin: Really.

Denise Winfrey: Same district. That’s the same seat that I.

David Martin: Saw as a kid. Your your stuff in envelopes.

Denise Winfrey: With stuff in an envelope.

David Martin: District Today.

Denise Winfrey: My mother drove people back and forth to the polls on Election Day. She was an election judge. My dad knocked the doors. We Oh, that’s what we did. My dad was involved in the sit ins. My mother was president of PTA at a time when in our area white women were presidents and secretaries, Black women did the grunt work.

And so my mother acceded to the level of president. So we just I come from a family that always says that you got to get involved, you got to do stuff so it’s their fault.

David Martin: And you hate your family. Oh, there are people involved in politics.

Denise Winfrey: Not in politics, but always in trying to make a change. My aunts and uncles I have. Yeah, and they’re older now. Greater aunts, great uncles, I should say, but have been involved over the years, you know, in voter registration. I’m a deputy registrar myself because both my parents were registrars, you know, have always been.

David Martin: So this is a tradition in your family. So.

Denise Winfrey: Sister Yeah, I didn’t think I was going to be involved in politics in this way. Yeah, but you have always been one way or another because they dragged us around and made us do all kinds of things to get out the vote, make sure people knew. Hey, did you remember to go to the polls today? Do you need a ride?

All of that kind of thing. So as an example I had growing up.

David Martin: So who are you an example for? Are you are you.

Denise Winfrey: Cultural.

David Martin: Generation?

Denise Winfrey: I do. And a lot of people are. Nicole. I’ve met her. I have a granddaughter. Yeah. And she’s just recently turned 16. But ever since she’s been born, I’ve dragged her around to meetings town she meets. I was on the township board. I was cheered A lot of nonprofit board senior kid.

David Martin: Is kind of hard to get gains this year.

Denise Winfrey: She’s into it because she’s always been since she was little, which cheered a lot of national pride on board. And so I had a board meeting. She came along with me. She’s in the corner with her blanket and her toys while I’m conducting a meeting. So that experience has been in her life always. And so now I have a fundraiser now.And I’m going to work the door.

Okay, babe, go ahead.

David Martin: She had discovered a little toy.

Denise Winfrey: Hi. How you doing this evening? I’m Logan. My nana over there is running for, you know, whatever. Did you sign in here? Did you know? Did you get a badge? Yeah, she’s on it.

David Martin: She’s good.

Denise Winfrey: She’s on. She’s. That’s just it.

David Martin: So that’s.

Denise Winfrey: Great. That’s the. And it’s the.

David Martin: Tradition.

Denise Winfrey: Lives on edition of Zionist what my parents did with us. And so now I have her.

David Martin: So finally, give me an example of some good government projects that you’ve implemented in your district.

Denise Winfrey: Yes. Thank you.

David Martin: You’re welcome.

Denise Winfrey: We have.

David Martin: Well, what have you done lately?

Denise Winfrey: What we’ve done lately is we have had five major capital projects that all have come within my district because my district covers downtown area of Joliet and then the east side and southeast and east side of Joliet, which is an older neighborhood.

David Martin: These are the funds.

Denise Winfrey: Some before ARPA funds. And now was ARPA funds. Two of the areas in that district are older and have sewer water systems dating back to late 1949. 1950 have been pierced in part regular boil orders do not use that kind of thing. And through the ARPA funding we are pulling those out. And so instead of patching and pissing, we are now going to be delivering safe, reliable, healthy water and sewer to all those areas.

So we’re stripping out new transformers, pumps, piping the whole shaft. So that will bring those up to gray, up to current standards.

David Martin: And now could you have a conversation with any plumber anywhere and discuss water pipes.

Denise Winfrey: Like, hey, look, this was supposed to go, I know this, use this size. Mean you got to do this much. You’d be surprised and more to it than I thought until we were talking about what size means. You have to go in in order to accommodate because there’s a growth in that area. When that those piping was put in, the whole city was like 60,000, now is 200,000.

So the amount of people on the systems has grown. You know, households are different now than they used to be back then. You got somebody upstairs running a bathroom. Somebody downstairs is doing something else. Back in the day, you have one bathroom house, everybody use it. So, you know, there’s a limited amount of use. Now, you got the washer dryer running, you got somebody doing the dishes, somebody is in the shower.

So different use. So there is a need long standing to upgrade all those systems and to be able to provide people who are steadily working everyday and paying taxes the kind of quality service they deserve.

David Martin: Last question was Your answer makes me think of what more you are involved. You are a county commissioner in a very metropolitan area and you also have a national outlook. Are you optimistic in people’s perception of government and are you optimistic in the way government is has turned around and reacted to different challenges? Post Ed? Post Mm.

Denise Winfrey: Hmm. And I would say yes, I am optimistic because I see incidences across the country where people are doing things that help folks understand that the government can be your friend and not the typical saw. You know, we’re from the government, we’re here to help, but really here to do things that support our residents across the country, to help them have better lives, to be able to rely on us, to be able to know that they’re going to get what they need from us all the time.

David Martin: Well, thank you. This has been a very interesting conversation. I especially appreciate your view from, you know, two sides from the Naco side as president and from the local side as a county commissioner. Thank you very much for your time. Enjoy the conference.

Denise Winfrey: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

David Martin: Kutztown University is a smart choice for Pennsylvania students or students from anywhere looking for an outstanding college experience close to home and in the heart of Pennsylvania, with over 130 majors, CU has endless academic opportunities. Kutztown also offers plenty of on campus housing, 24 seven dining options, comprehensive support services to ensure our students success and so much more.

Kutztown has 22 NCAA Division, two sports teams and a nationally recognized men’s rugby team. How about that? Plus, you get it all with the affordable tuition of a state university. So visit Kutztown dot edu on the Web, Kutztown dot edu, and see why it’s good to be golden.

So to the women listening, I think I can speak for President Winfrey. You, too, could be president. Just get elected and get involved. And it seems like she already has the next generation getting ready for public service. So that was my conversation with Commissioner Janice Winfrey this year. Naco, president and longtime Will County commissioner, join us again for a conversation with another leader in government right here on the Good Government show.

I’m Dave Martin. Thanks for listening to the Good Government show and a conversation with is produced by Valley Park Productions. Jim Ludlow, David Martin and David Snyder are the executive producers. Our editor and producer is Jason Stershic. This is the Good Government show. Thanks for listening.

**This transcription was created using digital tools and has not been edited by a live person. We apologize for any discrepancies or errors.