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    Morton, IL 61550

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  • Meet the Candidates
  • Meet the Candidates

  • Join us on Tuesday, March 12 for our Meet the Candidates event leading up to the 2019 Consolidated Election. Candidates for the Village Board of Trustees and the School Board will be present to share their visions for Morton. Their bios they have provided are below.

    Register for the March 12 Meet the Candidates Night here

    Candidates for the Library Board and the Park District Board have been asked to answer the following questions about their plans as members of these entities. Responses provided are below.

    School Board (bios only)
    Shad Beaty
    Tim Braker
    Kim Larrabee
    Jeff Schmidgall

    Library Board
    Del Beideck
    Jeff Keach

    Park Board
    Kristofer Goergen
    Tate Kaiser

    2019 Consolidated Election Candidates

    School Board

    Shad Beaty

    46 years old.

    I grew up in Rochester, IL on our family farm.  I have been married to my wife, Trisha for the last 18 years.  We are blessed with four daughters:  Quincy(15), Keaton(13), Taytum (10) and Abbott(8).  I have been a Pediatrician at OSF Morton Pediatrics for the last 17 years and I have served on the School Board for the last 4 years.

    Graduated from Rochester High School.  

    BA degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.  

    Medical Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Medicine

    Pediatric Residency OSF St. Francis  

    Tim Braker

    50 years Old
    Vice President JJ Braker & Sons, Inc, Director of Construction at Midwest Construction Professionals, Inc Married to Rachel, Three Children:  Kyle 15, Reagan 14, & Avery 12
    BSME Bradley University
    Serve on Advisory Board of Salvation Army
    Attend Apostolic Christian Church where I am involved with the youth group 

    Kim Larrabee

    I’ve lived in Central Illinois all my life. I grew up in Washington and moved to Morton nearly 20 years ago. My children all went to Lettie Brown and Morton Jr High.  I have two sons who are Morton graduates, and my two girls are currently a junior and senior at MHS.  I was a stay-at-home mom for their first years of growing up.  I’ve spent weekends watching the kids play indoor soccer on Detroit Street.  I’ve had Cub Scouts build Pumpkin Festival floats in my driveway and served Morton’s Pack 76 as Committee Chair.  More recently you’ll have found me on Tuesday nights selling band merchandise on the sidelines at Carper Field.  I couldn’t have found a better town for my family to call home.

    In 2006 I went back to my career in IT at Caterpillar, and I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications in 2010.  I have been employed at Caterpillar as an IT Analyst, a Business Analyst and my current role is Service Delivery Analyst. I’ve been asked to lead projects in each of those roles, including dealer facing, customer service and supplier management roles.  In 2012 I was asked by Caterpillar’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion to be the Global Chairperson and lead the development and growth of what was at the time Caterpillar’s newest Employee Resource Group, ADEPT -  which is an acronym for Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together.  ADEPT grew to an organization of 600+ members nationally in the 5 years I served as Global Chair and in 2015 I was formerly recognized as a champion of inclusion.  I believe my role as a parent, my education and my career would bring valuable experience and skills to the Morton Board of Education.  I am running for school board to be an advocate for the students and the voice of the community. 

    Jeff Schmidgall

    My family has deep roots in Morton. In the 1950’s, my grandparents started the Morton Roller Rink, and that business was in my family for over 50 years. You might say I grew up at the roller rink. My junior year at Morton High School I started dating Sarah Alleman, the young lady who would become my wife after college.  Sarah played volleyball, basketball, and softball at MHS, and I played soccer and tennis. I graduated from Morton High School in 2002 as the Scholar Athlete of the Year, and went to Bradley University to study Mechanical Engineering.

    After graduating from Bradley with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, I started working at Caterpillar in Product Development, and have been there ever since. Currently, I am a Technical Program Lead for engineers that develop Caterpillar’s next generation of Engine Systems. My wife and I now have three children: a third grader, a first grader, and a preschooler. My focus in life now is raising them and making sure that they and their peers have a strong educational foundation.

     

    Library Board

    Del Beideck

    I was born and raised in Batavia, NY a community about the size of Morton. Attending the city's public school system, I graduated Batavia High School with a New York State Regents Diploma in German. After attaining a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Valparaiso University, I began my 20-year career with Consolidated Rain Corporation (Conrail) occupying positions of increasing responsibility int he Company's Labor Relations Department in Buffalo, NY, Philadelphia, PA corporate headquarters, and Pittsburgh, PA.

    In the ensuing years, I worked in the Human Resources Management field for companies in Pennsylvania and Indiana, finally moving to Morton in 2012 after accepting my current position as Human Resources Manager at Winpak in Pekin. Since moving to Morton, I have been privileged to serve in various leadership roles in the Morton Tea Party and the Tazewell County Republican Party. 

    My wife Laura and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage this year. We are blessed with two wonderful, successful grown children who, regrettably, live much too far away.
     

    1. Why are you running for Library Trustee, what characteristics /skills / experience do you bring that would benefit the Morton Library Board?
    I am running for Library Trustee because I wish to be of service to the community by, among other things, ensuring that the tax paying public continues to receive maximum value from the Library for its tax dollars.

    In terms of my personal characteristics, I focus on facts and details and make decisions based on empirical data, logic and reason.  My personality and work ethic are characterized by conscientiousness, stability, persistence, productivity, and the desire to uphold the established order.

    My worldview is informed by my Christian Faith and conservative values, the latter of which includes natural rights; constitutional originalism; economic liberty; the central role of free enterprise in American society; a small, non-invasive government; and a strong national defense.

    I believe that my professional, managerial and community experience will serve me well in my role as Board Trustee.  As Human Resources Manager at Winpak Heat Seal Corporation in Pekin, I am privileged to manage a staff of two very fine professionals, both Morton residents.  During my more that forty-year career in the Human Resources field, I have gained much valuable experience with management, employment law, employee relations and all aspects of labor agreement administration including grievance handling, negotiations and arbitration.  I am a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

    In recent years I have developed an increasing appreciation for the exceptionally rare privilege of being a citizen of United States of America, the greatest, most prosperous, just and generous nation the world has ever known. I wanted to find some way to express my appreciation for a truly blessed life by giving something of myself back to society, my community and my fellow citizens. Since 2014 I have worked in a leadership role in the Morton Tea Party.  In 2016 I became and continue to hold the office of Republican Precinct Committeeman (Morton 6).  Also in 2016 I was privileged to be chosen to serve as a Delegate for Tazewell County to the Illinois Republican State Convention.  In 2017, I joined the Tazewell County Republican Executive Committee as Training Officer, becoming the Committee’s Secretary in 2018.  I hope my modest efforts will further the work of the Morton Library Board of Trustees and serve to benefit the Library and the citizens of Morton.
     

    2. What would be your 3 main priorities if elected, why?
    I come to my role as Board Trustee with no preconceived agenda aside from being of service to the community as best I can, acting in the interests of the tax paying public.  My level of contribution will deepen as I gain experience on the Board.
     

    3. Do you see a need for any improvements to the library and/or programs?  Please give examples and/or explanation. 
    In my opinion, the Morton Library is first rate. I will be proud to help continue the fine work the Board has done over the years.  With experience on the Board, I will be in a better position to suggest and/or support improvements and work to bring them to fruition.
     

    4. What do you feel is the mission of the Library Board?
    I believe the Mission of the Library Board is to facilitate the Mission of Morton Public Library as stated on the Library’s website, i.e., “to actively connect people to books, resources, and technology; and provide opportunities for learning, collaboration, and enjoyment.”
     

    6. In your opinion, how does the Morton Library best serve the community?
    The Library best serves the community by continuing to faithfully fulfill the Library’s Mission, guided by its Values of accountability, access, care, innovation, learning, and respect.
     

    7. What is your favorite book, why?
    My favorite book is the Bible because it is God’s inspired Word revealing His plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, written "so that you may know that you have eternal life." I John 5:13
     

    Jeff Keach

    Jeff Keach is a resident of Morton, having moved back "home" in 1995 after honing his career in Iowa and Chicago. Jeff married his High School sweetheart Joan, and they have two grown children and one grandson. He has enjoyed serving on the Library Board of Trustees in addition to other areas of public service in Morton. Jeff and Joan are members of Northwoods Community Church. 

    He graduated from Morton High School ('75) and Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Architecture, and started KEACH Architectural Design in Morton in 2001. He enjoys hunting, fishing, being a sports fan, and spending time with family and friends.

    1. Why are you running for Library Trustee, what characteristics /skills / experience do you bring that would benefit the Morton Library Board?

    • My first term on the Library Board was an appointment to fill a vacated seat. I answered a questionnaire at that time to be considered for the position. For a question similar to this one I answered it simply, “I love the Library.” As an incumbent, I am running again because of the positive experience I have had in serving one of Morton’s well know treasures.
    • As an Architect, I have enjoyed serving in an advisory role on the Board regarding things as ordinary as roofing / HVAC replacement, and as sublime as Hannah’s Reading Garden.
    • I have served on several appointed boards in town including WeCare Board, Morton Fine Arts Association, Morton Planning Commission, Rotary Board and Morton Downtown Development Action Team. 
       

    2. What would be your 3 main priorities if elected, why?  
    I would answer this with one answer; to continue to support the Morton Library Long Range Plan 2016 - 2021. This can be viewed on our web site.
     

    3. Do you see a need for any improvements to the library and/or programs?  Please give examples and/or explanation.
    We have made a lot of progress since the implementation of the Long Range Plan in 2016, and I would see us continuing to improve in the proposed five priorities of service for the coming years.

    • School District Collaboration
    • Facility Improvement
    • Community Engagement
    • Technology
    • Organizational Competencies
       

    4. What do you feel is the mission of the Library Board?   
    We have the same mission as that of the Library, while fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers of the Morton Public Library District. “The Mission of the Morton Public Library is to actively connect people to books, resources, and technology; and provide opportunities for learning, collaboration, and enjoyment.” It is not our role to manage the day-to-day operations, but to provide overarching support to the Library Director and her staff as they do their work to advance the Mission.
     

    5. In your opinion, how does the Morton Library best serve the community?
    Since I was on the board when the Long Range Plan was developed in 2016, I will answer this question as simply as possible by quoting our Vision.  “Our vision is that our patrons are enriched through continual learning and discovery.” I believe we are fulfilling our Vision.
     

    6. What is your favorite book, why? 
    Here are two, after the Holy Bible.

    • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. 1862. A fantastic story of grace and redemption and how it gets paid forward. Long, but worth it. My favorite novel (so far.)‚Äč
    • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. 1985.  A good tale for those of us who like the science fiction genre. Like some scifi, this one observes moral issues in a future/unfamiliar context. The consequences for decisions made are explored in sequels.  It’s my favorite scifi novel (so far.)

     

    Park Board

    Kristofer Goergen

    I grew up in Groveland and am a proud 2000 graduate of Morton High School.  After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2004 I lived in Peoria up until 2017. At that time my wife of ten years,  Rachel,  and I decided to move to my hometown of Morton to raise our two children, Isabella, 4 and Kristofer,1.  I’ve been in the insurance/ financial industry for the past 16 years working in various roles including sales, training, management, banking, insurance, and retirement planning.  I’ve been with COUNTRY Financial for the last 8 years and most recently in September of 2018 I had the incredible opportunity to take over for Dave Boecker here in Morton where I plan on continuing to grow my business and contribute to my community.  I’m a recent member of the Morton Rotary Club, Morton Chamber of Commerce,  and have helped with the Morton High School Marching Band’s drumline.   
     

    1. Why are you running for the Park Board, what characteristics /skills / experience do you bring that would benefit the Park Board?
    I’m running for Park Board because this is my hometown.  I always said I wanted to have a small business in Morton and contribute to my community.  I have a passion for parks and recreation.  I grew up playing MYBA, park district soccer, disc golf, walking our trails, swimming at the pool, participating in Teddy Bears, playing at our various parks, and my children are now enjoying the same opportunities.  I want to do my part so everyone in our community and our future generations can continue to have the opportunities I had and more.  My relevant past experience includes having served as an Elder and as a Co-chair for my church’s Stewardship & Finance.  We oversaw financial decisions including capital improvements, negotiating lease agreements, and planning a $1 Million annual budget.  In addition,  I bring my insurance and financial expertise.  In my industry it’s important to understand the wants and needs of the individual and create a plan to achieve those goals.  I’ve made it a point to listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to respond.  I believe these attributes can be applied to the Park District when making fiscally responsible decisions to meet the needs of our community. 
     

    2. What would be your 3 main priorities if elected, why? 
    1. Fiscal Responsibility:  The Park District receives funds from our community that everyone worked very hard to earn. I believe it is an incredible obligation to use those funds in an efficient, prudent manner to their benefit. 2.  Continue the long standing tradition of making Morton a beautiful place to live: The citizens in the Morton Park District benefit financially and emotionally living in a beautiful village.  3. Continue to protect our green space and recreation opportunities:  We need more than ever to have opportunities for people of all ages to be able to enjoy the outdoors and to have recreation opportunities to stay active physically and cognitively.
     

    3. Do you see a need for any improvements to the park and/or programs?   Please give examples and/or explanation.
    Yes, I believe we could improve by broadening our the offering of non-traditional programs.  Those may include opportunities in the fields of art, music, crafts, nature, programs for those who are differently abled, and of all socioeconomic statuses.  
     

    4. What do you feel is the mission of the Park Board?
    To oversee fiscal responsibility and offer clean, safe, family friendly facilities and programs for all Morton Park District residents.
     

    5. In your opinion, how does the Park Board best serve the community?
    I believe if we live by the mission, continue to be honest, and listen to our fellow residents we best serve our community.
     

    6. What is your favorite park in the United States, why?
    Shawnee National Forest.  It’s an incredible gem of Illinois.  I began going down there for hunting trips with my friends from 2009 to 2015.  This past fall Rachel and I took some time to go down there for a relaxing weekend.  The views from the Garden of the Gods and High Knob are gorgeous.  It’s a great place to enjoy nature, get some good exercise walking the trails,  and take some time for tranquility.    

     

    Tate Kaiser

    1. Why are you running for the Park Board, what characteristics /skills / experience do you bring that would benefit the Park Board?

    I love to volunteer and am a passionate advocate for our Morton Park District.  After serving on the board for the last 12 years, I can honestly say we have one of the top park districts in central Illinois.  I feel that during my time on the board, I’ve led with an open-minded approach, always trying to listen to all sides of an issue and making informed decisions for the taxpayers in our district.  We have been blessed to have wonderful affiliate groups and partnerships with other local boards (School District, Library, and Village) and I will continue to navigate those agreements for a positive impact for the taxpayers.  Lastly, with my technology background, I also led an effort to replace our old carbon copy in person registration process to online registration, a website refresh, and technology upgrades needed in the district office.  The staff did an amazing job engaging in this effort and I think the community really enjoys these changes we have provided.

    2. What would be your 3 main priorities if elected, why? 
    This is a tough question, because if I’ve learned anything over that last 12 years of serving on this board, is that priorities can and will change very quickly. It’s how we as a board step up to handle these changes that matters most to our community.  We do have some challenges ahead of us, which include the recent passage of the $15 minimum wage that will have a huge impact on our staffing costs and programs moving forward.  A large portion of our expenditures every year is part time and seasonal wages, so we’ll need to navigate these increased expenses over the next few years to keep programming costs down.  We are also working on a park facility upgrade project plan that our director, Joel Dickerson, developed for our parks.  Some of these facelift projects have already been completed, but we have more work to do.  I also plan on making it a priority that the state continues to work on the section of bike trail that resides on the state-owned property of Route 150 and that it is repaired and reopened as quickly as possible.

    3. Do you see a need for any improvements to the park and/or programs?   Please give examples and/or explanation.
    We’ve made some great facility improvements at the park district in the last year or two including new playground equipment, shelter upgrades, bathroom upgrades, pickle ball courts, tennis court service replacement, and partnering with the school district for High School sports. We continue to work with our local affiliate groups to provide them with facility upgrade needs, but this is an ongoing effort to keep our facilities updated and maintained in a cost-effective way.  Like I said above, these are project that we will continue making a high priority at the board level and will continue to evolve as needs arise.

    4. What do you feel is the mission of the Park Board?
    The mission of the Park District is to provide a safe, inviting, and beautifully maintained parks and facilities for the taxing body and to enhance the quality of life for this community through recreational programs and leisure activities for our residents.

    5. In your opinion, how does the Park Board best serve the community?
    By providing recreational activities and facilities that are cost effective for taxpayers.  This allows our community to have opportunities like watching your kids play a baseball game, coaching your child in sports with one of our wonderful affiliate groups, taking a walk on the trails at Northwoods, playing pickleball with your regular group on the weekend, enjoying one of our disc golf parks, watching arts in the park, taking a dip in the pool on a hot day, or taking your dog to the dog park and much more…..  Our Park Board and Park staff provide these services and activities for our community to enjoy while never losing sight that all of the parks and facilities belong to the taxpayers.  I’m proud to have served on this board because I feel we’ve done this very well. 

    6. What is your favorite park in the United States, why?
    I’d have to say it’s a tie between the Grand Canyon or Great Smoky Mountains.  Both parks are massive and unbelievably beautiful.

     

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