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What is unique about our community that makes you enjoy living here?

There is a pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit here that has existed throughout Bloomington’s history and persists today. I have a 1930’s postcard describing Bloomington as an “outstanding educational center, nationally renowned for its cultural advantages.” Bloomington has earned its way into many Top 10 lists. Common underlying attributes include average income, commute time, educational attainment, affordable housing, and strong economic climate. It is critical to pay attention to these matters, but they all come from people. Towns are collections of people. What makes Bloomington unique? The people. I am inspired by their extraordinary accomplishments, generosity, empathetic care and concern for each other. 

What community-service roles have you held, and what did you accomplish in that service?

I currently serve on the Bloomington Planning Commission. I have enriched the dialogue by asking questions, researching assumptions, and listening attentively to petitioners and those in opposition to assure objectivity. I have been involved in serving communities and the public in a variety of ways over the years including volunteering/fundraising for non-profit organizations, mentoring at risk youth, teaching English as a second language, serving on an animal control task force, co-founding a community group advocating for responsible rezoning, collaborating to address gaps in retirement security with a financial services industry group, and consulting with the State of Illinois. 

What is your vision for our community and how does your past experience qualify you to execute this vision?

My vision is to build on Bloomington’s strengths (safe, family-friendly, well-educated community with a diverse economy) and provide a compelling value proposition to attract future businesses and residents. My educational and professional credentials qualify me to take on this position of service to the community, providing critical business, financial, and leadership skills for Bloomington’s future. 

    • 30+ years experience getting results by establishing common goals and engaging people to achieve them

    • Professional education and experience in business infrastructure, technology, analytics, operations, and improvement methodologies that will be put to work to improve our community

    • Master’s degree in government from Harvard University

What is your understanding of the role of the office you are seeking and if elected, how would you build consensus and foster teamwork with other elected officials?

As a city council member, I look forward to working with the mayor, city manager, and my peers on the council to improve the stewardship/leverage of financial resources, improve city services, and make progress toward common goals that make Bloomington a great place to live and are important to my constituents. Based on my 35+ year career in the private sector, I am passionate about the power of high performing teams who work together to achieve extraordinary results. To be become a high performing team of elected officials, the same fundamentals of teamwork apply.

What top three priorities compel you to seek office?

I am committed to and passionate about doing the right thing “For Bloomington”. 

Priorities include: 

    • Focus on economic recovery and create a climate for local businesses to thrive

    • Reverse the trend of increasing taxes without reducing services; focus on improving our infrastructure and continue to invest in services and amenities that align with what our constituents value

    • Position Bloomington to maintain/grow its population base by enabling a local culture that makes people proud to live here; we will know we are on track when our residents enthusiastically recommend Bloomington as a great place to live, work, learn, and play

How would you encourage diversity in municipal government, boards and commissions to better reflect the community at large?

Diverse perspectives are important for effective decision making and to better reflect the needs of our diverse population. We are stronger when we have participants with different views, strengths, life experiences, and origins. In order to encourage this, I would make sure our population is better informed about how they can get involved in our local government, whether that involves running for a position, participating in a board or commission, or just letting their voice be heard. I would start with a more clearly defined process and better communication to enable residents to see a role for themselves. 

What role do economic development tools have in building a vibrant and sustainable community?

The effects of Covid-19 on our local economy and tax revenue will put pressure on our city. It will be important to be strategic about our approach to recovery. I think of the community as an ecosystem. It has to remain balanced for it to stay healthy and sustainable.  The leverage of incentives can be helpful, but must not disadvantage existing businesses as an unintended consequence. Retaining businesses we already have is crucial.

I look forward to digging into opportunities for downtown revitalization to help find innovative solutions we can afford and successfully implement. 


Committee to Elect Sheila Montney
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