By Paul Osborne
With the retirement of long time Macon County Clerk Steve Bean, there will be a new person holding that title following the General Election Nov. 6. Either Democrat Amy Rueff or Republican Josh Tanner will head the Macon County Clerk’s office. The Decatur Tribune asked each candidate the same four questions and following, in their own words, is how each candidate answered.
• What prompted you to run for this office?
RUEFF: I am running for Macon County Clerk because I care about the Macon County Community and I am passionate about protecting voter rights. The Clerk’s office requires someone who will pay attention to detail and ensure that everyone is treated with kindness and respect. I am the person for the job and would love to be the smiling face you see at the Clerk’s office.
TANNER: The County Clerk is an important position and requires someone who can step in and begin working on day one. The officeholder must be someone who understands and is involved in the day to day operations. It is important to me that Macon County is represented by professional and knowledgeable officeholders who will work for the citizens.
• What qualifies you for this office?
RUEFF: I started my career working at Illinois Power at the Clinton Nuclear Power Station where I worked as an administrative clerk for 11 years. In that role, I managed and maintained nuclear records under the guidelines of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in accordance with federal law. Similarly, as County Clerk I will be required to manage and maintain vital records including birth & death certificates and marriage licenses in accordance with state law. As Resource Director for the Illinois AFL-CIO, I have coordinated trainings with the Illinois State Board of Elections to teach union members the process of running for political office and filing campaign disclosure reports. I have served as Treasurer for several Political Action Committees and understand the importance and necessity of campaign disclosure and transparency. For more than 20 years I have served Macon County on community boards and committees and have proudly coordinated charitable giving and collaborative projects; putting me in touch with Macon County’s diverse citizenry. I currently serve as an elected Decatur Township Trustee where I have been a consistent watchdog on public expenditures. I have experience in assessing budgets, tax levies and other vital factors—all things the County Clerk has to do to ensure a high level of service. I’ve worked in a bi-partisan manner and I believe all citizens, regardless of party, deserve fair and equal services.
TANNER: For the past decade I have worked as a Macon County employee building relationships and gaining valuable experience. I have demonstrated an ability to work with Republicans and Democrats to execute my duties. I have successfully managed an office of eight employees and a budget in excess of $500,000. As Supervisor of Assessments I work directly with the Clerk on tax extension issues. In my previous position with the GIS Department I collaborated with the Clerk and County Board Chairman on redistricting County Board districts after the 2010 census. I have helped troubleshoot the new election equipment and worked on election night for many years. My knowledge of property tax, vital records, and election systems uniquely qualifies me for the position of Macon County Clerk.
• What changes, if any, would you make in the office if you are elected?
RUEFF: I will build on the current office processes and solicit ideas from customers and employees of the office to improve the efficiencies and delivery of service. I will seek advice and assistance from professionals with experience in cyber security and data protection to ensure that the election system in Macon County is 100% secure from outside influences. I will engage and include groups from every sector of Macon County to find ways to improve voter turnout. I will provide community outreach to educate folks on why citizens should exercise their right to vote. I will advocate for more early voting locations, extended hours to accommodate working families and would work for a more diverse workplace. I am also interested in coordinating student involvement programs to encourage students to serve as Election Judges, volunteers and Deputy Registrars.
TANNER: The current County Clerk and County Board have done an excellent job of keeping Macon County up to date with technology. We have new voting machines that create a paper ballot for each vote cast and are more reliable and secure than previous equipment. We have rolled out a new website that is user and mobile friendly. However, one area that will always need continuous improvement is our election judges. As the current judges move or no longer want to volunteer we need to recruit and train replacements. I will make every effort to meet that need by reaching out to the community. I have a proven record of engaging the public through presentations and individual networking and I will leverage those skills to continue recruiting and training new election judges.
• Finally, is there anything that you would like to express to voters that isn’t covered by the previous three questions?
RUEFF: As the youngest of 19 children, my parents taught me the value of working hard and doing my part to make a difference. As your County Clerk, I am committed to doing just that. I will be accountable, transparent, accessible and a strong advocate for ALL the citizens of Macon County. I’m ready to work hard and make a difference – all I need is your vote!
TANNNER: I don’t have anything to add. As an elected office holder and newspaper publisher I am sure you know that more often than not less is more. Thanks for all your efforts to inform the voters.
AMY RUEFF BACKGROUND
Amy Rueff lives in Decatur and is the Resource Director for the Illinois AFL-CIO. This job allows her the opportunity to work with unions throughout the state of Illinois. She coordinates activities with twenty-two central labor councils, twenty building and construction trade councils and twelve AFL-CIO Community Services Liaisons. She has been a union member for 30 years and is a member of Laborers Local 362. In 1986, Amy began her career with Illinois Power at the Clinton Nuclear Power Station where she worked as a Word Processor Operator and Administrative Clerk. She was a member of IBEW Local 1306 and served as chief steward, unit recorder, vice president, executive board member and was the youngest President ever elected to IBEW 1306 at the age of 28. In 1996, she was selected to serve as the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison with United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois. She serves as a delegate to Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, a consortium of Macon County labor unions representing 13,000 active and retired workers, and has served as Treasurer and Legislative chair of the organization for more than fifteen years. In 2013, she was elected Decatur Township Trustee and in 2017 was re-elected – being the top vote getter. She served as the board-appointed liaison to Greenwood Cemetery. Rueff is also a precinct committee-person. She has attended Parkland College, Richland Community College and the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland with studies focused on communications and labor studies. Rueff grew up in Wapella, Illinois as the youngest of 19 children and moved to Decatur in 2009. She works in Springfield and lives in Decatur with her husband, Rick. She has two sons, three step-daughters and eight (nine in December) grandchildren.
JOSH TANNER BACKGROUND
Josh Tanner was unanimously appointed to his second term as Macon County Supervisor of Assessments in February of 2017. As Supervisor of Assessments Tanner has lived within his budget and efficiently managed a staff of eight. He has been an active member in the County Assessment Officers Association and is currently serving as President of the statewide organization. Prior to working for Macon County he was with the Property Tax Division at the Illinois Department of Revenue. Tanner has lived in Macon County for most of his life and is a 1993 graduate of Mt. Zion High School. After high school Tanner enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was trained at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas and stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea. Following his service he attended Florida International University and graduated with his bachelor’s degree. Tanner currently lives in Mt. Zion with his wife and children and attends Mt. Zion First Baptist Church. He enjoys attending local high school sporting events. Tanner spends most of the warmer months outdoors at one of the various Conservation District areas or working in the yard at home.