Affordability tops agenda for Naperville council hopeful
Julie Berkowicz — investor relations professional, active community member, and mother of three sons with a track record of strong community ties — says her family is “privileged” to live in Naperville.
“I have chosen to become a candidate for the Naperville City Council because of my commitment to my community,” she said on her website. “As a Council member I will work for the citizens and taxpayers and represent the community of Naperville with passion and dedication.”
Berkowicz, who is running for public office for the first time, says her main goal is making sure Naperville is affordable for everyone, including seniors and veterans, by holding down expenses. She has been active as a community liaison with a variety of groups, including scouts and those with special needs and seniors, as well as serving on several boards.
Keeping utility prices under control, ensuring ongoing financial accountability, and ensuring pension and salary funding for eligible employees are also among her main goals, according to Naperville Magazine.
“Determining where city operations can be more efficient is essential,” she said.
Berkowicz said residents are being asked to bear increasingly higher tax rates and expenses without their incomes rising proportionately.
“I will work to achieve results that will ensure the success of our city and the expectations and needs of the taxpayers,” Berkowicz said.
Stressing that she is a dedicated citizen rather than a career politician, Berkowicz cited many civic duties that inform her qualifications, while also saying she shares residents’ views as homeowners and volunteers. For example, she serves on the board of directors of the Knoch Knolls Homeowners Association, which opened a window to a better understanding local government and for which she won a distinguished service award in 2009.
“Julie was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for the volunteer work she has done to make Knoch Knolls one of Naperville's best neighborhoods,” the homeowners association said on its website.
The candidate’s breadth of experience goes well beyond property matters, as she has dedicated much time and energy to schools, hospitals and civic groups.
A Boy Scout leader and mentor for more than 20 years, Berkowicz also belongs to the Judd Kendall VFW (Post 3873) Auxiliary in Naperville. All three of her sons are Eagle Scouts as well as college graduates.
She said her strong connection to scouting led to her serving as public relations liaison and as distinguished commissioner, as well as a special needs program leader, for Scouts at the Ray Graham Association, a Lisle-based, not-for-profit agency focused on empowering individuals with developmental disabilities.
Her experience with not-for-profit boards also includes the St. Raphael Catholic School, the St. Raphael School Band Organization and the St. Francis High School Band Organization.
Additionally, she has sat on the Naperville-based Edward-Elmhurst Hospital’s patient/family advisory committee, and said she also has experience in senior care and housing advocacy.
“I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and tackling the issues that we face and making Naperville an even better place for our families and businesses,” Berkowicz said.