September 20, 2020

Troy Hernandez, Green Party nominee for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner

Troy Hernandez, Green Party nominee for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner, 2020 election candidate questionnaire

Troy Hernandez, Green Party nominee for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

He has done environmental justice work for eight years.

Candidate profile

Troy Hernandez, PhD

Running for: Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Political party affiliation: Green Party

Political/civic background:

4 years on the Pilsen Academy LSC
8 years of environmental justice work
Co-organizer for the Chicago R User Group
NASA Frontier Development Lab AI Mentor

Occupation: Data Scientist/Executive Architect; IBM


BS in Mathematics; UIC, 2006
BA in Philosophy; UIC, 2006
MS in Statistics/Game Theory; UIC, 2008
PhD in Statistics/Machine Learning; UIC, 2013

Campaign website:




The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the Chicago area. Troy Hernandez submitted the following responses:

1. Would it make sense for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to consolidate and manage the water systems of struggling municipalities that can’t afford to make upgrades? Please explain.

Some may not know that there are parts of Cook County that aren’t in the MWRD. That’s why the Cook County Stormwater Management Plan, adopted in 2007, “requires the preparation and adoption of a countywide stormwater management plan.” Furthermore, in 2014 the plan “amend[ed] the District’s statutory authority to allow for acquisition of flood-prone properties and to plan, implement, finance, and operate local stormwater management projects.”

Therefore, the law allows for such a proposal, but does not require it. If I were running “struggling municipalities that can’t afford to make upgrades” I would welcome the MWRD’s help. The question is: Do we in the MWRD want to help them?

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Water doesn’t care about district or county or municipal boundaries. It’s going to flow where it’s going to flow. If our neighbor is struggling, then that’s going to impact us too. We literally sink or swim together. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have stormwater managed in our region to the best of our society’s ability. Presuming the MWRD and these other municipalities can come to an equitable agreement, this is a no-brainer.

2. Should the MWRD move out of its headquarters at 100 E. Erie St. to put that valuable property back on the tax rolls? Why or why not?

Given the pandemic, now does not appear to be the most opportune time to liquidate the MWRD’s commercial real estate investments. Commercial real estate research firm Real Capital Investments recently stated that, “As the U.S. slipped into recession in March 2020, commercial real estate investment plummeted.”

Any time in the last 5 years would’ve been a better time to sell from a cash value perspective. That said, no one knows what the market will look like in the coming years and I wouldn’t be opposed to selling at a better time. That will maximize the value of the property to taxpayers.

3. What has the MWRD learned from the pandemic? Should some employees work remotely permanently? Can the district manage with fewer employees?

As someone who has been working from home (WFH) for …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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