Birthday: July 18
Rick Nagel is a Geneva resident, born and raised. He graduated from Geneva Community High School and has a journalism degree from the University of Illinois.
With more than 26 years of newspaper experience—as a reporter and editor for The Geneva Republican, editor-publisher of The Beacon News and, most recently, as vice president of editorial for Sun-Times Media, West Region—Rick may well be the saltiest Geneva journalist on the face of Planet Earth.
He's a lifelong Geneva Vikings fan, former president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and serves on the Geneva High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee.
He loves golf, Northern Wisconsin, the Illini, Cubs, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks. A perfect fall weekend is when the Vikings, Illini and Bears all win. Rick lives on Geneva's East Side with his wife, Paula, also a Geneva Community High School graduate, their two daughters, Kathryn and Tricia, and very strange, column-writing dog, AJ.
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Like almost every American, I like to think I'm a true independent. That's hubris, of course. We all like to think we're well-informed and weigh the issues and vote for the best candidate regardless of political party, but few of us live up to those standards, including me.
In recent years, I've actually thought of trying to establish a grassroots Independent Party. I think Republicans and Democrats have become so polarized that it's unhealthy and defies common sense. Extreme partisanship contributes to the gridlock we see in Washington and the corruption we see in Illinois government.
For the sake of full disclosure, I'm a registered Republican, but I hope that doesn't define me. In Kane County, you need to be a Republican to vote in many of the contested local primary elections.
And I do love to vote. I can't understand why so many people choose not to.
Like a lot of journalists, I'm a fiscal conservative and social moderate. Wishy-washy? Milktoast? Too middle-of-the-road? Maybe, but I suspect that these are core values shared by the majority of Americans.
How religious would you consider yourself? (casual, observant, devout, non religious)
I'm an agnostic former Geneva Methodist who celebrates Mass at St. Peter Church nearly every Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. My wife is Catholic—a pretty darned good one, in my estimation—and we've raised our daughters in the Catholic faith.
For what it's worth, I believe there's an order and beauty to the universe, and it's that which we call God. I feel closest to my spiritual side when I'm in Northern Wisconsin, swimming in a lake, riding a bike in the woods, watching a deer run across the fairway at Trout Lake golf course or looking up at the infinite stars.
Local Hot-Button Issues:
What do you think are the most important issues facing the community? Where do you stand on each of these issues?
As this is written, I think the economy is the issue that is most affecting people in Geneva. Again, we're not alone in this, and it's possible we've weathered the storm as well as or better than other communities. But I also know a lot of great people who have been laid off, and I've seen a lot of businesses I care about close their doors. I miss Viking Office Supply already.
Where do I stand on this issue? My personal feeling is that the solution has to come from the private sector rather than government. Innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and hard work will create new businesses and new business opportunities. Geneva Patch.com is a great example.
A related, second issue for Geneva—and again, this is more severe in other Chicago-area communities—is that the real-estate market collapse means a tax base that's not going to be rising near as fast as it has in the past. The result will be continued belt-tightening for every government body that relies on local property taxes—especially schools, but also park district, library district, city and county government. What services and personnel can we do without?