Getting Personal: Gordy Hulten
Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Paul Wood chats with Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, 38, of Champaign. His office administers elections, maintains official records of the county board, assists property owners in redeeming delinquent taxes and keeps birth, death, marriage, civil union and other records.
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
My wife, Pam, and I usually get up at 6 and spend the first hour of the day getting ourselves ready for work and our kids Will, 6, and Cate, 2, ready for school.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or accomplishment?
Administering the countywide presidential election in 2012 while simultaneously running successfully for election as county clerk. The presidential election is our highest turnout and most challenging election to administer, leaving very little time for candidate activities, but the campaign was successful I think mostly because the election was well-administered.
What do you regard as your most treasured possession?
I don't keep a lot of treasured mementos or souvenirs, so probably my Android smartphone. I'm not sure how I'd get through a day without it.
Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?
University of Illinois football games and tailgates.
What book are you reading now? What is your favorite book ever?
George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" series. Favorite book ever is tough because there are so many, but maybe John F. Kennedy's "Profiles In Courage"? Stephen King's "The Stand"? J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy?
Where on Earth are you dying to go and Why?
Hiking and rafting the Grand Canyon. We love exploring, hiking and photographing wilderness, and I love that part of the country.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
We used to have three cats but gave them up when our son was born allergic to them.
What's your favorite sports team?
University of Illinois basketball and football.
What would you order for your last meal?
I'm not much of a foodie, so something simple but delicious. Maybe a pulled pork burrito from Black Dog?
If you could be reincarnated after you die, what would you like to come back as?
A dolphin. Warm weather and water, and all the swimming one could want.
Who are your favorite musicians and why?
Dave Matthews Band. We've seen them live more than 40 times; every show is different, and now the music resurfaces great memories of a certain age for us.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
Births of our two children.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite? What would you serve?
Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis. I'd serve lots of wine to ensure the good stories are flowing.
Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?
Churchill because he never gave up.
What personality trait do you most hate in other people? Most hate in yourself?
I don't care for negative attitudes in others but especially in myself. I always prefer to be looking forward, figuring out what's next and how to get there.
What's your best piece of advice?
This too shall pass.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
I worked as a cook at Dairy Queen my junior and senior years of high school. I made minimum wage, something like $4 per hour at the time.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
To seek appointment to the Champaign City Council after the member for my district retired. I talked with my wife, my employer/mentor and my friends to be sure I was ready to try to make a difference.
Do you have any regrets in your life? What are they?
Not many. I wouldn't trade my life right now for anything in the world.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
By talking to people I trust to plan for a way forward.