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updated: 10/24/2010 12:41 AM

District 61 candidates offer plans to lure jobs

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The two candidates vying to become the state representative in the 61st District agree that creating, bringing and retaining jobs in northern Lake County is vital to helping residents.

However, the two have different ideas on how to keep people employed in the next two years.

Incumbent JoAnn Osmond, a Republican from Antioch, said more tax breaks to lure businesses into Illinois should be created. Overhauling the state's regulations on workers' compensation also is key to drawing and retaining jobs, she added.

But challenger Scott Pollak, a Democrat from Antioch, said bringing in manufacturing to build solar panels and other forms of renewable energy could be the wave of the future.

Osmond, 64, an insurance producer, is seeking her fourth term as the 61st District representative. She was appointed to succeed her husband following his death in 2002.

Pollak, 44, owner of a heating and air-conditioning company, is running for the seat for the first time.

The 61st District encompasses Antioch, Fox Lake, Winthrop Harbor and Zion and portions of Lake Villa, Lindenhurst and Old Mill Creek.

Pollak said he has spoken with a number of heating and cooling manufacturers trying to move into the Midwest. Lake County should pursue those manufacturers to fill up vacant industrial parks throughout the district, he said.

"They see our area as a hot spot because of our location between Milwaukee and Chicago," he added. "If the right business comes in, it would be a perfect opportunity to bring 5,000 to 6,000 jobs to the area."

Osmond, though, said creating tax breaks to keep small businesses operating in Illinois is a huge step to retaining jobs.

Then, she said, laws regarding workers' compensation should be overhauled to give breaks to smaller businesses.

"The workman's comp plan in Illinois is one of the highest in the nation and needs to be looked at strongly," she said. "Right now, businesses here are struggling to make ends meet. We need to sit down and resolve this issue, rather than pass it along to anyone else."