The four Republicans and lone Democrat running in McHenry County's District 3 have a wide range of priorities, from increasing accountability on the part of the county board to forgoing tax levy increases in times of economic hardship and limiting the powers of the county board chairman.
Democrat Lori McConville dropped out of the race earlier this summer, citing her current focus on opening a small business. District 3 includes parts of Algonquin and McHenry townships and all of Nunda Township.
Here's a look at the candidates running Nov. 6:
• Incumbent Kathleen Bergan Schmidt, a Democrat from Crystal Lake, was elected to the county board in 2008. Schmidt serves on the natural and environmental, management services, public health and human services and legislative committees.
Schmidt believes the county board must continue working on increasing transparency and accountability, including with a better orientation for new board members to avoid issues like the violation of the open meetings act. She wants to ensure that the county's senior population continues to be served well with tax funds from senior services grants and Valley Hi nursing home. She also wants the county to act on protecting its groundwater resources, and supports a countywide ban of coal tar sealants and the development of recommendations for water use in unincorporated areas.
• Joseph Gottemoller, 54, a Republican from Crystal Lake, is an attorney and served as a trustee for the McHenry County Conservation District.
Gottemoller believes the county should always reduce its property tax levy when property values decrease, and he wants to implement a "zero-based" budgeting process where departments have to explain all requests for funds. He also wants the county to focus only on providing essential services during times of economic hardship, and believes the county's zoning ordinance must allow more latitude to startup, home-based businesses.
• Challenger Mary McClellan, 47, a Republican from Holiday Hills, is an attorney in the civil division of the Cook County state's attorney's office.
McClellan believes the county board has to be more accountable to constituents by reaching out to them to find out what they want, and do a better job of disseminating information about issues like referendum questions. She also believes the county has to control spending by providing only services that are needed and by giving incentives such as future credits to departments that find ways to save. The county also should promote business growth by reducing regulations on home-based businesses.
• Incumbent Nick Provenzano, 50, a Republican from McHenry, is director of government affairs for a nonprofit global trade center. He served on the county board from 2002 to 2008 and was re-elected in 2010. Provenzano chairs the law and justice committee and serves on the building projects, transportation and legislative committees.
Provenzano believes in reining in the county's expenses by opposing tax levy increases and salary raises for county staff members and elected officials in times of economic hardship. He also wants to continue helping local businesses expand their reach into overseas markets, and push to improve the county's transportation infrastructure and ensure that options are available to seniors and disabled persons.
• Challenger Michael Walkup, 62, a Republican from Crystal Lake, is an attorney and organic farmer. He has served on the McHenry County Regional Planning Commission and the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission.
Walkup wants to limit the county board chairman's power by changing the rules so that committee chairmen are not appointed by the chairman but by fellow committee members, to cut the chairman's salary and to possibly implement term limits. He opposes having a county executive form of government in McHenry County and wants to preserve the county's agricultural base by ensuring that all new development is contiguous to existing development and encouraging new development to occupy smaller footprints by "building up."