The Lake County Board has been credited in recent years with working decisively to address the economic downturn by cutting expenses and put its financial house in order. The result has been balanced budgets and a high bond rating that should be envy of local governments. The economy continues to be the dominant issue as county board candidates look for ways to make government leaner and take steps that will lead to economic growth and jobs. County board members double as forest district board commissioners.
Our endorsements in the districts covered by the Daily Herald follow:
District 1: Republican Linda Pedersen, a 50-year Antioch resident with extensive civic involvement. The incumbent backs board efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility and to secure forest preserve land. She supports alternative energy but had residents in mind when voting no on a proposed large wind farm.
District 3: Republican Tom Weber, who has dug in since winning the primary to better acquaint himself with the issues and challenges ahead. His concern the county overcharges for some fees and services is worth examining, but we urge him to proceed with caution.
District 4: Republican Brent Paxton, who offers strong institutional knowledge to make future tough decisions. The incumbent is a watchdog for taxpayers and supports the board's economic development agency, Lake County Partners, for economic growth.
District 5: Republican Bonnie Thomson Carter, who calls for more shovel-ready sites and continued work with Lake County Partners to bring businesses and jobs to the county. The incumbent believes part of creating an environment for job growth includes improving transportation infrastructure and providing incentives to attract major employers.
District 6: Democrat Pat Carey, a hardworking and knowledgeable elected representative for four years on the county board and as Grayslake mayor and trustee before that. Her understanding of issues facing her district is demonstrated by her participation in Lake County Partners, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, and an agency aiming to bring Lake Michigan water to the region.
District 13: Democrat Sandra Hart, for her well-thought-out ideas and for her energy and passion for the job. Hart, an MBA and certified Illinois assessing official, emphasizes tight control of the county budget and tax levy, and improving the climate for business.
District 15: Republican Carol Calabresa, who thoroughly knows the county and remains dedicated to the other part of the county board position, the forest preserve district and land preservation overall.
District 16: Democrat Terry Wilke, whose goals for creating more jobs includes adjusting county employees' work schedules -- reducing their hours so more people could be hired -- and finishing road projects to draw businesses to high-traffic areas. The incumbent also believes in preserving especially forest, as opposed to only farmland, when the district buys property.
District 19: Republican Craig Taylor, a proponent for taxpayers who helped reduce the county budget and pledges to watch the economy. The incumbent believes road improvements and the Route 53 expansion are key to economic growth. He brought attention to needed forest preserve development.
District 21: Republican Ann Maine, a thoughtful, hardworking board member who does her homework on issues. She advocates prioritizing expenditures and is a big proponent of increasing bike and pedestrian options as part of road projects or trail connections.