While there's more than one issue being debated in this year's Streamwood Park District race, the three incumbents seeking re-election see the candidacy of their sole challenger as the primary one.
Marion Janiec, who is challenging the incumbent slate of Adriana Armstrong, Rick Brogan and Thomas Keating, is the wife of Park Commissioner Richard Janiec, now midway through his current term on the board.
Armstrong, Brogan and Keating said they see two votes on the board coming from the same household as a situation which, while legal, is at odds with the spirit of the law and the public's best interest.
"I think it would be wrong to have related people on the same board," Keating said. "Not five years ago, it was a violation of the Open Meetings Act to have two board members talk outside of a meeting. I don't think she's running for any good reason."
But Marion Janiec said she's just another citizen exercising her right to get more involved in the community.
"I'm my own person," she said. "My opinion is my opinion. They see me as an extension of my husband, and I am by no means an extension of my husband."
Marion Janiec said she chose the park board because its mission parallels her own interests in the community.
"I'm a nature lover," she said. "I love the outdoors and gardening. The park district is perfect for me."
While she said she doesn't intend to echo her husband's votes, Marion Janiec said she couldn't think of a specific example where she would have disagreed with a vote of her husband's.
Even if the other candidates' fears were true -- having related members of the board who vote exactly the same on every issue -- there would need to be more like-minded candidates in this race to create a new majority, Marion Janiec said.
She said she sees her husband as representing a minority opinion on the board right now, and she hopes to call for more research into issues being voted on.
Brogan disagreed with Marion Janiec's assessment of her husband being a minority voice on the board who could use more support.
"He's not expressed an opinion for or against any ideas," Brogan said of Richard Janiec.
"The power of one household in Streamwood having 40 percent of the board ... it's unheard of in Streamwood," Brogan added. "Does she not value her husband's opinion?"
Armstrong said she thinks a good board represents geographic diversity.
"I think it's an issue only because she wants to align herself with her husband," Armstrong said.
The three incumbents said they are running as a slate not only because of Marion Janiec's candidacy but because they think the current makeup of the board makes for a good team -- characterized by diverse areas of professional expertise.
"We're on a good track right now," Armstrong said.