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updated: 9/3/2014 10:28 PM

Lake County clerk candidates tout their experience

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  • Janet Kilkelly , left, and Carla Wyckoff, right, are candidates for  Lake County Clerk  in the 2014 general election.

      Janet Kilkelly , left, and Carla Wyckoff, right, are candidates for Lake County Clerk in the 2014 general election.

  • Carla Wyckoff

      Carla Wyckoff

  • Janet Kilkelly

      Janet Kilkelly

 
 

The two women running for Lake County clerk have vastly different professional backgrounds -- and each says her resume makes her better suited for the job.

Republican Carla Wyckoff and Democrat Janet Kilkelly met with the Daily Herald to talk about the race Wednesday.

Wyckoff and Kilkelly are running to replace longtime Clerk Willard R. Helander. Helander, a Libertyville Republican, isn't seeking re-election after 20 years in the post.

The clerk oversees elections, voter registration, marriage licenses and other tasks.

The candidates were asked about their experience, their goals for the office and other issues during the 30-minute discussion at the Daily Herald's Libertyville office.

Wyckoff, 66, of Lake Forest, is an assistant state's attorney in Lake County. She also spent 16 years working for the American Medical Association as the director of the agency's field division and as a lobbyist.

She has never held elected office.

Wyckoff said her business experience and her professional familiarity with the clerk's office make her a good candidate.

"I just think it's a unique combination of skills," she said.

Although not an employee of the clerk's office, Wyckoff has worked with the office through the years as one of its lawyers. The state's attorney's lawyers represent county employees in legal matters.

That history will be an advantage if she's elected, she said, and it will allow for "a seamless transition."

"Everything in that office ... is so affected by changes in legislation," Wyckoff said. "Our code, or statutory requirements, get more and more complex. And I understand them."

Kilkelly, 60, of Waukegan, is a Waukegan Park District commissioner and a former Waukegan Township trustee. She also served on the Waukegan Port District board.

She painted herself as an outsider who would bring a "fresh set of eyes" to the office.

"It's been 20 years since there's been a change in office," Kilkelly said. "I'm not going to be satisfied with the status quo."

In response to Wyckoff's comments, Kilkelly stressed the clerk's office is not an extension of the state's attorney's office.

"It should be separate," she said.

Additionally, Kilkelly said her elected experience providing public services will benefit the office.

"I think that is going to allow me to really make sure that this office is on top of its game," she said.

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