Lake County Board District 16 candidates say working with constituents is a priority

The race for Lake County Board District 16 pits Round Lake Beach resident Esiah Campos in his first run for public office against Edward Liberman, a school board member from Round Lake Heights.

Both say working with constituents is a priority in District 16, a compact area centered on the four Round Lake communities in west central Lake County.

Campos, a Democrat, wants to become the first Hispanic elected to the county board and at 26, its youngest member. Liberman, a self-employed trainer in the tech field, contends the current board either "doesn't listen or just doesn't care."

Campos serves in the Navy Reserve and is a pension analyst for Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

He said he was not asked to run but felt a "sense of duty" to do so because of a lack of leadership in the district and lack of representation for Latino and working class families.

"A lot of the issues in our district can be solved and worked through, if we have a board member who's willing to fight for our community and make the necessary friendships," Campos said. "I have done that as a candidate, I'm not waiting to be elected."

Campos said he brings vigor and a sense of urgency.

"I'm not stuck in my ways," he said. "I bring new insights to the growing population, not only Latinos but younger" residents, he added.

Liberman, a Republican, has served on the Lake Villa Elementary District 41 school board since 2017. He says he would make public input and interaction a cornerstone of his time in office.

Liberman said decisions like the "regressive" 4-cent-per-gallon gas tax and leaf burning ban were counter to public sentiment.

"I feel there's a government that doesn't listen or just doesn't care," he said. "There's a lot of uncertainty. People need a government they can trust to look out for their interests as a whole."

He said among the top issues in the district are crime, drugs, taxes, jobs and flooding. The county has failed the public in the areas where it is needed most, he added.

"The people I've spoke with are afraid what tomorrow may bring," he said. "They want assurances of safety and security for their families."

Whoever wins will be the first new face of District 16 since Democrat Terry Wilke was elected in 2008. Wilke lost a primary bid for state representative.

Campos defeated Yesenia Jaycee Ochoa in the Democratic primary, Ochoa, he contended, was Wilke's "hand-picked successor."

He said fighting for the district's share of funding for stormwater management projects will be a priority.

"Outfitting and providing our police with the necessary equipment and training to better protect us remains a core issue," Campos said.

Liberman said his skills include being able to deliver complex information to various groups in an easily understandable manner. This helps reach common ground where differences otherwise would dominate, he said.

Both candidates agree local businesses affected by the pandemic could use a boost.

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