Linda Troester: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 2


Party: Democratic

Office sought: Lake County Board District 2

City: Round Lake,

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired, former regulatory toxicologist

Previous offices held: None


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: I am running office because I love Lake County. I want to help make it even better and more sustainable. I believe that we have great people and terrific resources, but we all need to work together to sustain and improve what we have.

We get the government we work for in a democracy. Government is a participation activity and that is why I am running. I believe that I can make a difference. I will not stand on the sidelines. I want to work to try to improve things and support others who are working hard to make our county better. Government really is the work of all the people.

I am running because I support democratic values such as: fair taxation; smart and effective government; clean water and clean air; civil discourse; healthy and safe communities; equality before the law; equal opportunities for education and work that are not determined by ZIP code, race, gender, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity. I never imagined that such values would be controversial.

Q: If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?

A: My background in environmental and health sciences provides a fact-based decision making perspective that will be valuable in working with the Lake County Board on the issues currently facing our community. My scientific training, and my experience working in collaborative teams, make me a strong candidate. I think like a scientist and am guided by research and facts, but I also understand that we must collaborate effectively to get the results we all want.

I also care about people, truth and justice. I am currently a CASA Volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate). I have been an election judge for several years. And, I have been a community volunteer.

The key issues for me when I am elected are: Sustainable environment; better transportation; and, improving the quality of life for our citizens. The two goals of the environment and transportation are linked because traffic jams are not sustainable and are not conducive to a healthy life for either people or the ecosystem.

Q: Given the recent history of flat tax levies, do you think the county/forest preserve have done good jobs of budgeting or do you see specific area that can be improved?

A: Yes, I do think that the Lake County Forest Preserve has done a good job of budgeting recently even while keeping the taxes flat. Only about 2% of the average property tax bill is to support the forest preserves. For 2022, the budget was kept flat even with the impacts of COVID-19 and the increased use as a safe place to enjoy outdoors. At the same time, a lot of ash trees were taken and work done to remove invasive species. The 2022 budget included new trails, habitat restoration, more open space, maintaining facilities, training staff and volunteers, and providing nature and history education programs. The forest preserve has a AAA Bond Rating which indicates sound financial management.

I know many citizens enjoy the forest preserves and are asking for more trails and dog parks. Some areas of the county do not have as many amenities in their forest preserves as others, which needs to be fixed. But, overall, I think the conservative management of the funds is appreciated at this time.

Q: Would you support putting a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide if they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails and upgrade forest preserves?

A: I could support putting a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide if they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails, and upgrade the forest preserves, if that also includes more dog parks, and wider distribution of the amenities such as shelters and picnic areas.

However, right now is a time of financial uncertainty and inflation so citizens are very concerned about rising prices. I do support more forest preserve land in general because it is invaluable for the mental and physical health of our citizens, as well as for the health of our environmental ecosystems. The forest preserves are enjoyed and well supported by the citizens, but right now is not a good time for such a ballot measure.

Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?

A: Choosing a single most important issue in my district is not a simple task. District 2 has many of the same challenges as other areas of Lake County such as: Gun and domestic violence, drug addiction, homelessness/cost of homes and more. But, one issue that is particularly important in District 2 which includes Round Lake, Wauconda, Hawthorn Woods, Mundelein and Grayslake, is the rapid growth and number of new homes and cars moving into the area. We still have a lot of two-lane roads but keep steadily adding more cars. The number of new homes and cars is stressing our roads, our schools, our infrastructure, our towns, our environment, and our people. New homes pop up quickly but no planning is done for the other infrastructure that goes with it. We need to have a rapid transit system that people will use that cuts across the Metra lines and goes to key areas of western Lake County. Continuing to widen roads is not sustainable and costs a lot more money than people realize.

Q: Lake County officials want public feedback on how to spend portions of some $135 million in leftover federal pandemic funding. What are your thoughts on how the money ought to be spent?

A: How to spend $ 135 mm - what a good problem to have! I know that this money is not really very much when applied to big countywide issues. I personally would like to see progress on systems of transportation that provide alternatives to single occupied vehicles. Also one of the things that I would like to see is to make our judicial system more efficient and effective and just. I am aware that the Lake County Board has already prepared strategic goals to address specific issues in our county including one to develop transportation solutions to our logjam of cars in this county, and another to improve the justice system. Obviously, these are huge issues that require a lot of collaborative work with the experts in these fields to identify potential solutions and try them out. I'm not sure if these goals have plans and sponsors at this time, but I would recommend using these federal funds to advance some of the goals that will improve the quality of life for Lake County residents.

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