Sharon Smith-Terry: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 5


Party: Democratic

Office sought: Lake County Board District 5

City: Lake Villa

Age: 57

Occupation: Executive director, Orthopaedic Research Society

Previous offices held: Precinct committeemen #164, #162, #152, current precinct committeemen in #150.


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 for office to address specific issues the affect my constituents and all others within Lake County. These issues include mental health, fiscal stewardship, infrastructure and environmental responsibility.

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: As an executive director, I lead a health care society and have P&L responsibility. My experience in operational efficiency, sales, people management and relations building and preservation with key stakeholders are transferrable to the Lake County Board. If elected, I plan to bring this experience to my commissioner colleagues and in collaboration, ensure that key county matters (i.e., forest preserve, clean air (ethylene oxide issue), property taxes (find ways to reduce them within the board's limited span of control), infrastructure, mental health, gun violence, and the opioid epidemic) are addressed to improve the well-being of the residents and the county as a whole.

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: For the most part, the county has done a good job with the forest preserve. One area of improvement is to install more rest stop seating areas for people to rest while exercising (walking, biking, running) and plant more trees instead of allowing wildflowers/weeds to grow - this will all for more clean air.

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'm not sure. While the environment is very important to me, I want to assess all of the issues and prioritize the needs of the county.

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

A: Improving the opioid crisis, which is related to mental health. Having access to mental health facilities and being able to get support through the 211 program are important. Now, I know you said one issue, yet I would be remiss if gun violence was not mentioned as an issue. Whether it is an active shoot, crime of passion, or street violence, we must reduce the occurrences where people want to reach for a gun to solve a problem.

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: In alignment with what has been mentioned in the questionnaire, the money should be spent on more mental health facilities and programs, forest preserve improvements, clean air and clean energy initiatives, and ways to give the residents a relief from increasing property taxes.

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