Lake County Board candidates explain why they're running for 10th District seat

  • Chuck Bartels, left, and Mike Jennings are running for the Lake County Board District 10 seat. They spoke Monday with the Daily Herald about the issues facing the county.

    Chuck Bartels, left, and Mike Jennings are running for the Lake County Board District 10 seat. They spoke Monday with the Daily Herald about the issues facing the county. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Chuck Bartels, left, and Mike Jennings are running for the Lake County Board District 10 seat. They spoke Monday with the Daily Herald about the issues facing the county.

    Chuck Bartels, left, and Mike Jennings are running for the Lake County Board District 10 seat. They spoke Monday with the Daily Herald about the issues facing the county. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/6/2014 6:18 PM

The candidates running for the Lake County Board's 10th District seat cited different motivations for running during a joint interview session Monday.

Republican Chuck Bartels said he's had a vision for the future of Lake County since he moved here in 1973. He said he wants to work to improve that vision for future generations.

 

Democrat Mike Jennings said he wants to be a voice for Lake County's taxpayers. He's particularly concerned about high property taxes and said officials need to better control spending.

Bartels and Jennings talked about their reasons for running and other issues in a 45-minute interview at the Daily Herald's Libertyville office.

The 10th District includes parts of Mundelein, Round Lake Park, Wauconda, Hawthorn Woods and Long Grove, as well as nearby unincorporated areas.

Veteran incumbent Diana O'Kelly, a Mundelein Republican, isn't seeking re-election.

Neither Bartels nor Jennings has ever held elected office.

Bartels, 69, a consultant from Mundelein, said he saw Lake County as "a great place to invest and a great place to raise a family" when he first arrived.

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"I've got the same vision today," he said. "I want to work to make sure we maintain and improve that for the future."

Bartels said his experience as a former executive with the Manpower human resources consulting group and as a leader with the Lake County Partners economic development group and other agencies and charities are benefits because he's worked with county officials through the years.

"I want to take all that volunteer experience working with the county ... and apply it as a member of the county board and be able to have a vote," Bartels said.

Jennings, 57, a retired firefighter from the Lake Zurich area, primarily voiced concern for Lake County residents' wallets and budgets when he was asked why he opted to run.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lake County has the highest taxes in the state, he said, and spending needs to be contained.

As he has in other interviews, Jennings targeted the planned expansion of the Waukegan courthouse as an example of bad financial habits.

The project is expected to cost $94 million, nearly $11 million more than originally estimated. That doesn't sit well with Jennings.

That overage could be better used as tax incentives for Lake County companies that could help create local jobs, he said.

County-government buildings should be practical and not built to resemble museums, he said.

"Pretty soon people are not going to be able to afford the taxes," Jennings said. "(People should) be able to afford to live here and work in Lake County."

Bartels won a three-way primary for the GOP nomination earlier this year.

Jennings was appointed to run after the primary by Democratic Party leaders.

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