What do Campton Hills candidates really want? The answers vary
Eight candidates seeking the three trustee positions, along with the president's seat on the Campton Hills Village Board, were asked if they had one wish for the village, what would it be.
World peace and a cure for cancer weren't necessarily options for people running in the April 7 election to serve the 8-year-old village.
Several candidates suggested a town-hall meeting to help mend wounds and end board strife, while another openly wished that opponents were completely off the board.
"I would change four board members," said Village President Patsy Smith, who is seeking a third term as a write-in candidate.
"We did it for six years without any problems at all," Smith said.
For months, Smith has clashed with a board majority of trustees Laura Andersen, Harry Blecker, Susan George and Al Lenkaitis. Smith says the board needs more independent thinkers, not those who vote together or walk out of meetings.
"That's what we need on the board, not people who follow other people and vote as a block," she said. "You get better decisions when people vote independently."
Blecker, who is running for village president, said he would want to get more people involved. He pointed to low voter turnout and sparse meeting attendance.
"We don't do anything to get them involved," Blecker said of the residents. "That's important. We need to know what they're thinking."
Andersen and George are seeking re-election as trustees and are part of a slate with Blecker. Newcomer Michael O'Dwyer also running for trustee as part of the slate.
Opposing them for three trustee seats are Steven Galloway and write-in candidates Don Sheluga and Mike Turgeon. All were recruited by Smith to run for one of the three, 4-year seats up for election.
O'Dwyer said he would get trustees, village employees and residents to ask questions, be respectful and solve problems.
"We need to end all the strife that's going on," he said.
Other candidates agreed a town-hall meeting would be good idea.
"Debate is healthy," Galloway said. "You need varying points of view to get to the best solution."
George and Andersen also advocated a meeting where ideas would be accepted and respected.
Sheluga and Turgeon agreed that candidates are running because they want what's best for the village. Turgeon suggested the media also attend the town-hall meeting to hold elected officials accountable to their promises.
"The tone is going to change, and it's going to be positive," Turgeon said.
Early voting continues through April 4.
For more information or polling places, visit kanecountyelections.org.