Endorsement: Charland for Lake County Board
Two active community volunteers -- Gloria Charland, 59, of Ingleside and Roger T. Smith Sr., 41, of Fox Lake -- are competing in the March 15 election to be the Democratic candidate in Lake County's District 5, which includes Fox Lake, Lakemoor, Volo and parts of Round Lake, Wauconda, Antioch and Lake Villa.
Charland, a retired railroad industry supervisor, is active in environmental causes and in Livable Lake County, a group lobbying against increasing taxes to pay to extend Route 53. She has not previously run for public office. With the county forest preserve district running out of money to acquire new land, Charland says a tax-increase referendum should be avoided. Instead, board members should look for other ways to raise funds, perhaps by refinancing old debt, she says. She wants the county to work to expand "green" industries in Lake County, such as clean energy and recycling. Charland says she will not accept a board member's $40,945 annual paycheck if elected.
Smith, who works delivering pharmaceuticals to drugstores, hospitals and medical offices, has served eight years on the Fox Lake Elementary District 114 school board, three as vice president. Smith says he would consider a tax referendum for the forest preserve district, saying voters previously have indicated open space is important to them. He also would support making College of Lake County tuition lower-cost or free, even if it required asking voters for a tax increase to do so. Smith says the county needs more jobs and he would support economic incentives to entice employers. Smith says he has not yet formed an opinion on extending Route 53. He says he would keep his school board position if elected to the county board, a practice we oppose.
Charland seems well-informed on county issues and has some fresh ideas. She receives our endorsement for the Democratic nomination in Lake County Board District 5.