Will County ballots feature four countywide races
Voters in Will County have decisions to make for four contested countywide races featuring the county chief executive officer, circuit clerk, auditor and recorder of deeds.
Currently held by Democrats, the positions are up in the Nov. 8 election. Incumbents Executive Lawrence "Larry" Walsh, Auditor Kevin "Duffy" Blackburn and Recorder Karen Stukel are seeking re-election. Circuit Clerk Pam McGuire is stepping down. Coroner Patrick O'Neil and State's Attorney James Glasgow are running unopposed.
Here's a look at who's on the ballot for Will County's top seats.
Lifelong Ellwood resident Lawrence "Larry" Walsh has been full-time county executive and a part-time farmer since 2004 after serving as a state senator from the 43rd District from 1997 to 2004, among other local elected posts.
Walsh, 68, says he's seeking another term because the county needs an active and engaged leader to oversee economic development, infrastructure and growth to balance the county's rural, suburban and urban needs.
Plainfield resident Laurie McPhillips has past elected experience as Will County recorder and a Will County board member and past professional experience as the county's director of operations under former Executive Joe Mikan.
She says it's time for the "new energy" of a "servant-leader" who would focus on streamlining operations and budgeting to make sure the administration runs efficiently.
Democrat Andrea Lynn Chasteen and Republican Marlene Carlson are seeking the circuit clerk seat being vacated after five terms by retiring Clerk Pamela McGuire.
Chasteen, 40, of Frankfort, is director of operations in the clerk's office, where she has worked since age 19. She says she has the right experience to ensure the office runs smoothly as the keeper of court records and she wants to continue integrating operations with departments such as the sheriff and the state's attorney.
Carlson, 46, of New Lenox, ran unsuccessfully for clerk in 2012 and is seeking the office again, saying she brings knowledge of complex IT systems necessary to improve use of technology. Carlson, a computer engineer, says she understands how to implement better online case management and get reluctant judges on board -- without incurring the extra expense of a technology consultant.
Democratic incumbent Karen Stukel of Channahon says she wants to continue working toward electronic recording of all property transactions the office handles and to implement a veterans benefit program with discounts for men and women who have served. Stukel, 50, of Joliet, is seeking a third term and promoting her accomplishments in securing the office's data and offering property fraud alerts.
Republican challenger Kristin Cross, a former clerk's office employee, says she's passionate about improving access to property records so the office can truly function as the library of local history and protector of assets it's meant to be. Cross, 52, of Joliet, says she would do away with no-bid contracts to ensure the office is getting the lowest cost for purchases such as recording software, and she would work on digitizing all records back to 1836 so they can be more easily searchable.
Democratic incumbent Kevin "Duffy" Blackburn of Joliet is a certified public accountant who's held the role for eight years. Blackburn, 38, says he's running again because he loves looking out for fraud on taxpayers' behalf. He says he would keep the auditor's office independent and objective to ensure the county is well-managed with a balanced budget.
Republican challenger Gary Good of Shorewood is a 22-year military veteran whose last assignment at the Pentagon was to help the undersecretary of the Army write the Army's business management strategy. Good, 44, says he wants to improve transparency of financial records so more people can easily understand them. He also says it's important for the auditor to change so "fresh eyes" won't glaze over potential mismanagement of money.