Arlington Heights write-in candidates getting their names out there
When Arlington Heights voters go to the polls next Tuesday, there are two names they won't see on the ballot, even though both are running for 4-year terms on the village board.
Richard Baldino and Mark Walker are write-in candidates who filed in February amid controversy surrounding a social media post by then-trustee candidate Joe Favia.
Favia, a local dentist, later withdrew from the race in face of public pressure, leaving only three names on the ballot for four open spots on the board: Bert Rosenberg, a 17-year incumbent; Thomas Glasgow, an eight-8-year incumbent; and Jim Tinaglia, a four-year incumbent.
Because of the write-in candidacies and the time it will take to count ballots and certify results, it could be weeks until winners are declared.
Both Baldino and Walker admit their atypical candidacies present challenges -- like educating voters about how to properly mark ballots for write-in candidates -- but they've also gained some name recognition through social media, by knocking on doors and by holding meet-and-greet events.
Baldino, 49, a 17-year resident, is making his first run for elected office, though he says it's been something he's considered doing for a while. Baldino thought he might first join a lower-level village commission, until controversy erupted over Favia's candidacy.
"I had not considered jumping all the way up to the village board, but we felt that was the right thing to do -- to step up and offer a choice to our neighbors," said Baldino, who is board chairman of First United Methodist Church in Arlington Heights.
Walker, 27, a former Lake Zurich resident who moved to Arlington Heights in 2015, interned for the Ohio Democratic Party and AFL-CIO in college but first considered running for some type of office after the presidential election. At the time, he admits, he didn't know there was a local election coming up.
Then he discovered controversy swirling over Favia's candidacy and decided to enter the fray.
During an interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board, both write-ins said they would work to increase transparency on the board and make sure residents are being heard.
On the issues, Baldino supports incorporating "green" solutions into infrastructure improvements and stormwater management, such as expanding the rain barrel program. Baldino, an environmental chemist for a federal contractor that cleans up hazardous waste sites, said he would be a good technical resource on the board.
Walker supports continued village funding for arts programs, including the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, and environmental programs like tree planting and water protection. As a customer service representative for a manufacturer, Walker said he likes being a problem solver and that's why he wants to get into politics.
Full profiles of all candidates can be found at dailyherald.com/news/politics/election/race/Arlington-Heights-Village-Board.
Mayor Tom Hayes is running unopposed for a second 4-year term.