Mundelein board race pits experience against new blood

  • Upper from left, Scott Black, Kerston Russell and Kara Lambert and, lower from left, Bill Rekus and Erich Schwenk are candidates for Mundelein trustee.

    Upper from left, Scott Black, Kerston Russell and Kara Lambert and, lower from left, Bill Rekus and Erich Schwenk are candidates for Mundelein trustee.

 
 

The race for three seats on Mundelein's village board pits three sitting trustees against two newcomers.

Incumbents Scott Black, Bill Rekus and Kerston Russell are on the ballot with challengers Kara Lambert and Erich Schwenk. The race will be decided April 2.

The Daily Herald asked each candidate to explain why he or she is the best person for the job.

Black was appointed to the village board in 2017. He previously spent 21 years reviewing development proposals on Mundelein's planning and zoning commission, including 10 years as its leader.

He touted his understanding of the "pace and process" of government and development.

"There is no one in this race who has been involved in Mundelein government longer than I have," said Black, a senior vice president with Assured Partners of Illinois. "This is no time to have someone just walk in off the street, with absolutely no experience whatsoever, think they can have any understanding or feel as to how municipal government works."

Rekus, a sales agent, was elected trustee in 2015. He previously spent eight years on the village's planning commission and 13 years on Mundelein's Community Days commission.

In all, he's had 25 years of municipal experience -- and he said that makes him the best candidate.

Russell was elected in 2015. He's a founding member of the Mundelein Business Alliance board and a member of the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau board.

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Russell also owns local businesses that distribute maintenance supplies and equipment, manufacture chemicals and serve other needs. He said his experience as a small-business owner makes him the best candidate.

"I am networked into the business community and believe that network and my own experience adds to the information the board receives," Russell said.

Lambert, a sales and service manager for the Goldfish Swim School, has never held public office and didn't cite any civic involvement when asked.

Even so, Lambert said she's the best candidate in the race because she genuinely wants to make Mundelein great.

"My heart is in the right place," she said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lambert also said she knows how to collaborate to ensure projects get done efficiently and quickly, among other strengths.

Schwenk is a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines who also owns a small business. He serves on the Mundelein Business Alliance board and the Lake County Junior Chamber International board.

Never elected to public office, Schwenk said he would bring new energy "and 21st-century ideas" to the board.

"I am a dedicated, innovative leader," he said. "I advocate for those in need, whether that's my neighbors after our homes flooded or helping a small business."

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