Several incumbent Lake County Board Democrats announce reelection plans
Signature-gathering season for political candidates is well underway and several Lake County Board incumbents in the last week have made it known they'll be seeking reelection.
Four Democratic incumbents in recent days said they will be seeking another term on the county board, which has become a party stronghold.
They include Lake Bluff resident and current Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart for District 13, Highland Park resident Paras Parekh for District 12, Beach Park resident Gina Roberts for District 4, and unincorporated Warren Township resident Carissa Casbon for District 7.
In 2018, Democrats seized a majority on the county board for the first time in Lake County's history and strengthened the hold in 2020. They have a 15-6 majority on the board. County board members double as Lake County Forest Preserve District commissioners.
But the number of county board districts have been reduced to 19 for the November general election, and district boundaries have been redrawn per new state law after the decennial census.
That could lead to some interesting circumstances. In some instances, sitting incumbents who choose to run will face each other. The redrawn map also includes two districts in which no incumbent of either party currently lives.
The county board chair is selected by county board members and has held that position since 2018. Hart said she is proud of the work that's been done on the part of communities.
"We have held the line on property taxes, made historic investments in our county's infrastructure, and implemented a robust response to help our residents and businesses remain safe and resilient throughout the pandemic," she said in announcing her reelection campaign.
She cited support for mental health issues and programming, passage of a clean air ordinance and balanced county budgets as other achievements during her tenure.
Parekh, marketing director for a life sciences company, cited a "transparent governing process" and responsiveness to resident concerns as accomplishments. The board also is making strides on environmental issues and green technologies, he said.
Roberts, a legal assistant at a law office, beat long-term Republican incumbent Brent Paxton in 2020. She echoed Hart's message on achievements and said the creation of an independent ethics commission was an "enormous step" in increasing government transparency and accountability.
Casbon, a teacher and small business owner, upset long-term Republican incumbent Steve Carlson in 2020.
"In this era of pessimism about government, I'm running for reelection to work for (constituents) to make our county a beacon of service, transparency and opportunity," she said.
In previous weeks, incumbent Democrats John Wasik, a Grayslake resident, and Jennifer Clark, a Libertyville resident, announced runs for reelection in Districts 6 and 15, respectively.
Ingleside Republican J. Kevin Hunter, who was appointed last summer, is running for a full term. Republican Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach will not be seeking reelection. He would have faced incumbent Democrat Terry Wilke in a redrawn district.
Democrats Carolina Abarca Schottland, a Round Lake attorney, will be running for District 16, and Vernon Township Trustee Sara Knizhnik will be running in District 18, one of the two districts where no incumbents live.