Lake County Board candidates participated in the League of Women Voters Debate this past Sunday. They were the last group of the event to debate, preceeded by Dold and Scheider—who are running for the 10th District Congressional Seat—as well as debates between the candidates running for 58th District State Representative and 29th District State Senate.
Those who took part in the debate included Steven Warren Mandel (Democratic candidate, District 11), Laura E. Lambrecht (Republican candidate, District 11), Mike Rummel (Republican candidate, District 12), Arlene Hickory (Democratic candidate, District 21), Ann B. Maine (Republian candidate, District 21), Sandra Hart (Democratic candidate, District 13) and David N. Barkhausen (Republican candidate, District 13).
Because Rummel is running unopposed for the District 12 position, he did not have to participate in the debate, and instead gave a short speech before the other candidates began.
"The county is an important area," he reminded the crowd. "It's the third largest in Illinois, with a budget over $478 million. It would be the fifth-smallest state in America if the county was a state."
One of the questions that sparked a lively debate between the other candidates was on urban sprawl in Lake County.
"Sprawl is an issue everwhere," Hart said. "Many times, when people move into Lake County, they are looking for a more rural environment. The county needs to look into low-impact development practices to determine the best practice in terms of planning, zoning and building."
The candidates all agreed that the current board has done a good job so far controlling sprawl and protecting the natural lands of Lake County.
The candidates were also asked to weigh in on redrawn boundaries and gerrymandering in the county.
"It should be people from both groups making decisions," Lambrecht said. "It's ridiculous that one group gets to decide and tries to gerrymander so that they're in a better position...maybe [we should implement] some sort of cooperative group to do it."
Maine agreed with Lambrecht, adding, "The devil is in the details—you need to look at what different parameters are going to be."
"People always want to take...a more spherical approach," Mandel said. "We shouldn't have a town like Deerfield, with three county board districts. We should look for where the population is centered and focus on that."
The candidates touched on the Winchester House.
"I was on the Human Services committee [that worked with the Winchester House]," Maine said. "We've seen great success by having an outside management group take care of the Winchester House, because frankly the county didn't know how to do it. I'm in support of the current model—55-75 percent of the beds are for Medicaid. As long as we can have the Winchester House live within the levy, whcih is what the citizens voted on, I support it."
The rest of the candidates agreed with Maine.
One of the last questions the candidates responded to concerned preserving more open space in Lake County.
"This is one of my greatest interestes and one of the reasons that I'm running," Barkhausen responded. "I served for 12 years as a board member of Lake Bluff open lands and I support the Lake County Forest Prevention Foundation. This is an area that I have experience and would welcome the opportunity to work with the Forest Preservation District."
The other candidates agreed with Barkhausen that open space is extremely important to maintain in Lake County.
There will be another League of Women Voter's debate on Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center. This debate will feature those running for Lake County administrative offices, including state's attorney, coroner, circuit court clerk and recorder.