All seven Lake County Board members up next year to seek re-election, with two facing primary challenges thus far

November 27, 2019

Emily Coleman | Lake County News Sun

With just one day left for candidates looking to get on the March primary ballot, the field for the Lake County Board is starting to take shape with all seven candidates seeking re-election, two of them facing challengers from within their own party and four challenges on track for November…

While the make-up of those races remain largely uncertain, the seven County Board races are taking firmer shape with all seven incumbents running for re-election and challengers stepping up in five of those races.

District 13

County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart is facing a challenge come November from Republican Lauren Fleming of Gurnee, who said she’s been concerned that the County Board is becoming more partisan and less cooperative.

“I think it’s going the way of Cook County,” said Fleming, a former Zion-Benton Public Library trustee who owns a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit fundraising.

She cited some recent appointments, including one to the Zoning Board of Appeals, where a “political friend” of Hart’s was appointed over a well-qualified incumbent board member.

Hart, a Lake Bluff resident, said when she interviews candidates for potential appointments, she is “mindful of the importance of fresh ideas” while trying to balance that with some consistency. She denied that she took the person’s politics into consideration.

Hart, who was first elected to the County Board in 2012 and became chairwoman after the Democrats took control last year, said she decided to seek another term because “there’s a lot more work to be done.”

“I’m running again because it’s an honor to serve the residents of my district,” she said in a text message. “As board chair, I’m proud that we’ve held the line on taxes for the first time in at least 20 years. Our balanced budget invests more money to address stormwater flooding, a growing problem, and increases funding for veteran services.”

Fleming questioned whether the budget was truly balanced given the 3.3% increase in overall expenditures with no increase in the county’s property tax levy.

“Money will have to be found,” she said. “I don’t think it was responsible to kick the can down the road for the sake of passing a flat tax levy.”

Hart said the new spending will be covered by an increase in dollars it gets from other units of government.

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