NEW LENOX, IL — Election Day is only a few weeks away, and there are plenty of candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but voters will also decide the outcome of seats in more local races as well.
In Will County, there are two positions up for election for Will County Board Member for District 12. Democrat JoAnne Hamilton-Gunkel, Republican Frankie Pretzel, Democrat Erin Moncek and Republican Tom Weigel are vying for the two positions.
Hamilton-Gunkel recently filled out a questionnaire from Patch, and her answers can be found below:
Age (as of Election Day): 65
Town/City of Residence: Mokena
Office Sought: County office
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Family: Gary-husband, Children-Matthew 35 years old, Lyndsay 33 years old
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?: No
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science Cook College, Rutgers U. New Jersey 1977. M.A. in Educational Leadership, St. Xavier Univ. Chicago 2000
Occupation: Retired Science Teacher
Campaign website: You can find it online here.
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: Illinois Education Association-Retired Member of Legislative Action Committee
The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it: To continue to provide needed services to all of the citizens of Will County, while keeping the county financially responsible. The pandemic has brought unforeseen circumstances to all citizens, businesses and residents. Many residents have been under increased financial and personal stress and may come to rely on the county services in the years ahead. As a board, we need to be ready and willing to act responsibly.
The county has been able to expand its services, while reducing its tax rate for the last 5 years. If elected, I will work to see this trend continue.
I believe it will be my duty to be fully informed of all the issues that impact our communities and district, and to act by doing what is best for the residents of Mokena and New Lenox.
Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?
What are your thoughts on the campaign to "defund" the police?
What are your thoughts on the state and national response to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you favor such measures as limiting operation of non-essential businesses or restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a nationwide mask mandate? I believe the national response has been a travesty. There was and still is no organized plan or objectives set forth to ensure the safety of all citizens. I am a scientist and believe that science should have determined what our government response was.
I am very pleased with the state government response. I support a state and nationwide mask mandate, I support restricted indoor dining and limiting operation of non-essential businesses. I believe these actions have and will continue to keep people safe and healthy.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? The most obvious differences are I am a woman and a Democrat. In these unprecedented times, I believe we need leaders that are able to handle all complex challenges that lie ahead. I have the experience and the know-how to faces these challenges.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency): I would say the current representatives have not represented many views that I and many residents like me, are concerned about.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? I feel my role as a teacher and a working mother has prepared me exceptionally well for being a member of the county board.
Over my long teaching career, I have worked with many different professionals on numerous educational teams and have learned first hand how complex problems are discussed, debated and solved.
As a working mother and teacher, I understand the many challenges and responsibilities families face in our communities and believe I can bring a fresh perspective to county issues and decisions.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success? If more people in our communities (and county) felt that they had been better served.
Why should voters trust you? I have been a lifelong public servant that has performed my duties honestly, and in the best interest of the people I have had the privilege to serve.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family? No
The best advice ever shared with me was:
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
Election Day is Nov. 3.
Related: New Lenox Voter Guide 2020