Ex-lawmaker, park board member seek 13th
Hometown: Lake Bluff
Children: Sons Wick, 24, and Billy, 21
Education: B.A. Princeton University; J.D. Southern Illinois University School of Law
Hometown: Lake Bluff
Children: Emily, 11; Katie, 8; Tommy, 6
Education: B.A. from Indiana University Kelley School of Business; MBA from DePaul University
Updated: October 24, 2012 8:45AM
LAKE BLUFF — A former state legislator is battling a Lake Bluff Park Board member in the race for the 13th district seat on the Lake County Board in the general election Nov. 6.
Republican David Barkhausen, 62, a state representative for two years and state senator for 14, is up against Democrat Sandra Hart, 44, a park district trustee for six years. The two Lake Bluff residents hope to replace Republican Susan Loving Gravenhorst, who also lives in Lake Bluff. Gravenhorst first was elected to the county board in 2002.
The reconfigured 13th district includes Lake Bluff, the Great Lakes Navy Base, parts of southern Gurnee and the unincorporated areas of Gages Lake and Wildwood in western Lake County.
Barkhausen, Shields Township clerk since 2005 and former Lake Bluff village trustee for eight, is no stranger to the reconfigured district, which he represented during 10 of his 16 years in the Illinois Legislature. His term with Shields Township ends in April 2013.
If elected to the county board, Barkhausen pledges to limit spending and taxes and considers maintaining the county’s AAA credit rating among the county’s most pressing issues.
“The challenge will be to maintain that status in the face of what are likely to be cutbacks in federal and state grants,” Barkhausen said. Barkhausen brings to the County Board legislative experience helping to pass one of the last balanced budgets in Illinois and experience chairing the Lake Bluff Finance Committee when the village achieved its first AAA credit rating, he said.
On transportation, Barkhausen supports increasing traffic-light synchronization, constructing the Route 53 four-lane parkway and extending the four lanes on Route 120 west of Almond Road to improve traffic flow countywide.
Barkhausen is a lawyer and life insurance consultant.
Hart said the main issues facing the county are jobs and rising property taxes.
“My role on the County Board will be to make sure we’re providing the right environment to attract and retain companies,” she said. “We should be thinking about how we are facilitating and fostering an environment for businesses to succeed, what are the barriers to success businesses encounter and how can we correct it.”
Like Barkhausen, Hart supports streamlining the property tax appeal process for homeowners countywide.
“Alleviating that burden is a central focus for me,” Hart said.
Hart points to her 13-year corporate business background at Kraft Foods with providing the understanding and experience in budgeting and planning. If elected, she pledges to hold business and resident forums.
“The only way we’re going to improve is by collaborating with residents and businesses in the county,” she said. “I’ll be proactive, searching out what are the issues people have and how can I help.”
County Board members also serve as commissioners of the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
Barkhausen pledges to “strengthen partnerships between the Forest Preserve District and other public agencies and private organizations with a similar mission.”
Hart said she loves the county’s Forest Preserve District and looks forward to working on the board, if elected.
“It makes Lake County a great place to live,” she said.