Three Democrats vie for nomination in Lake County District 13
Updated: March 29, 2012 4:04PM
Three candidates -- Sandra Hart of Lake Bluff, Robert Glueckert of Grayslake and Anthony Soler of Waukegan -- are vying for the Democratic Party nomination in Lake County Board District 13.
The winner on March 20 will face the winner of the Republican primary contest between Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff and David Barkhausen of Lake Bluff in the November general election.
The new District 13 covers Lake Bluff, and parts of Gurnee, North Chicago, Waukegan, Wildwood, Gages Lake, Grayslake and unincorporated Lake County.
Hart, 44, has served on the Lake Bluff Park Board for the last seven years and is currently the board’s vice president. She was a former employee of Kraft Foods for about 13 years.
“I care very much about the forest preserves and the quality of life here in Lake County,” said Hart. “I have a business background, and I thought I could make a difference.”
Glueckert, 51, is a licensed managing real estate broker in Lake County and is a certified Illinois assessment officer. He previously served two years on the Lake County Board of Review from 2009 through June 2011 and then served as interim township assessor for Avon Township for six months between June and December of 2011.
Glueckert said he’s running because he’s a long-time resident of Lake County and previously owned some family businesses in the Waukegan in the 1980s and 1990s and believes his knowledge of business and budgeting could help the county.
“I think it’s time for a new fresh approach, a new set of eyes to look at the budget and expenditures and how it affects the big question and that’s taxes,” he said.
Soler, 38, is a lieutenant with the Waukegan Fire Department where he worked as a firefighter/parademic since 1997. He is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Soler has never held elected office before but sees his running for the County Board as a logical extension of his years of public service in the military and as a firefighter.
“I want to give the voters another option from the cookie-cutter politicians they already have,” he said. “I think I represent the average voter in our district.”
The new County Board member will serve on the County Board and the Lake County Forest Preserve District Board. One of the major topics of debate at the forest preserve level right now is over a proposed golf course at Fort Sheridan.
Hart served as a member of the Fort Sheridan Master Plan Committee Advisory Committee and said she was one of the only members of the group to oppose a new golf course at Fort Sheridan.
“We are extremely saturated in the golf market in the Chicagoland area,” she said. “I think that lakefront property is pristine. I feel bad for the homeowners there, but in fact research shows that homes that abut natural space or open space return more home value than being next to a golf course.”
Glueckert said he also opposes a new golf course at Fort Sheridan.
“Right now, the county already operates three golf courses,” he said. “To build a golf course at Fort Sheridan would not only affect income at the three courses that are currently operating but could potentially reduce rounds at the private courses as well.”
Soler said he believes the forest preserve has an obligation to build a golf course under the original deed restriction it entered into with the U.S Army when it took ownership of the property years ago.
“My position of this issue is that this land was deeded to the forest personal district (with the condition) that there must be a golf course on that land,” he said. “I don’t think it’s prudent for any government body to go against a legally binding agreement, not to mention the potential for lawsuits from people who built homes there expecting there would be a golf course.”
Soler said another issue of major concern in the county is the condition of roads and infrastructure. He supports the extension of Route 53 into Lake County.
“They should have built it 10 years ago,” he said. “Our roads and bridges need to be taken care of. The traffic out there is ridiculous.”
Glueckert said he also supports the extension of Route 53 as well as doing something to address traffic congestion along Illinois Route 120 where it turns into two lanes west of Almond Road.
“I support the basic proposal I’ve seen of building a Route 120 bypass around Grayslake essentially all the way to Route 12,” he said.
Hart said she supports “an environmentally sensitive” Route 53 extension that alleviates traffic congestion and improve mobility, while still “being sensitive to the neighboring communities, wetlands and farmland.”
Regarding the county’s Winchester House nursing home in Libertyville, Hart said she hasn’t seen the report of the pros and cons of the county’s decision to privitaze management of the facility. However, she favors building a new Winchester House.
“I’m not in favor of closing Winchester House because I think in the future there may not be enough beds for people who need it the most,” she said.
Glueckert said he supports the county’s decision to privatize management of Winchester House and moving ahead with building a new facility.
“I think the county’s had over a 100 year history in terms of supporting our elderly population,” he said. “There’s currently a shortage of Medicare and Medicaid and I think there’s a real need.”
Soler said he doesn’t want to see the county lose money on Winchester House or subsidize out of its general budget but supports funding it using the current nursing home levy.
“Our community is aging and the need will only increase in time,” he said. “I would not be in favor of going against the wishes of the citizens which were in favor of funding the Winchester House by referendum in 1982.”