Newcomer Gaborek challenges Hanson in Antioch mayoral race
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun March 20, 2013 6:58PM
Updated: May 20, 2013 2:22AM
ANTIOCH — Newcomer Mary Gaborek is challenging incumbent Mayor Lawrence Hanson as he seeks a second term in the April 9 election.
Gaborek, 49, has raised three daughters with husband Mike, while volunteering with Antioch School District 34, Lake County Regional Office of Education Advisory Board and St. Peter’s Church. She has lived in Antioch for 10 years.
Gaborek attended the College of Lake County, studying business and political science. She says she has used her college experience to examine and remain informed on village government. Specific village-oriented involvement includes organizing a grass roots campaign in support of the Antioch Marketplace, a proposed 600,000-square-foot regional shopping center development that was approved but not built because of the downturn in the economy.
She says she is a new face with a new focus in village government. “I want to take a more informed approach than this mayor. There have been serious issues before the board recently and I don’t feel trustees have been sufficiently educated about them by the mayor and the lack of preparation has delayed decision-making and voting. I want to make sure the village board is properly educated enough to know what they are voting on ahead of time.”
She gave the example of misinformation about liquor licenses that led to a delay in awarding licenses to new businesses. “The village attorney sits right next to the mayor, and the mayor should have been better informed as to the status of available liquor licenses. I know the board sometimes receives documents immediately prior to a board meeting. I don’t think that is the way to operate. I want to make sure all elected officials are informed on all issues prior to board meetings. It is the mayor’s job to work closely with the village attorney and staff to bring issues to a discussion and a timely decision.”
Although she has never held public office, Gaborek said she has attended almost all village board meetings over the past five years and that she is aware of major issues in the village. She said the only thing she lacks is a voice in village government. “I am educated in village issues. I just want to have a voice in village government now by leading and working closely with the village board, attorney and staff.”
She also wants to create sustainable economic growth, “but to do that we need to be visible outside of the community.” She said she attended a Lake County Business Partners luncheon recently and Antioch was the only municipality not represented. “That lack of visibility concerns me. We need to be active and visible by joining economic development organizations and networking with businesses. Networking is key. I want to be doing those kinds of things.”
She advocates forming advisory groups that could share ideas and work toward economic development and bringing businesses to the village.” I want to bring residents who have a business sense and background to the table to promote and attract businesses to Antioch.”
If elected, Gaborek would make the mayoral position her main job. “I would be present in the job every day. I would represent Antioch and promote the village with many organizations beyond our village limits. I would be out and working with organizations all over Lake County as well as our local businesses and residents.”
Hanson, 53, is seeking a second term as mayor. A village trustee for 14 years before he was elected to his first term as mayor in 2009, Hanson says he wants to continue a course of fiscal responsibility he started four years ago. “I started my term during some of the worst fiscal times we have ever seen, and we had to make some sacrifices that proved to be a success.”
The life-long Antioch resident is manager of BJs Fashions for Men, a downtown business where he has worked since 1976. He said his biggest accomplishment since starting his first term is making necessary budget cuts and subsequently taking the village from the red and into the black financially. “I did everything I said I would do four years ago and proved this board to be fiscally responsible, bringing us back to a balanced budget exactly as promised.”
Hanson said through his first term he has managed to take the politics and in-fighting out of village government. “We take care of business and do it without fighting. We are all strong personalities on the board and have different opinions but we work toward doing the best to represent the residents who elected us. They are our neighbors and every decision we make is based on the knowledge that the electors have put their faith in us to do the right thing.”
The first official act after his election four years ago was to rescind the budget and review it line-by-line, reducing expenditures by $2 million to meet revenues. The village has reduced staff by 30 percent and trimmed $600,000 in workmen’s comp insurance premiums during his first term.
“We’ve made some tough calls in the past four years. We have a balanced budget and developed a five-year strategic plan, a first for Antioch. We have also managed to undertake some big projects including a long-promised aqua center to replace our outdated pool, developed a new park, Sprenger Park, in a bankrupt Neumann Homes development and accomplished the long-needed resurfacing of the Woods of Antioch, all done in tough economic times.”
Hanson, a business man who works full time at his store in downtown Antioch, says he is only as good as his board of trustees and staff. “Both are outstanding.”
He spends the first part of his day at village hall and also finds time to be active in the Lions and Rotary Clubs. He is also past president of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and Antioch Retail Association.
“I could not be more accessible to residents and our business community. I am deeply concerned about our economic development and am pleased that we have retained our downtown character while seeing more big box development.”
He is confident Antioch will soon see an influx of economic development, as evidenced by the recent opening of a new ALDI Food Store and a larger and more modern Walgreens, both on Route 173. “We are also seeing new businesses coming into our downtown and Orchard Plaza areas in central Antioch. I am sure that we will see an influx of new businesses and stores as our economy improves.”
“Antioch equals hard work and good people. I think our village board and staff reflect that and I we are going in the right direction.”
In the trustee race, newcomer Jerry Johnson, currently a member of the village parks commission, is challenging incumbent trustees Jay Jozwiak, Scott Pierce and Ted Poulos.