County Clerk Helander won’t run in 2014
News-Sun staff report October 7, 2013 7:40PM
Updated: November 9, 2013 6:16AM
Longtime Republican Lake County Clerk Willard Helander is not seeking reelection next year.
In a lengthy posting on Facebook Monday, Helander announced her decision.
“Working for the people of Lake County has been my privilege for the last 19 years,” she said. “I have enjoyed working with some incredibly fine people at the federal, state, county, municipal, township and other local units of government.”
Helander said meeting with and working for county residents has been the part of the job she has enjoyed most, and that residents have been “an inspiration to me to do this job, even when career bureaucrats or political barking dogs attacked.”
She noted that the responsibilities in the County Clerk’s office have changed considerably since she took office in 1994, and that she and workers at the clerk’s office have introduced and improved transparency, technology, efficiency and training, “all while the number of voters more than doubled and mandated responsibilities increased ten-fold.”
Helander, a Libertyville resident, said part of her decision to retire as clerk after this term was based on state efforts to change election laws that she feels “run Illinois elections by exception.”
Recent legislation was passed and signed by the governor to have a bipartisan Lake County Election Commission, instead of the County Clerk’s office, oversee Lake County elections instead of the County Clerk’s office.
In response, Lake County filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction preventing that change, and a Kane County judge granted the injunction.
County officials said the new law would cost the county an estimated $500,000 to $700,000 to implement a change residents have not asked for.