Pedersen-Grant rematch in Lake County Board District 1
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun October 15, 2012 6:34PM
Peter Grant democratic candidate for Lake Count Board District 1. | Special to Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 17, 2012 6:12AM
Lake County Board District 1 incumbent Republican Linda Pedersen is facing a challenge from Antioch Township Democratic Party Chairman Peter Grant, who she defeated in 2008.
District 1 includes all of Antioch Township, including the village of Antioch, Old Mill Creek and large portions of Lake Villa village and township.
“We face the same issues today that we had four years ago — economic development, transportation and property taxes,” said Pedersen, who is seeking her second term on the County Board. “The county has made some major impacts on improving transportation and roads. Economic development is improving, but we have a long way to go.”
While bringing more jobs into Lake County is important, it is just as important to continue to improve roads and transportation, she said. “They go hand in hand. You can’t thrive economically without good roads.”
Pedersen said the board has worked hard to lower the county budget. “We’ve made cuts in retirement benefits, for example, but we have also had to raise the levy somewhat. We’ve worked hard at it and I will continue to do that.”
Pedersen said it is important for voters to know that the board lowered salaries recently after a raise was approved before she was elected to her first term.
“I have given back a raise of more than $1,000 annually, which I promised to do until the lower salaries kick in during the next budget cycle,” she said.
While she says she was instrumental in stopping a large wind farm in her district that had proposed 500-foot-tall wind turbines, she supported regulations that will allow small turbines for residential and other uses.
Reflecting on the past four years on the County Board, Pedersen says she is most proud of additions to the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
“We have one of the premiere forest districts following the 2008 successful referendum that allowed us to purchase more property than we thought we could, which was unfortunate in a way because the price of land has gone down. When we get improvements to these properties planned out and executed, we will have an unbelievable system and the ability to link forest preserve property together throughout the county.”
A resident of Antioch, she works part-time for state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch, and is currently serving on the Route 173 Community Action Group that is planning improvements from Route 59 east to the toll road.
Her challenger Peter Grant, an Antioch resident and a retired truck driver, also sees the economy and property taxes as a top concern.
“The No. 1 issue I have is property taxes. We have the 15th highest property taxes in the nation and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. In the 2012 county budget, taxes were increased by $17 million, so not only was the rate increased, the budget was increased to make up for lost state revenue.”
Grant says that if elected he would pledge to not vote for any budget that raises property taxes.
“To set an example, I am willing to take a 50 percent pay cut. It is a part-time job and board members are overpaid, anyway. I would also cut the township assessor positions. It is a job that can be done by the county. It won’t take care of everything, but it is a place to start.”
He also does not support the construction of a new courthouse.
“My solution for this issue would be to keep criminal court in Waukegan, but move civil litigation elsewhere into an existing vacant facility.”
Bringing more jobs to Lake County is also a top issue for Grant, who founded and owned a distribution company, and says he fully understands the pressures faced by small businesses and working people alike.
“I would also be interested in working with Lake County Partners to attract new businesses. I will focus on continuing my message of change by advocating for bringing good-paying jobs to northern Lake County that will create demand in our local economy, and to bringing business to the area to help create those jobs.”
Both Pedersen and Grant support the Route 53 extension and would like to see a full interchange at Route 173 to bring more traffic and business into the Chain O’ Lakes area.