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Longtime incumbent faces persistent challenger in County Board District 15

Lake County Board District 15 candidate Del Parra.

Lake County Board District 15 candidate Del Parra.

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Del Parra

PARTY: Democrat

AGE: 64

FAMILY: Divorced, daughters Giovana (29) and Blanca (21), son Delfino (25)

EDUCATION: M.S. Horticulture at Hawaii University, B.S Agriculture Science at Chapingo University in Mexico City

Carol J. Calabresa

PARTY: Republican

AGE: 68

FAMILY: Married to Bill, daughters Elizabeth (39) and Kathryn (37), son Vincent (34)

EDUCATION: B.S. Political Science University of Wisconsin

Updated: December 26, 2012 1:25AM

Voters in Lake County Board District 15th face a choice in the upcoming election between two Libertyville residents, a longtime incumbent and a persistent challenger.

Carol Calabresa has held the seat since 1986. During that time, she also has served on the board of the Lake County Forest Preserve District and has been its president.

“People identify me with the forest preserve almost more than with the county,” Calabresa said. She made it clear that keeping the board focused on the environment is a primary concern for her.

“I have a history and legacy of protecting our natural resources and I want to see that continue,” she said.

Calabresa is running for re-election, she said, because she hopes to see several projects through to completion, such as the county’s five-year transportation improvement plan. She said she believes that her many years of experience are a plus.

“I lend a valuable historical perspective to the board,” she said. “This will be especially important this year as we will have a number of new board members.”

The challenger, Del Parra, is making his thrid run at the seat after unsuccessful bids in 2006 and 2008. He is the director of the Family Resource Center in the Diamond Lake School District, though his background is in argiculture and horticulture. Parra has never held elected office, but pointed to many years of volunteerism and other community involvement. He cited concerns about the county’s level of spending as his primary reason for running, specifically singling out the forest preserves.

“We have a culture of spending there and I see very little discussion or debate about it. The county board just approves everything without giving it much thought,” Parra said. He vowed to be a strong advocate for taxpayers by opposing what he views as excessive spending.

If elected, he would work to cut at least 10 percent from both the board budgets. He also would advocate for less spending on outside contractors by making full use of internal county resources, he said.

Calabresa also stressed fiscal responsibility as a major issue in this election season. She feels the board places high priority on being prudent and not taking on a lot of debt. The challenge going forward, she said, would be balancing the desire to stay fiscally sound with the desire to address pent-up needs which have been languishing due to the poor economy.

Parra referenced the difficult economic times as well when making his case for reduced governemnt spending. “We have to think of the taxpayers,” he said. “People are, in many cases, losing their homes and can’t pay their taxes. We have to remember that we represent them.”

He cited the high salaries of some county administrators as an example of being out of touch with the people they represent.

District 15 covers parts of Libertyville and Mundelein.

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