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Dem newcomer challenges 16-year veteran in County Board 5

Bonnie ThomsCarter Lake County Board District 5. | Special Sun-Times Media

Bonnie Thomson Carter Lake County Board District 5. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 4, 2013 1:44AM

Fox Lake resident Patricia Ferruzza, Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Bonnie Thomson Carter in the Lake County Board District 5 race, didn’t want to see the longtime politician run unopposed this election.

So Ferruzza, 50, who is married and has children and who edits all manner of legal reference work from her home, took her experience of working on other campaigns and being an election judge and jumped into the race.

“People comment on how many unopposed people there are on the ballot. We need more choices and Democrats are trying to be more active,” said Ferruzza, who moved to the county in 1997 and then to Fox Lake in 2004.

But Carter, 57, of Ingleside, said she has had plenty of competition. “I may have had only one general election (opponent), but I’ve had multiple primary elections. I’ve had several heated primaries in my 16 years,” said Carter, who runs her own insurance business. She is married and has children.

In her last general election, her opponent was thrown off the ballot along with four other Democratic candidates for Lake County Board for not following proper procedures.

Carter said the most important issue is to continue to provide services the county is supposed to provide, but with less money, citing things like keeping the county’s AAA bond rating, court services, jail, public works, transportation, elections and health-related issues.

“I’ve worked very hard to continue our mission,” she said.

Ferruzza said the No. 1 issue is jobs, but there is no simple solution. She said the county is so insular, it doesn’t attract business. But she would also like to make sure the environmentally sensitive areas are not disturbed.

“We need to decrease run-off and make sure it’s not affecting the water,” she said. “The county needs better roads and more public transportation. There needs to be more emphasis on increasing opportunities to use public transportation,” she said.

Ferruzza said there also needs to be more options to use wind power even though the state is fairly restrictive. “Energy isn’t going to get any cheaper and it’s not going to get better without green initiatives,” she said, noting government needs to make it easier for this type of construction.

She is also disturbed at how there are empty storefronts in the district, but plans were approved for a new shopping mall on the DiMucci property not that far away. “Public and private partnerships could do something new,’ said Ferruzza.

Carter, who was president of the Forest Preserve Board from 2002-2010, said she will continue to look for efficiencies and ways to reduce spending just like she reduced spending in her own household. “When I look at our budget (county board), I expect the same,” she said.

To boost jobs, she said the County Board needs to keep Lake County Partners funded, but also look at improving infrastructure and transportation. “They go hand in hand,” she said. “We want to retain business and help them expand.”

She said the board has kept 100 percent of the quarter-percent sales-tax increase approved by the state funneled to transportation. “We are see a lot of work get done,” she said, also pointing to a planned project in her district.

That’s the reconstruction of the Route 83, Hainesville and Rollins roads intersection near Mallard Creek Mall in Round Lake Beach. “You’ll see Rollins drop 20 feet and the railroad will be an overpass and Hainesville Road will be realigned,” she said. “It will eliminate the backup of multiple crossings.”

Carter is also proud of her work on the Forest Preserve Board, citing the fact that more than half of the statewide Millennium Trail in Lake County is completed, mostly by working with municipalities, park districts and townships. Soon, you will be able to take the Des Plaines River Trail up through Marl Flats in Volo then continue into Round Lake and with just a few more connections, hike or bike right into Rollins Savanna in Grayslake.

“More people now have access to forest preserves or its trail system,” she said.

“It’s a balance of life. We all need that balance. It’s great that anyone in a space of 10 minutes can drive, bike or walk to a preserve or trail,” said Carter.

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