ENDORSEMENT: LAWLOR FOR LAKE COUNTY BOARD
October 11, 2016
For Lake County Board District 18, incumbent Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor is recommended. Challenger Gerri Songer, a schoolteacher, is also running for the position.
Lawlor was first elected to the board in 2009, and has served as chairman since 2012. Songer is a teacher in Township High School District 214.
Lawlor co-chairs the Lake County Mental Health Coalition, an initiative to discover more about the need for mental health coverage in the spirit of offering care to those who otherwise would end up in emergency rooms, jail, or perhaps homeless.
Lawlor rescinded his support for the Route 53 extension plan when he determined the financial projections were inadequate and would have left the tollway with tens of millions of dollars in added costs and saddled the region with potential environmental problems.
He has been active as Lake County Board chairman, leading initiatives to retain employers both large and small, and he supports efforts that could allow him to work with neighboring McHenry County to find potential opportunities to consolidate functions and eliminate duplications.
Songer expresses deep concern for freight trains running through the county bearing hazardous material, and she has interest in other financial and environmental issues confronting the county. But she can't match Lawlor's depth of commitment and experience.
HAWTHORN WOODS RESIDENT TAKES ON COUNTY LAKE BOARD CHAIRMAN
September 24, 2016
The race for the Lake County Board in District 18, which includes Vernon Hills, Indian Creek and portions of Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Mundelein and unincorporated areas, pits a political novice against a seasoned veteran.
Democratic candidate Gerri Songer, a teacher from Hawthorn Woods, is challenging Aaron Lawlor of Vernon Hills, one of the highest profile county office holders. He has been on the county board since 2009 and was elected chairman in 2012 by other board members.
County board members also serve as forest preserve district commissioners.
Songer acknowledged an uphill battle, but said she was prompted to run after learning trains behind her house carried a potentially explosive cargo of crude oil. She said she is concerned for children and that Lawlor hasn't lobbied on the issue or communicated related hazards. She wants to see more done to spread information and ensure protocols are in place.
Lawlor, who is on the transportation committee of the National Association of Counties, said it is an important issue but rail shipments are under federal authority. He suggested Congress mandate better sensors for axle failures to prevent leaks. He added a fully loaded train takes 750 trucks off the road.
"So there is a distinct trade-off because I don't think the need for that oil or the demand for that oil is going to go away at least in the short term," he said. He also noted recent hires ensure the county has "best possible emergency management."
Songer cited a "lack of transparency an inadequate represention of community interests" regarding financing of the proposed Route 53 extension, and called it a bad plan that won't work. She commended Lawlor for withdrawing his support for it. Hawthorn Woods and Long Grove officials oppose the proposal.
Lawlor said he changed his mind because he feared cost increases would compromise the the boulevard-style road design, and its environmental and community protections.
He said he would not change his stance after the election.
Lawlor advocated improving existing roads, such as Route 120, while looking for public transit opportunities. Songer said she wants to "identify feasible solutions" for traffic congestion and promote "creative" public transporation options.
Lawlor said the county has a solid record of fiscal responsibility, noting there are 13 percent fewer employees than 10 years ago, the current budet is lower than the last one and tax levy freezes will keep millions of dollars in taxpayers' pockets.
He also noted his efforts to make government more accountable, transparent and efficient, including a standard of conduct for appointees and consolidate services.
Songer advocated a "transparent evaluation process" for consolidating and outsourcing public services and promoting local and organic foods as other issues.
Citizens to Elect Aaron Lawlor
Paid for by Citizens to Elect Aaron Lawlor . A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.