Attracting and retaining businesses, job creation and spending were the main issues discussed by candidates seeking election to Lake County Board District 6, the 62nd House District and the 31st Senate District at the Oct. 25 Grayslake Chamber of Commerce's luncheon.
Featured speakers included Republican Joe Neal and Democrat Melinda Bush for the 31st Senate District; Democrat Pat Carey and Republican Jeff Werfel for the newly-drawn Lake County Board District 6; and incumbent State Rep. Sandy Cole, R-62nd. Democratic challenger Sam Yingling was not present.
Each candidate was given a few minutes to address chamber members, followed by a short Q&A session.
"This race is all about the economy," said Neal, "bringing jobs back."
Neal also said getting control over budget and deficit spending, which he deemed "wasteful and inefficient," would be one of his primary goals if elected the 31st Senate District, along with pension reform.
Bush, who currently serves on the Lake County Board, said her work on the board proves she is the right person to represent the 31st Senate District.
"I'm not just asking for your vote; I feel I've earned it."
Bush, who denied prior public accusations that she was a "tax and spend candidate," said she's never voted for a county budget increase.
She said her opponent "does not understand the simple complexities of a budget" and that the real problem at the state level is lack revenue.
"Illinois has to fix its economic House," said Bush.
Protecting small business
"We are in very difficult economic times," said Cole, who vowed to continue to work to protect small businesses if re-elected to the 62nd District.
"We have to make it easier on businesses to apply for an LLC (Limited Liability License). They charge $800. I think it should be $100. That would encourage small business growth."
Cole also criticized that the State of Illinois cannot offer one business incentive that any other state could not as well.
Incentives, said Carey, who is a former Grayslake mayor and trustee, are not the only factor in attracting new businesses.
"We need better marketing of Lake County."
In her 16 years of political service, Carey said she has helped to bring hundreds of new businesses to the Grayslake area.
Carey currently serves District 11. If elected to represent the newly-drawn 6th District, Carey said she would continue to focus on attracting and retaining businesses, improving infrastructure and being fiscally conservative.
As a Grayslake trustee, said Werfel, he represents more of the 6th District than Carey and has supported major business initiatives in the community including FedEx and the Cornerstone property.
If elected to the county board, Werfel said his main objectives would be reducing spending, making road improvements, expanding the tax base, preserving open space and protecting residents' quality of life.