Candidates for Will County Board District 9 sought to express their views and interests this week.
There are two open seats in the race, and six Will County residents are vying for a chance to serve.
On the ballot are republican Annette Parker and democrats Rachel Ventura, Todd Randich, Jim Murphy, Sherry Williams and Danganetta Harris who declined to take part in an interview for this story.
Several of those campaigning have previous experience running or serving on a board, committee or council.
Annette Parker, a resident of Crest Hill and the lone Republican candidate in the field currently serves as a Will County Board representative for District 9 and Forest Preserve District of Will County Board vice president.
“I want to continue the work that I have already started and keep the positive progress moving forward,” she said. “In the last three-and-half years since being elected, I have voted to lower the tax rate, while still providing residents top-quality service. I want to continue to improve the quality of life for all residents in District 9 and throughout Will County.
Parker credits her family and the values they instilled in her for making her the candidate she is today.
“I was raised in a middle class, hard-working union family,” she said. “I have experienced highs and lows, just like everyone else. The experiences have made me cherish my family, neighbors and the community. My values drive me to continue to represent the people as the local candidate getting things done.”
Parker has some changes that she envisions bringing to Will County.
“In a growing county, change is always necessary,” she said. “As the elected representative, I will vote on any necessary changes for improvements at all levels for the betterment of the county. At the top of the list is trying to secure federal dollars for infrastructure to help move along our Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan.”
Randich is a retired fire lieutenant and a trustee for the Lockport Township Fire Protection District.
“I believe my years of experience has proven it,” he said, referring to why he should be considered the best-fit candidate. “I’m always willing to help. I’m a very good listener, a fiscally sound steward of taxpayer dollars. I was a labor leader for the fire protection district for 15 years.”
Randich’s family has a history of commitment to public service. His dad served as mayor of Crest Hill and his brother was a fireman.
“Public service runs in my blood,” Randich said.
Others, like Ventura, Murphy and Williams, are new to the political arena. Williams and Murphy have no prior experience running for a civic board, committee or council, while Ventura previously ran for at-large city council member in Joliet.
“I am running as a Democrat for Will County Board in District 9 because I believe my professional and personal experience have provided me with the right qualifications for the position,” Murphy said.
Murphy said time is of the essence for his campaign run.
“That’s why before I decided to run, I made the commitment to walk all of District 9’s 25 precincts in six townships and talk face-to-face with registered voters,” he said.
Murphy has demonstrated a commitment to serving as a board member or a volunteer for several local non-profit organizations over the years.
“I have a full understanding of the Will County area’s past and a strong vision for its future,” he said. “I believe I have the right background to properly represent the community.”
Ventura returned to Joliet in 2016 to raise her family after growing up in the city.
“I’m frustrated with our government,” Ventura said. “There’s no voice for the younger people and the middle class. … When I found there was an open seat, I threw my name in the ring. I want to make sure our county is spending our money wisely and serving the middle class.”
Ventura, the youngest of three siblings, said she has always felt a need to speak up and be heard, even before getting into politics.
“When I came back, I was sad to see the State of Joliet,” she said.
Ventura said she is concerned for several infrastructure projects concerning District 9 and would only pursue projects with the backing of constituents.
“I’m not backed by big companies and donations,” she said, “It’s me getting donations from people who are fed up and want someone to ask the tough questions.”
Williams is vice president of a local union for the Will County Sheriff’s Department, and she is used to working with the county board in that capacity.
Williams said she thinks “people are sick of politics” and if elected to serve, she will choose to be “pro-resident” in her approach.
Williams said growing up in Fairmont, her community did not have much representation in government.
“You do need to have more input,” she said. “[Fairmont’s] been neglected. I could help with that.”
Williams is motivated to run in the election thanks, in part, to the support of her family. She has some goals in mind that she intends to accomplish, if elected.
“I plan to increase participation of residents,” she said. “Some people are not even reading the papers. We have to read to know what’s going on. I plan to get the residents involved.”
The general primary election is Mar. 20. Early voting, vote-by-mail, and grace-period voting runs through March 19. Residents can also register and vote the day of the election at their polling place.
For information on polling locations and hours, visit www.thewillcountyclerk.com.