Among the issues of concern for the nominees for Will County Board District 9 ahead of the Nov. 6 election are roadway infrastructure, water supplies and the opioid epidemic.
The race consists of two open seats with three candidates vying for the opportunity to serve.
Incumbent Republican Annette Parker is looking to retain her position over Democratic challengers Rachel Ventura and Jim Murphy.
“I’m running for re-election to continue the positive progress,” Parker said. “In the last three-and-a-half years of being elected, we reduced property tax rates on the county portion of your property tax bill. I supported opioid prevention. … I supported green space. I supported job growth, here, in Will County.”
Parker said the county needs to concentrate on roadway infrastructure improvements and continue efforts to address the opioid epidemic.
“We did a Will County ‘Community Friendly’ Freight Mobility Study,” she said. “With that study, we were able to go to federal and state agencies for funding, and that’s what we are going to continue to do. … We need money.”
Parker continued, “The opioid crisis is increasing in deaths. … We have Safe Passage through Will County. We’re working with the Sheriff’s program. They’re supporting opioid prevention and recovery. We [hired] Kathleen Burke for education throughout the county. We’re going to continue to do that to reduce what’s going on with the opioid crisis.”
Ventura tried to explain why people should vote for her.
“I’m a progressive Democrat, and I have no strings attached,” she said. “I’m getting involved in government because I feel our system is broken. It does not represent everyone fairly or equitably, and I think that we can fix that. I think we start by putting people into office who are willing to fight for everybody, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, or gender.”
Ventura, a resident of Joliet and graduate from Joliet Central High School and Benedictine University, said she views the county’s two biggest issues are roadway infrastructure and water.
“We need to fix I-80, fix I-55, expand these, and not do it with the taxpayer dollars,” she said. “We have invested in our area long enough. We need to stop [giving] incentives to big business that come in, here, and destroy our roads. You can see that with the truck stop [and] Northpoint. It’s time that people stand up and say, ‘enough is enough.’”
Ventura continued, “At the county, we’re going to be working [on] intergovernmental agreements across the board with the cities and villages, and we’re trying to find a solution.”
Jim Murphy, a 30-year resident of Will County and a first-time candidate running for office, said the county’s two biggest issues are roadway infrastructure and water.
“It was not designed to handle the truck load, the traffic load that it experiences on a daily basis,” he said “Is that anyone’s fault that it hasn’t been fixed? I’m the type of person that I’d rather not find fault, I’d rather find the solution. As a Will County Board member, I would work in a bipartisan manner with all members of the Will County Board to explain to Springfield we are a united front and to work with Washington D.C. to let them know we’re united.”
Murphy added, “We need to be careful about what kind of businesses that we bring into the county. Are they going to suck a lot of water out of the ground? Most business do, but we need to be mindful of that.”
Murphy said he believes infrastructure can serve as quality of life and public safety issues.
“You can keep people from wanting to invest in Will County, if they do not have the ability to live with water,” he said. “We all need water.”