Endorsements: Our choices for DuPage County Forest Preserve District
A full slate of candidates is vying for seats on the DuPage County Forest Preserve Board in November.
At the top of the ticket, incumbent President Daniel Hebreard is facing a challenge from a well-known figure in DuPage County politics, Republican Robert Schillerstrom.
Hebreard, who was narrowly elected in 2018, began working for the district as a ranger in 2005.
Under his leadership, the board issued $41.5 million in bonds to fund an extensive overhaul of Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, renovations of the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook and other projects outlined in a master plan adopted in 2019.
Schillerstrom wants the district to focus its efforts more on acquiring land and improving existing preserves rather than brick and mortar projects.
We think Hebreard has earned a second term. Hebreard is endorsed.
Incumbent Marsha Murphy is being challenged by Democrat Michael Murray.
Murphy, first elected to the board in 2002, is seeking reelection to continue the board's work on the master plan. She is also focused on making sure that the preserves are as safe as possible.
Murray, a former District 12 school board member, would like to see the district strengthen its ties with the educational community. He also supports continuing the work on the 2019 master plan.
Murphy is endorsed.
Incumbent Tina Tyson-Dunne is seeking reelection to the board and is being challenged by Republican Don Krause.
Elected to the board in 2020, Tyson-Dunne has helped spearhead solar projects in the district, including installing solar-powered golf carts at the Preserve at Oak Meadows.
Krause was motivated to run after the district issued $41.5 million in bonds without going to referendum. He wants the board to use a common-sense approach to problem solving and hold the line on taxes and spending.
Tyson-Dunne is endorsed.
Incumbent Linda Painter faces a challenge from Democrat Marybeth Carlson.
Elected in 2008, Painter helped improve parking at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, easing overcrowding there. She's also interested in connecting existing trails to each other.
Carlson, a retired State of Illinois farm inspector/adviser, supports the district's master plan and is passionate about making preserves accessible.
Painter is endorsed.
Incumbent Jeff Gahris is being challenged by Republican Tim Elliott.
Gahris, elected to the board in 2020, pushed for a net zero design for the Willowbrook Wildlife Center and wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from preserve options.
Elliott, a former Glen Ellyn village board and DuPage County Board member, wants the board to focus more on projects like the East Branch of DuPage River Trail, acquiring more open space and creating recreational opportunities that are open and accessible.
Gahris is endorsed.
Incumbent Barbara O'Meara is being challenged by Republican Elizabeth Folk Van Arsdell.
O'Meara, elected to the board in 2020, wants to continue to connect trails and rejuvenate preserve land that has been left unmanaged.
Folk Van Arsdell wants the board to focus more on protecting and expanding natural areas and establishing connections to trail systems.
O'Meara is endorsed.
Incumbent Al Murphy is being challenged by Democrat Erik Spande.
Murphy, elected to the board in 2014, wants the board to expand access to parks and trails and wants to the board to seek voter approval for future bonds.
Spande, a former board member and village president in Winfield, says the preserve needs an infrastructure plan to make sure there are no safety or fiscal issues in the future.
Murphy is endorsed.