Sara Frederick Knizhnik: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 18
Office sought: Lake County Board District 18
City: Vernon Hills
Occupation: Organizer -- Director of Community Engagement
Previous offices held: Vernon Township Trustee
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am running for Lake County Board because I want to be a strong voice for my community and to work for a safer and more equitable Lake County. I believe passionately in local government because that is where everyday people can have the greatest impact on building a better future for themselves and for future generations. I have been a professional Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) and Criminal Justice Reform (CJR) advocate for the last several years. In this role, I organize grassroots volunteers to advocate for policy change. I help them make their voices heard. As County Board Commissioner for District 18, I will listen to my constituents and work with them to create opportunities that will enable all Lake County residents to thrive.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
I will bring a strong voice, effective leadership skills and a proven commitment to public service to the County Board. I advocate for policy change to reduce gun violence and reform the criminal justice system at all levels of government. I excel at coalition building and bringing people together in pursuit of a common goal. My priority will be to listen to my constituents' concerns, build support for positive change that addresses their concerns and see that change through to completion. In 2019, I helped advocates in Illinois pass three gun safety bills into law. I have mobilized nationwide support for a federal safe storage bill that's currently on the brink of passage in Congress, and I have lobbied for solutions to reduce gun violence and reform the criminal justice system here in Lake County. My goals are to address the root causes of gun violence, support labor rights, maintain fiscal responsibility and address housing and food insecurity, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
I am happy with the way the current leadership is balancing spending and revenue, and I am committed to not raising taxes. As a Lake County Board Commissioner, I will prioritize finding inefficiencies in county government and rooting them out wherever they might be. One of my first actions will be to do a forensic audit of all county spending with the goal of identifying these inefficiencies and making the necessary changes in order to save money for taxpayers.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them.
I think we must increase transparency everywhere in Lake County government, especially when it comes to our courts. We must ensure that county websites are user-friendly and not burdensome. If we want the government to truly work for the people, we must make it easier for all residents to access information and resources.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
All of our County websites must be more user-friendly. We should look at the way the county presents information from the point of view of our constituents. We should ensure that all information is available in multiple languages and in printed form, and that it is easily accessible on all technology platforms. Instead of multiple county offices having different websites and places where they share information, there should be one central, online location where people can go to access county services. Finally, we need more communication and collaboration between the heads of county departments and top county officials.