Primary in the Northwest suburbs: County board, sheriff and school referendum decisions
Party showdowns for Cook County president, sheriff and assessor, as well as in the 27th state Senate and 51st state House districts, are among the most hotly contested primary races Northwest suburban voters will decide Tuesday.
And residents of Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 will be asked to weigh in on a referendum seeking $75 million to fund all-day kindergarten and building upgrades.
County board president
Crime has been a key issue in the Democratic primary for Cook County president, in which longtime incumbent Toni Preckwinkle is being challenged by Oak Park attorney and former county commissioner Richard Boykin.
Boykin said he would "fix" the problems of violent crime, from carjackings to retail thefts, if elected. He added that the county board president should play a significant role in public safety issues.
Preckwinkle said the county is spending $60 million this year on violence prevention, anti-recidivism and restorative justice programs through contracts with community organizations. Day-to-day law enforcement is handled by municipal police departments, with sheriff's deputies largely responsible for patrolling a small footprint of unincorporated areas as well as working at the jail and courthouses, she added
But Preckwinkle also tied the recent rise in crime to issues created by the pandemic in a number of large metropolitan areas.
No Republicans filed to run for the office, but Libertarian Thea Tsatsos of River Forest did.
There are contested Republican and Democratic primaries for both the partly suburban 9th and 17th District commissioner seats on the county board, and a Republican race in the 15th District to select an opponent for Democratic incumbent Kevin B. Morrison of Mount Prospect in the general election.
Thomas Dart, left, and Noland Rivera are Democratic candidates for Cook County sheriff in the June primary.
Cook County sheriff
Crime is even more an issue for the candidates in the Democratic primary for Cook County sheriff. Only four-term incumbent Tom Dart and Chicago police Sgt. Noland Rivera remain on the ballot after former candidates Carmen Navarro Gercone and LaTonya Ruffin were removed by a county election panel and the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear their appeals.
Rivera, a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and former federal air marshal, said he would seek to hire 3,000 more officers by lobbying the county, state and federal government for more resources, claiming understaffing as one of the challenges facing sheriff's police in the suburbs.
Dart identified his priorities as combating gun violence, reorganizing beats and expanding a new initiative to assist deputies who confront people with mental health issues. He also noted legislation he supported banning "ghost guns," which Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law. Assembled from parts purchased separately, ghost guns are untraceable because they don't have serial numbers.
Fritz Kaegi, left, and Kari K. Steele, are candidates for Cook County assessor in the June Democratic primary.
Cook County assessor
Though not a referendum like District 25's, the Democratic primary for Cook County assessor between first-term incumbent Fritz Kaegi and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago President Kari K. Steele is another ballot decision potentially affecting voters' property taxes.
While Kaegi touts a successful transition to greater fairness and transparency in the office during the three years since he ousted Joe Berrios, Steele questions the effectiveness of those changes. She said she wants to bring her management experience to the assessor's office.
The winner of the primary will face Libertarian candidate Nico Tsatsoulis in the Nov. 8 general election.
Joshua Alvarado, left, and William Robertson are Republican candidates for the Illinois 27th District Senate primary in June.
27th Dist. state senate
Republicans Bill Robertson of Palatine and Joshua Alvarado of Rolling Meadows are vying for the opportunity to challenge Democratic 27th District state Sen. Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights in November.
Robertson is a onetime Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211 board member, former Palatine zoning board member, and Mundelein-based Fremont Elementary District 79 superintendent who stepped down in March after nearly five years in the job. He is backed by party leadership, including Illinois Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie.
Alvarado is a retired Army sergeant first class and first-time political candidate who says he was encouraged to run by the Arlington Heights Tea Party group. He's been endorsed by the Palatine and Elk Grove townships Republican organizations.
Chelsea Laliberte Barnes, left, and Nabeela Syed are candidates for the Democratic nomination for the 51st District state House seat.
51st Dist. state House
In the 51st state House district, Democrats Chelsea Laliberte Barnes of Palatine and Nabeela Syed of Inverness will square off Tuesday for the party's nomination as challenger to Republican incumbent state Rep. Chris Bos of Lake Zurich in November.
Friction during the primary campaign included Barnes accusing Syed of distorting her stance on abortion rights, when Syed declared herself the only candidate who had never donated money, publicly supported or made campaign videos for a political candidate opposed to such rights.
The disagreement stemmed from Barnes' involvement with a campaign ad for Republican Bob Dold when he was running against Democrat Brad Schneider and had been called out by Planned Parenthood and pro-choice organizations as being anti-choice. The criticism came from his support for some restrictions.
But Barnes said she has been steadfastly pro-choice and Dold has called himself a pro-choice Republican. Her bipartisan work on such measures as the Lake County Opioid Initiative also included writing a federal law with Dold to support public health programs across the country.
Dryden Elementary School would receive four new kindergarten classrooms as part of a proposed building plan in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25. A tax-hike referendum to fund the plan is on the June 28 ballot.
- Courtesy of Arlington Heights Elementary District 25
Dist. 25 referendum
In District 25, officials want to build 25 new classrooms across six of the district's seven elementary schools to house expanded kindergarten programming, and fund five years' worth of infrastructure projects throughout the district.
The kindergarten classroom additions are estimated to cost $32.2 million to $42.6 million, while the five-year capital plan would cost $32.9 million, officials said.
If voters approve, the measure would cost the owner of an average $400,000 home an extra $300 in property taxes a year, or $25 a month.
After completing additional architectural designs and traffic studies, selling bonds, going out to bid and getting necessary village approvals, the new kindergarten classrooms would be targeted to open in August 2024.
This is District 25's first referendum since 2005.