The two major Illinois Senate Contenders are Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk. Kirk represents the 10th Congressional District of Illinois, which is situated north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. This district encompasses approximately 700,00 people. It’s made up of the eastern section of Lake County and parts of northern Cook County.Alexi Giannoulias has been our State Treasurer since Nov. of 2006.
Waukegan – County Seat
Waukegan is where it all began, so to speak, for Lake County. Waukegan was incorporated in Feb. of 1859. It now has a population of 693,000 people living on 444 square miles. It’s the ninth largest city in Illinois. It’s the hometown of Jack Benny and writers Diane Ackerman and Ray Bradbury. In it’s early, early years Waukegan was settled by Native Americans. From there it became a trading post. The first library was called ‘Little Fort” most likely because it was either part of the trading post or very near it. Next it evolved in to an agricultural center and today it’s a service-oriented city. This information comes from http://www.waukeganweb.net.
Lake County Districts
In case you’re as confused as I am about which district is which, and where – take heart. Lake County has 23 county board members, each representing a separate district area. No wonder it’s so difficult to sort it all out! Districts represent equal populations as determined by the 2000 census, but the districts vary significantly in area in order to encompass equal population. Some of the maps are odd looking shapes to say the least. To find out more go to www.lakecountyil.gov
The Economy – Foreclosures
One of the issues on the minds of many Lake County voters these days is foreclosures. Statistics from Sept. of this year show there were 146 foreclosures in Round Lake, Waukegan had 133. In the entire state of Illinois there were 15,866 filings. The year to date filings for Illinois as a whole numbered 150,570. This data is on www.realtytrac.com.
Alexi Giannoulias’s Treasurer website has some very useful information about foreclosures, including guidelines for a program called “I Stop Foreclosures.” It outlines the progressive steps that can be taken to avoid foreclosure. The section is called ‘Finally Home.’ As you might guess, Mr. Giannoulias feels quite strongly that we all need to play a role in stopping foreclosures in Illinois, and that it can be done.
Mark Kirk served in the Navy for 21 years so Veteran benefits are high on his list of priorities.He’s a big advocate of better health care for Veterans. He’s also in attuned to the farmers. He emphasizes that our exports of corn, soybeans and wheat combined with a few other strengths are critical to sustaining the llinois economy.
Several other issues that Lake County residents care about right now are transportation, economic problems aside from foreclosures, women’s rights and education. Kirk and Giannoulias naturally have spaces where their policies run parallel and different spots where their perspectives diverge. According to Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald each candidates is fully in favor of invigorating small businesses. Giannoulias’s vision is called “Plan for the Future” and Mark Kirk’s vision is called the “Small Business Bill of Rights.” Giannoulias wishes that President Obama had zeroed in on job creation first and then gone on to pass the health care legislation.
Continuing on in the feature article by Kerry Lester, the candidates agree that green energy is a plus for us and the rest of the United States. “Giannoulias says he believes in government investing in green energy – what he calls the “next generation of jobs.” He conceives of something called a National Infrastructure Fund. The money in the fund would come from taxes on big oil. “Like Giannoulias, Kirk also promotes the expansion of green energy jobs – advocating for tax credits for energy efficient businesses.” “
The two candidates for the House of Representatives in District 8 are Republican Joe Walsh and Democrat Melissa Bean. Sierra Club endorses Melissa Bean. I had no idea that the Sierra Club endorses candidates because they’re not associated with the political parties in any way. According to their website, “Melissa Bean understands the threat of global climate change and the need to protect and preserve the environment and our natural resources. She supports efforts to move American away from what she calls a “drill-only” dependence on foreign oil with a “balanced approach that gives businesses allowances and time to transition to new technologies.” ” Beyond that they list ten items from her voting record which exhibit her commitment to the environment. If you’re curious as to who they’re endorsing in your district, you can check at http://sierraclub.org/voterguide/illinois.
Websites related to the Senate Race
Alexi Giannoulias – www.alexiforillinois.com or www.treasureril.gov
Mark Kirk – www.KirkForSenate.com or http://kirk.house.gov/index