Local politicians outnumber voters at Sunday meet-and-greet in Crystal Lake

Weather might have played factor in attendance

CRYSTAL LAKE – More political candidates than voters showed up to a meet-and-greet Sunday afternoon at McHenry County College.

But Layne and Kim Bussell, two voters who moved to McHenry County about a year and a half ago, wanted to get their questions answered by candidates in the McHenry County Board District 5 primary race.

The unincorporated Woodstock residents are concerned about the environment, health care and real estate taxes, to name a few. So they headed out onto the snowy roads and chatted with District 5 candidates for at least an hour.

“It helps, but we have not made a decision yet on who we’re voting for,” Layne Bussell said afterward.

The meet-and-greet, hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County, intended to give voters one-on-one time with candidates for the McHenry County Board ahead of the March 20 primary election.

The format was a bit different from the organization’s other events, which often include question-and-answer forums where candidates answer questions in front of an audience.

LWVMC public relations director Dani Daniel said the consistent snowfalls in recent days might have kept some people from attending. Outside, a crew still was plowing and clearing sidewalks at the college Sunday afternoon.

For the Bussells, the process of who to vote for does not begin and end with a meet-and-greet, looking at campaign flyers or a knock at the door from someone running for office.

“We like to research, too,” Kim Bussell said. “And we need to get to know the area.”

The Bussells, who previously lived in Aurora, said they wanted to know more about county government, as well as who is, and could be, representing them in District 5.

But most of the other conversations going on in the room during that time were had by candidates – even those opposing each other.

LWVMC Vice President Paula Ekstrom said the attendance of this County Board-specific event was poor compared with others the group hosts, and it’s unfortunate.

“It’s really one of the closest elections to the people,” Ekstrom said. “These are candidates that spend a lot of your tax dollars.”

A much more direct effect often can be felt by the decisions of the County Board than those made by the state Legislature or the U.S. Congress, Ekstrom said.

Speaking of which, the LWVMC is hosting a primary election meet-and-greet and forum from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 at McHenry County College, which will feature the candidates in the 6th Congressional District primary.

The district currently is represented by Republican Peter Roskam of Wheaton, who is unopposed in the primaries. Seven candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination to face off with Roskam in November.

Then, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 26, candidates in the 14th Congressional District primary will conduct a meet-and-greet and forum at the college.

That district is represented by Republican Randy Hultgren of Plano. Seven candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination to oppose Hultgren in November.

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