There are a couple unusual things about the municipal and township elections in McLean County this year. First there are primary races and a February 26th election, and second that one of those primaries, for Bloomington Township Supervisor, for the first time in more than 20 years has candidates from both major parties. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker has more on the races.
The McLean County League of Women Voters is holding a forum Thursday evening for the candidates at Mount Pisgah Church on West Market Street in Bloomington.
Interviews with Republican Candidates Steve Purcell
And Deb Skillrud
And WGLT talks with Democratic Candidates Larry T. Brooks
And Stephanie Uzueta
Most people know that rural townships have a big role in emergency services and in road clearing and maintenance. But, perceptions of township government in urban settings are very hazy as this year's City of Bloomington Township candidates all note, including Democrat Stephanie Uzueta.
The City of Bloomington Township offers a general assistance program to the needy funded through property tax money. It oversees the Assessor's office which helps determine property values used to figure tax rates. And it administers the John M. Scott Health Resources Center providing medical referrals to other agencies and services to the needy not offered elsewhere. The four candidates tell us why they're running.
Those were, In order, Republicans Deb Skillrud and Steve Purcell and Democrats Stephanie Uzueta and Larry T. Brooks. Deb Skillrud is the current Development Director for Habitat for Humanity in the twin cities. She says that fundraising and networking experience is also key to the Supervisor's job.
Skillrud has a degree in Industrial Technology. She says she has also managed a medical office, Chaired the YWCA Board, and had many jobs in technical positions and with not for profits in the community. Her opponent in less than two weeks is Steve Purcell, a Mitsubishi worker for 24 years and for the last eight a Bloomington Alderman. Purcell says he too has administrative chops.
Purcell was elected twice, in part for his philosophy that minimizes the role of government. He says that outlook is relevant to the job he wants.
Purcell also calls for improvement of communication between human service agencies. Other candidates say that network is already there. Deb Skillrud says she would like to expand partnerships with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, Habitat for Humanity and Mid Central Community Action to complement the existing service web in the city.
Running on the Democratic Party ticket. Stephanie Uzueta warns that some of those efficiencies will be needed. Lower income demographics have not benefitted much at all from the economic recovery and Uzueta says government policies will only add to the number of destitute needing help.
Uzueta has 13 years experience as a Case Manager at the Scott Resources Center and wants to rise to management by winning the job. She has little administrative experience but did complete a Kaplan degree in business management a couple years ago. Her opponent Larry T. Brooks is currently a Chaplain at a V-A center in Wichita, Kansas, and the experience would serve him in good stead if voters choose him on the 26th.
Brooks also says he has a unique perspective on the position.
Meanwhile Uzueta is having to respond to a legal problem in her past. Some years ago she let her then 15 year old daughter drive without a license and the daughter ran over a pedestrian with permanent life changing consequences. Her poor judgment in letting her daughter get behind the wheel resulted in a million dollar civil award to support ongoing medical costs for the injured person. Uzueta says in life, you learn from your mistakes and she does not believe the case is relevant to her candidacy. She says her knowledge ofg the social service network should help her hit the ground running if voters choose her.
The winner between Republicans Deb Skillrud and Steve Purcell and Democrats Larry Brooks and Stephanie Uzueta will face off in the main election April 9th.
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