Election 2016: 3 Run for 2 Putnam County Nominations

Three candidates are vying for two open seats on the Putnam County Board this election season, as incumbents Sheila Haage and Willie Holmes face off against newcomer Chuck Oliveri.

The candidates sat down with the NewsTribune recently to discuss their reasons for running.

Why are you running?
SH: I feel that I still have something to offer. There are some things that we are working on and looking at, and one of them is keeping it financially secure, because the state is behind on some stuff and we have to watch that.  I was the secretary at the elementary school for 15 years. I’m used to dealing with the public. I’m on the Pulsifer House and Community Center boards, and I volunteer one day a week at the Hennepin Elementary School, so I still keep up with all generations.

WH: The people helped me get in (last election), so I’m going to try it again one more time to see if I can save some money for the taxpayers.

CO: I’m running for county board for a number of reasons. I think that with my eight years of experience with the Village of Granville board as a trustee, I can bring something to this board with some new ideas, new thoughts. I’ve been a lifetime resident of the county. I pretty much know the workings of it, the people in it, what the residents are looking for, what they want.

What are your goals if you get elected?
SH: To continue on the path we are on now, to keep our budget and expense as low as we can and still operate as a very functional county.

WH: I’m going to try to work to save some money and do what I can for jobs. I’m trying to help the people, trying to help them get money back in their pocket. Times are not good right now, and it’s not going to get any better, the way it looks.

CO: My main goal is to eliminate wasteful spending, that would be my first one.

What do you think are the negatives?
SH: I wish we had more say in the state budget. I don’t know cons. I’m sure they are out there, but I can’t come up with something that I would really say would be a negative.

WH: We lost a big one, when we lost LTV. That’s a real negative. That was a good place to work. I worked there 31 years. I think we have to work on saving money. With Rauner, our governor now, giving us a hard time not making payment. Right now, Mansfield is really helping us out, but if something happened and we lose it, we’d really be in big trouble. We have to start working on saving some money. Right now we’re doing good, but it could turn overnight, with the way the government is going.

CO: I don’t know that I think there is a major problem in the county. I think there is a major problem in the state and I think it will reflect into the county because of the economic situation that is existing and may continue to exist.

What do you think are some positives for Putnam County right now?
SH: I think we have a lot of assets in our county. We have the river, we have railroads, we have an interstate highway that’s close. We have a lot of natural resources, the wetlands. We have historical sites--the Pulsifer House, the oldest working courthouse. I think we have good schools. There is a lot we have to offer. Our 911, we are going so far with that, for the size of our county. There are other counties just now struggling to get 911.

WH: We have the ethanol plant that is hiring a lot of local people. We have Illinois Power that is hiring local people lately, some have retired that they have replaced them. We’ve got the gravel pit/blacktop place out there. That’s a pretty decent place, they’ve got local people working. Washington Mills has been pretty decent. There are a lot of positives there.

CO: The biggest thing the county has going for it is that we’ve been very fortunate to have places like LTV, J&L, Illinois Power, Mansfield. We’ve been fortunate our county has been blessed with these types of things, and with good people in the county at the office levels.

Source: News Tribune