McLean County Board District 3 takes in the western part of the county and portions of west and south Bloomington. Participating in a WGLT forum were Democrat RJ McCracken and Libertarian Derek Evans.
Evans said he has lived in Bloomington-Normal for eight years and works for a firm that services health care and hospitals. He cited a master’s degree in project management and said he decided to run to help where he can and give back to the community.
“And to show that Libertarians can help and govern in a way that aligns with our philosophy. A lot of times people say about third parties, 'We don't see you on the national stage because we don't see you locally.' I'm hoping to change that,” said Evans.
McCracken has lived in McLean County for 17 years. He is the events director for a party rental company and said he has met people with great diversity and lifestyles in the county.
Three pillars summarize him, said McCracken. The first is compassion.
“With it you will find a man who is first concerned with those who are struggling and those who cannot fend for themselves. Children are the future of McLean County and our elderly are its history. Those two groups are the first concern I always have,” said McCracken.
He said transparency is his second pillar and the third is loyalty. McCracken said he wants the county to make purchases and award county contracts where possible within the county.
Role of county government
McCracken said the role of county government is to facilitate and ensure citizens are given the opportunity and resources to live a good life.
“It is essentially to act as a moderator between the municipalities, to resolve disputes and bring them together, to provide a safety net for those in need, and to provide and maintain the infrastructure of our roads and the various other systems,” said McCracken.
Evans said most governing should be from a local standpoint. He said there is currently too much of a spotlight on the sometimes ugly picture of national politics.
"We should be leading at the forefront locally and encouraging people to be more involved in their community instead of their face in their phones," said Evans. "It shouldn't be what we can get back from the federal government. We should be telling from a local level our federal government and our state government what we want. I feel like there's too much of a top down ruling instead of a frontline leadership."
Race and police
Both candidates said there are things the county can do to further racial justice.
Evans said one of the pillars of the Libertarian movement is criminal justice reform. There is not a lot to do at the county level to change the law, said Evans. There may be other ways to affect how its enforced.
"I would want to work closely with our state government to roll back some of the unnecessary laws that currently put people who are at an economic disadvantage, which typically ends up being minorities or people of color. I want to help us present an economic solution to get people out of those situations,” said Evans.
McCracken said he hopes the nation can get beyond the many loud voices talking right now to a place where people sit at the table and talk about how to move forward. He rejected huge moves such as removing the sheriff's budget.
“It's going to be practical changes that make progress for both parties. An example for me, is if every police officer always had a body camera on. Then we'd always know what happened. I think that's something both parties could agree on,” said McCracken.
WGLT asked Republican incumbent County Board member George Wendt to participate and he said his schedule was too uncertain to commit. WGLT asked Wendt to name a time of his own choosing for a separate interview and he never responded.
There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.