An Illinois State University student who is running for McLean County Board defends the county's handling of the pandemic, but she suggested more could have been done to prevent a large spike in coronavirus cases when college students returned to campus in August.
Democrat Hannah Beer is running in County Board District 6 against Libertarian David Scarpelli on Nov. 3.
Beer said there should have been more preparation for the return of students to campus, when COVID-19 case numbers spiked.
“I think the county has handled it fairly well, given that we don’t really have an idea of what is going on because it changes so often,” Beer said
During a WGLT candidate forum, Beer seemed to suggest the university could have taken a more proactive stance to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“With the students coming back that was a major to see that we shot up again (in cases), I think that could have been prepared for a little better,” Beer said. “I don’t know what the preparedness would have been, but I think having the students return… it’s a hard thing because you don’t want people to not experience school and getting all these great opportunities that McLean County has to offer and ISU does, but then against public safety is a question.”
District 6 includes much of the ISU campus and Uptown Normal. Beer, a senior political science major at ISU, said she also wants to ensure easier access to voting on campus.
“There’s always been issues around voting and not having students’ issues being heard with weird hours and with limited early voting opportunities and then really long lines on election day, that’s one thing that I really want to focus on,” Beer said.
Beer said she understands voting will be much different this year with fewer students on campus. Election turnout was also down in the spring just as the pandemic had started to take hold.
Beer defeated longtime County Board member George Gordon in the March primary.
Scarpelli declined WGLT's invitation to a candidate forum.
We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.