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County Board District 8 Candidates Offer Different Perspectives

Nathan Russo and Lea Cline are contending for the Democratic nomination for the County Board seat being vacated by Democrat Carlo Robustelli.

The Democratic McLean County Board candidates for downtown and the west side of Bloomington have similar positions on issues but different biographies.

Lea Cline teaches at Illinois State University, chairs the city historic preservation commission, has been an election judge, and has volunteered with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project and a neighborhood association.

"To this role I bring a dedication to good governance through transparency, fair scrutiny and collaboration," said Cline in a Sound Ideas interview.

Cline's opponent in District 8 is Nathan "Chiko" Russo. Russo is a precinct committeeman who emphasized deep west side roots.

"I'm a fourth-generation member of the west side of Bloomington. I'm a third-generation laborer out of Laborers Local 362," said Russo.

Both Russo and Cline said they want to hold the line on property taxes.

"I'm a very conservative individual when it comes to our taxes," said Russo.

Neither candidate likes the idea of introducing partisan caucuses. County Board Vice Chair Jim Soeldner has made that proposal. Soeldner said it will enhance communication. But for Russo and Cline the proposal is a solution in search of a problem.

The two also agreed on a need to preserve the McLean County Nursing Home.

"We need to put a lot of resources there, but we can't assume it's going to be an easy solution. And we can't assume that because it's a little bit expensive that it's not valuable," said Cline.

Cline said without the nursing home there would be very few Medicaid-eligible beds in the community. Cline said the facility itself needs to be modernized. For instance, she said most modern facilities have bathroom facilities in the rooms. and have higher proportions of rooms for single patients.

Both Cline and Russo agreed the annual government operating subsidy for the nursing home must get smaller. They pushed for faster adoption of recommendations from a blue-ribbon panel created by County Board Chair John McIntyre.

You can also listen to the full interview:

Listen to Charlie Schlenker's joint interview with Democratic McLean County Board District 8 Candidates Lea Cline and Nathan 'Chiko' Russo.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.