BLOOMINGTON — Two McLean County Board incumbents face a newcomer in the Nov. 6 race for two open seats in District 3, which serves residents in west and southwest McLean County.
Board vice chairwoman Diane Bostic, 907 N. Mitsubishi Motorway, Normal, has served on the board since 1996. George Wendt, 9856 N. 1540 East Road, Bloomington, is finishing four years on the board. Both are Republicans.
Democrat Julie Brandt, 600 Carlisle St., McLean, is a newcomer to the county board but not politics. She recently finished a four-year term on the McLean Village Board.
Brandt, 57, who is retired from Verizon, doesn’t think her best interests are represented in her board district.
“The major issue is hydraulic fracking,” she said. “It’s a great concern to me; water is a valuable resource and it’s potentially at risk.”
While she still is gathering information on the practice used to get oil from the ground, “safety is my first concern.”
Wendt, 72, has asked the board to review its permitting guidelines for such practices, saying they “discourage anyone coming in and looking for oil.”
“I want the water supply protected but if we have oil, we should go after it,” Wendt said. “It would help the economy and our reliance on foreign oil.”
Bostic, 62, a self-employed assessor, is concerned about the effects of fracking and gravel pits on the agriculture sector by the same people who “eat pork chops and corn flakes for breakfast.”
Wendt also is a proponent of slicing $350,000 from the proposed 2013 fiscal budget to keep the county’s tax rate at its current level and questions a proposed 1.5 percent merit increase for non-union county employees.
Bostic would like to maintain the tax rate but not if it requires eliminating something that would have a major impact on the county. She supports the proposed merit increase for county employees.
“The county’s been fiscally responsible in the economic downturn; we’re in good financial shape,” she said. “We’re not able to expand and offer extra services but we can maintain the status quo.”
Brandt said making cuts that “affect people’s livelihood” should be the last resort. “A living wage is always an issue for me,” said Brandt, who is treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 51 and recording secretary for the AFL-CIO Trades Assembly.