David Barkhausen (R-Lake Bluff) today announced his candidacy for the Lake County Board for the new 13th district. The district stretches from Lake Bluff, to the Great Lakes Navy Base, through parts of southern Gurnee and west to Gages Lake in central Lake County. No incumbent is seeking election to the 13th District.Barkhausen, 61, an attorney and independent financial consultant, represented the entire new 13th District during 10 years of his 16-year tenure in the Illinois Legislature, and most of it for that full period. He served one term in the Illinois House and then 14 years in the State Senate from 1981 to 1997.
Barkhausen said his top priority would be maintaining strict controls on Lake County spending. “County government is the second largest item on our property tax bills after public schools,” Barkhausen said. “County Board members have an obligation to maintain the County’s strong fiscal position without adding to this burden.”
“I offer proven leadership to carefully review Lake County’s fiscal policies,” Barkhausen maintained, pointing to his past public service at the state and local level as an example of the type of representation he would provide to Lake County government
He noted that Illinois balanced its budgets and enacted strict limits on property tax increases during his legislative tenure. As a Lake Bluff Village Board member for the past eight years, he chaired its Finance Committee at a time when the Village reduced its payroll by 25 percent, privatized some services, and managed to increase its reserves even though revenues fell sharply.
Currently, Barkhausen serves as the Shields Township clerk and led the campaign for a slate of township trustees who have ended public grants of property tax dollars to private charities and reduced the Township’s property tax levy by 30 percent.
Regarding Lake County finances, Barkhausen said that the County has been on solid footing, but expressed concern about plans for a new County nursing home and a possible Fort Sheridan golf course that could present negative fiscal impacts. “The County should carefully review its commitment to a new $30-$50 million nursing home, which loses $4 million/year, competes with private facilities, and accounts for almost 10% of County employees,” he said. “The proposed Fort Sheridan golf course poses a real problem for the Forest Preserve’s budget, and it would take business from our other public courses that taxpayers already subsidize.”
Noting that County Board members also serve as commissioners of the Forest Preserve District, Barkhausen pointed to his long-time interest in conservation, including as a former board member of the Illinois Nature Conservancy, and personal familiarity with most of the District’s properties. “We need to increase awareness of these natural treasures while strengthening partnerships with local conservation organizations and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to preserve our natural resources most effectively,” he said.
“I look forward to the challenge of campaigning in, and the potential reward of representing, this diverse area that I’ve served in the past,” Barkhausen said.