In addition to local political races, voters in Monroe County will have three national or statewide contests in which to decide their preference, with the most consequential being the presidential election.
That race is between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and former Vice President Democrat Joe Biden, along with a quartet of third-party candidates.
Trump, 74, of New York, is seeking a second term. His running mate is Mike Pence of Indiana.
Trump’s platform includes creating new jobs, cutting taxes, cutting prescription drug prices, lowering health insurance premiums, developing a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, fully funding police and hiring more police officers, ending illegal immigration, bringing American troops home and nominating conservative judges to federal positions.
Biden, 77, of Delaware, is looking to return to the White House after serving as vice president under Barack Obama. Biden’s running mate is Kamala Harris of California.
Biden’s platform includes raising the corporate tax rate and top individual income tax rate, creating jobs, advancing racial equity, investing in infrastructure and clean energy, accelerating COVID-19 vaccine development while ramping up contact tracing and testing, ending gun violence, reforming the criminal justice system, protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act and fighting climate change.
Third-party candidates for president are Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism & Liberation, Brian Carroll of the American Solidarity Party and Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party.
The other high federal job on the ballot is Illinois senator, with incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin of Springfield facing Republican Mark Curran of Lake County and a trio of third-party challengers.
Durbin, 75, has served as senator since 1997 and Democratic Whip, the second-highest ranking position among Senate Democrats, since 2005. An attorney, Durbin graduated from Georgetown University and also served in the U.S. House from 1983-1997.
His platform includes investing in Illinois’ universities, infrastructure and youth workforce development, lowering health care costs, supporting clean, renewable energy jobs, and working for farmers.
Curran, 57, most recently served as Lake County Sheriff from 2006-2018. As an attorney, he has also worked as the attorney general’s gang crime bureau chief and a senior prosecutor in the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.
His platform includes expanding choice and competition in health care, opposing tax increases, fighting abortion and supporting law enforcement.
Voters seeking a third-party candidate may turn to Willie Wilson, 72, of Chicago. Wilson is a businessman running on his own party’s ticket. He wants the federal government to invest more in job training programs and business development in economically disadvantaged areas.
Another option would be David Black, an attorney who is the Green Party nominee. He supports traditionally liberal values, including fighting climate change.
The final third-party candidate in the senate race is 32-year-old Libertian Danny Malouf. A human resources manager, Malouf supports smaller government practices.
The final statewide measure on the ballot is the graduated income tax amendment, which would allow the state to tax income at varying rates depending on income level.
Those for the change argue it would make the tax system fair, put Illinois with the majority of states that already use a graduated system and lower the tax burden on middle class and low income earners while funding critical services.
Opponents of the amendment say it would give politicians too much power to raise taxes, legislators should get spending under control instead of taxing more and that now is the worst time for any tax increase because of the pandemic.
In addition to contested races covered throughout this issue of the Republic-Times, there will be several candidates running unopposed in this election.
Uncontested races in Monroe County include Terri Bryant for state senator, Lisa Fallon for circuit clerk, Bob Hill for county coroner, Dennis Knobloch for county commissioner and Chris Hitzemann for judge.
All those candidates are Republicans.