A historic Democratic majority on the Lake County Board was strengthened Monday and its top leadership cemented in place for another two years.
Four new board members — three of them newcomers who defeated Republican incumbents with a combined 46 years’ experience — were sworn in by Chief Lake County Judge Diane E. Winter.
Joining the board were Gina M. Roberts, representing Winthrop Harbor, Wadsworth, and portions of Zion and Beach Park; Carissa Casbon, representing portions of Gurnee and Third Lake; and Paras Parekh, representing Highland Park, Deerfield, Lake Forest and Knollwood.
Marah Altenberg of Buffalo Grove, who was appointed in March to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of board member Adam Didech, was installed as winner of the 2-year seat.
Four incumbents, including Linda Pedersen of Antioch, the only Republican to be reelected, also were sworn in by Winter. She was joined by Democrats Diane Hewitt of Waukegan, Terry Wilke of Round Lake Beach and Sandy Hart of Lake Bluff.
Hart also was chosen by her fellow board members for a second term as county board chair. Duties of the post, which comes with a $97,408 annual salary, include establishing and appointing members to committees, serving as liquor commissioner of unincorporated areas, and keeping members informed on matters of importance.
Hart will preside over a 15-6 Democrat majority.
In nominating Hart for reappointment, board member Paul Frank said Hart has navigated challenging issues and coordinated with public health experts to empower the board to make key decisions about funding and budget priorities.
Her focus on people is “ever present,” added Frank, a Democrat from Highland Park.
“The things we accomplished on behalf of people in two short years is nothing less than remarkable, and that list is too long to recite this morning,” he said.
Hart said she was honored and grateful for colleagues’ faith in her leadership.
“I know we’ll work together to recover from COVID and we’ll stay focused on the improving the quality of life for Lake County residents,” she said.
Mary Ross Cunningham, a Democrat from Waukegan, was reappointed vice chair, with all six board Republicans voting against her.
Democrat Angelo Kyle, who represents Park City and portions of North Chicago, Waukegan, and Gurnee, was reelected to another 2-year term as Lake County Forest Preserve District president. County board members double as commissioners for the forest preserve board.
Kyle has served 25 years in different stints on the county and forest boards.
Commissioner John Wasik of Grayslake, who chairs the county board’s energy and environment committee, was unanimously selected as vice president of the forest board.
The forest board president is paid $25,000 annually and commissioners earn $3,000 a year.
This content was originally published here.