County jail at heart of District 4 race
SYCAMORE – People, not parties. That’s the mantra of all three candidates battling for the two seats in DeKalb County Board District 4. Incumbent Anita Jo Turner will take on fellow Democrat Joseph Bassett and Republican Anthony Cvek in the election, but all three said party affiliation does not dictate their decisions.
“It would just be nice to work together as a complete group instead of Democrats and Republicans,” Turner said.
District 4, which includes downtown Sycamore, extends south of Base Line Road toward Elmwood Cemetery and east of Motel Road toward Brickville Road, where it snakes around Main Street.
Turner, an eight-year veteran of the board, has been instrumental in one of the district’s biggest issues with the county jail expansion. Turner has served on the jail expansion committee and said she has been pleased with the $27 million expansion planning.
Turner said it will benefit the community.
“The people we’ve been working with have been fabulous,” she said of the design process. But her challengers said the process should slow down and be reexamined.
Bassett, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, said a dissolution of party lines could lead to the critical thinking the board needs to embrace. He said while the jail may need to expand, it does not solve the problem and instead “puts a Band-aid” on a wound the next generation would need to address. He said he would bring the same creativity, innovation and lofty expectations to the County Board that he uses in his professional life.
“What I don’t hear coming from local government is: Are we going to have the courage to deal with underpinning social issues,” Bassett said. “I have a genuine sense that things could be done better. I’m not super-partisan. My job is to make the community I live in better.”
Cvek said he has community pride and has spent years serving Habitat for Humanity and contributing to youth sports programs. He said he did not want to bring a partisan approach to issues such as jail expansion, but an approach from his experience as a cost analyst.
He said he is concerned with the cost of the proposed expansion and is not confident the county fully explored moving the location off-site, as expansion room could quickly become limited.
“I’m not convinced it’s the right answer,” he said of the proposal. “The need for the expansion is without question, but we don’t want to create a short-term solution.”