Incumbent, radio chief, advocate vie for Vermilion County Board
HOOPESTON — A local radio station manager and an advocate of tighter restrictions on local wind farms are challenging one of the newer Vermilion County Board members in Tuesday's Republican primary.
For the last few years, Darrell Cambron of rural Rankin has attended most monthly meetings of the Vermilion County Board, lobbying for wind farm ordinance changes. On Tuesday, Cambron faces incumbent Todd Johnson of Rossville and a Hoopeston alderman, Larry Baughn, in the Republican primary for District 1.
Two of the three will move on to the general election in November. There are two seats open in District 1, which includes Hoopeston, Rossville, Rankin and Henning.
Johnson, who has been a board member since 2010, is seeking his third term. The other District 1 incumbent, Chris Leigh, R-Hoopeston, decided not to run again.
Cambron said he is not a one-issue candidate and has been involved in various issues in the county through the years. He has asked the county board to increase the distance a wind turbine must be from a house or other primary structures.
"I have a strong interest in all the issues that face District 1," said Cambron, who was involved in stopping a large factory farm from locating near Rankin, as well as a medical waste incinerator. Cambron, a Vermilion County native, said people in the community have always approached him for help on issues. He said that makes him a strong candidate for the county board.
Baughn said he's open-minded about wind farm development and is not on one side of the fence or the other. Johnson said he supports wind energy, but he does not believe the county's wind ordinance should be etched in stone.
Baughn, who was elected last year to the Hoopeston City Council, said he has always had an interest in politics and has watched local issues closely. He believes it's time for younger people to step up to serve.
"I'm not running on any certain agenda by any means, just to listen and serve all the people," said Baughn, adding that he works and raises his family in the county, so he's vested in the area and wants to make it a better place. "Let's just try to move Vermilion County in a positive direction."
Johnson said that after three years on the county board, he's through the initial learning curve. He believes the biggest issue the county must address is infrastructure. He said the county enjoyed a six-year period without a property tax increase, but that came with some costs, like a leaky roof on the Vermilion County Courthouse that caused damage inside the building.
That building is undergoing repairs now, but Johnson said it's his responsibility as a board member to leave the county in a better place for the next generation. He said his youth and energy are strengths, and he wants to work with members of both parties. Johnson said he knows the everyday challenges of raising a family and making ends meet.
Baughn said most people he talks to in District 1 are concerned about tax increases. He said the county needs to maintain its reserves so it doesn't need to raise rates.
Cambron said the economy has always been crucial for Vermilion County, and the county government must show fiscal responsibility and hold the line on tax increases. He said the board should discuss a zoning system for the county.
"I feel I do have a pulse on what a lot of people do go through," he said.
Baughn said infrastructure and public safety are also important issues in the county.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Address: 715 N. Market St., Hoopeston.
Occupation: Station manager, WHPO radio in Hoopeston.
Political experience: Hoopeston alderman since spring 2013.
Education: Attended Danville Area Community College.
Address: 15749 East Attica Road, Rossville.
Occupation: Frontier Communications.
Political experience: County board member since 2010.
Education: Two years at Danville Area Community College.
Address: Rural Rankin.
Occupation: Quality control manager at Conair Corp.
Political experience: Republican precinct committeeman.
Education: Parkland College graduate.