Six candidates are seeking three open seats on the Beecher City village board in Tuesday's election.
Dail A. Schonschack, 66, is an incumbent village trustee serving the last two years, high school graduate and attended Titan II Missile Tech School. He is retired and married to Rhonda L. Schonschack. They have no children. Schonschack is a member of the Gospel Assembly Church of Effingham.
Leslie C. Wood, 63, attended Beecher City High School and Sparks Business College. She is the accounts payable clerk at Wente Plumbing and Fire Protection. Her family members include her mother, L. Joan Evans, brother Mark Wood, son Adam Hunt, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. Her memberships and organizations include the Beecher City Tri-County Fire Protection District and Ann Crooker St. Clair Chapter of the Daughters of the America Revolution.
Louis Haslett, 47, attended Altamont High School and is employed at New York Blower Company in Effingham. He is married to Michele Haslett.
Christopher Haslett, 37, attended Altamont Elementary and High School. He is a factory worker and single.
Candidates responded to questions from the Effingham Daily News. Philip Childress and Stacey Bowlin did not respond.
What motivated you to run for office?
Dail A. Schonschack: A desire to see Beecher City improve to be a place new people want to move to and current residents stay.
Leslie C. Wood: I'm a concerned citizen. The existing board has done a great job, but this is a way to give back to my community. New people on village boards often bring new ideas/solutions.
Louis V. Haslett: I wanted to try something different and the opportunity came for me to run.
Christopher Haslett: Just to try and do what I can to make the village a better place to live.
What do you feel qualifies you for the position?
Dail A. Schonschack: A desire to see improvement and represent current residents the best I can.
Leslie C. Wood: As mentioned previously, just a concerned citizen. All small communities in the area are in the same boat: aging infrastructure and apathy — the feeling like what can we do...there is no money, no staff. I've lived other places and may have some ideas that are a little outside the box, so to speak.
Louis V. Haslett: We need some change and I can help out with that.
Christopher Haslett: The desire to help make the community better.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
Dail A. Schonschack: My desire to work with all the different groups like Ruritan, CornFest committee, tractor pull committee and school for better communication.
Leslie C. Wood: Nothing more than we need new blood on the board. Many members have been there for a long time, and stayed because nobody would run. My father was mayor in the early 1980s and I remember some of the issues he had. A board needs to work together or village issues never get fixed. The village is facing some of the same issues that my father faced in the early 1980s. Just because there is an ordinance on the books doesn't mean that what was relevant in the 1980s works in today's world.
Louis V. Haslett: I wouldn't say I'm much different than my opponents, but there are some things that need to be addressed.
Christopher Haslett: No response.
What are the most important issues specific to your race?
Dail A. Schonschack: To continue to see improvements in park, cemetery and water issues.
Leslie C. Wood: For me, it is the village's infrastructure. In 2018, we had several water issues that dramatically affected some of the businesses and citizens. Also, issues with property use/eyesores. Not only does multiple vehicles in various states of repair become unsightly to the neighbors but encourages vermin to take up residence, thus leading to potential health hazards.
Louis V. Haslett: If I get elected, I'd like to see new business come into town and see some upgrades done around town that need to be done.
Christopher Haslett: No response.
What are some of the things you hope to get accomplished if elected?
Dail A. Schonschack: More trees, playground equipment and new water lines.
Leslie C. Wood: Again, I would like to look at our infrastructure. I am not privy to the current board's plans but would like to see a five-year and 10-year plan. I do realize that we do have a very small budget but we also need to take advantage of grants and programs that are available.
Louis V. Haslett: We need new water lines and better water pressure, maybe look into a better system.
Christopher Haslett: To better the water system, so citizens can have a more reliable source of water year round.