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St. Charles Park candidates express love for district

ST. CHARLES – Five candidates are vying for four, four-year terms on the St. Charles Park District Board, including three incumbents. The consolidated election is Tuesday.

Incumbents are Jean Cabel, Karrsten Goettel and Robert Carne; challengers are Vanessa Bell-LaSota and Brian Charles.

Goettel, 41, is seeking a third term to continue the park district’s success.

“We have done a great job of adding services and amenities that taxpayers were seeking,” Goettel said. “And at the same time, maintaining a very balanced and healthy budget that continually receives high marks for fiscal responsibility.”

A lifelong resident and graduate of St. Charles High School, Goettel said he came back to raise a family that has enjoyed the park district’s amenities for years.

A park board member for eight years – four as vice president – Goettel said he has assisted in guiding the district through growth and being responsive to community needs.  

The park district was a finalist in 2007, 2008 and 2012 for the National Park and Recreation Association Gold Medal. The district also played a significant role in the award St. Charles received in 2011 by Family Circle Magazine as the best place to raise a family, Goettel said.

His professional experience as a transactional attorney also has given him insight and knowledge on many fronts serving the park board, he said.

Carne has served on the park board for 18 months, appointed to fill the unexpired term of John Forni when he stepped down. Now Carne wants to continue that service.

“I’ve lived here 14 years; my family are heavy consumers of the park district,” Carne said. “I love the park district. My goal is to continue to build up on its strengths and improve on some of the areas of weakness … to just keep building our programs and facilities to be best in Illinois, the best in the country ... . Hopefully, people like what I’m doing and will vote me in.”

Carne’s career in marketing and sales enabled him to provide input for the district’s social media strategy.

Although Cabel has been on the board since only November – she was appointed to fill an unexpired term after board member Jack Kerr’s death – she wants to continue on the board.

“I am a 23-year resident of St. Charles and am knowledgeable about our community,” Cabel, 53, said. “I want to continue working with the board, enriching the lives of residents. I am very impressed with the facilities, programs and services the park district provides.”

Cabel has worked in education for 28 years, all but five years in St. Charles School District 303.

Newcomer Charles, 45, said he is running to ensure the park district facilities and services maintain their quality. A 19-year resident of the community, Charles said his family members are heavy users of the park district’s facilities and amenities.

“As a consumer of those services with a family, what I’ve realized as I visit other communities in Illinois and across the country and other countries, is it’s easy to blink and lose sight of what your objectives are,” Charles said. “I would always seek the maximum return on investment for taxpayers.”

Working as a technology advisor to corporations has taught him to define and deliver on strategic planning.

Bell-LaSota, 57, has a 20-year history in public service with many organizations. She was co-applicant and consultant for landmarking one of the last two remaining farms originally owned by Colonel Baker, Seven Oaks Farm on Red Gate Road.

“It’s an outgrowth of working on that landmarking project between the city and the Kane County Office of Reinvestment,”  Bell-LaSota said. “I thought this is a place for me. It’s a natural outgrowth and a broader responsibility.”

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