Students to run for county seats

By Stewart Warren

Three NIU students said they plan to run for a DeKalb County Board seat in the March 20 primary.

The DeKalb County Board runs a variety of local agencies, but its primary function is to collect and distribute local taxes, County Administrator Ray Bockman said. There are 24 representatives, two from each of the 12 districts in DeKalb County, he said.

Each of the student candidates said the possible sale of the DeKalb County property on Sycamore Road known as the “County Farm” figured in their respective campaigns.

Thomas Gary, 20, Student Association senate president pro tem, said last year’s controversy over the County Farm property sale inspired him to campaign in 1990.

Gary, a Democrat, said he is in favor of the sale. If elected, he wants to make sure “the side that isn’t in full agreement on selling the land comes out saying ‘we got something out of it’,” Gary said.

The local chairman of the Young Democrats, Tom Elkins, 21, is the SA research adviser. Elkins said he was also 6th Ward Alderman Jamie Pennington’s campaign manager in April 1989.

Elkins, a history major, said he was concerned about the proposed sale of the County Farm. “A major issue that upset me last January is we came two votes short of selling the County Farm land to develop a mall,” he said.

A DeKalb mall would create many new jobs for NIU students and would pump money into the DeKalb school district, Elkins said.

The only NIU student who said he is running for a second term on the County Board is Tim Bagby, 25, a Republican. Bagby became a District 7 representative in 1988.

Although Elkins said Bagby was opposed to a DeKalb shopping mall, Bagby said he disagreed.

“My opposition has not been to a shopping mall. My opposition is to selling the land at a dirt cheap price … I won’t vote for something that will be a bad deal,” Bagby said.

Bockman said the board supports student representation because they “bring a perspective to the board that is necessary because of the nature of the community.”