Newton versus Rudd for Lake County Coroner

Steve & Jen Newton, winners of Chili Autumnfest cook-off
Steve & Jen Newton, winners of Chili Autumnfest cook-off
At a recent Waukegan City Club meeting candidates for Lake County Coroner were invited to debate the issues and talk about what they would do if elected to improve the office. Questions were only allowed from the members and not from the guests in attendance. This was the first time candidates Newton and Rudd were together since the primary. Candidate Steve Newton had the following to say on his Facebook page about his opponent, Dr. Thomas Rudd, and pointed out the difference between them when it comes to notification of a loved one’s injuries or passing.

Tonight I attended the Waukegan City Club Coroner Candidate Forum. This is the first joint appearance that my opponent has shown up to since before the primary election in March. Great questions were posed from the membership of the Club only, and to keep the field level, guests were not allowed to ask questions. My opponent ran his primary election bid on the premise of converting the Coroner’s Office to a Medical Examiners system. Yet tonight this was not a topic he wanted to discuss, with certain political figures in the room (his party leaders), as to not “upset” them, yet he keeps emphasizing how politics should play no role.

I found it in my favor that every question posed to him regarding statistics, Office budget, personnel and statute he deferred to me to answer. The most appalling moment of the night was his response to the following. The question was asked of me if I felt it should be the Coroner’s responsibility to make the death notification in the middle of the night (of a sudden death) to family members or if the Deputy Coroner’s could do it.

I feel that it is the Coroner’s responsibility whenever available to take on this most delicate task as the elected leader of the office. My opponent then answered the same question by saying that death notifications should be made at reasonable hours. He added that he “would be (explicative) off if someone knocked” on his door at two o’clock in the morning for something like that and that it could wait until 6 o’clock in the morning or whenever.

I CAN NOT DISAGREE MORE! The last thing I want to imagine (as a parent) is a person waiting up all night for their son, daughter, mother, father or spouse, only to turn on the morning news to see their vehicle wrapped around a pole. Where is the compassion! My opponent only sees the Laboratory portion of the office and this position, he does not see the big picture of the grief that comes with losing a loved one. Our Coroner’s Office needs Integrity, Respect and Compassion restored and that is why I am running.

Newton also commented about what went on after the debate:

And to end the night, after the forum, my opponent and his entourage handed out fliers littered with personal attacks against my wife and I and our dating relationship when we worked together. It seems that the membership of the City Club had heard what they needed, as most, if not all, refused to take his vile fliers.

Following are several comment excerpts from others who made their feelings known when it comes to ‘notification’.

You are so right!

I would want to be wakened and receive the news, hard as it may be, in the middle of the night, or whenever it happens.

how can any person with a conscience even entertain the thought of withholding notification of a loved one’s death until a more convenient hour of the morning.

Who would withhold that information because its not during the convenient time

As a mother of a teenager I would PREFER that 2am knock on my door.

I would love to hear from you to get your feelings on “when” is a proper time to be notified.
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The League of Women Voters (LWV) will be holding two debates that will include the Coroners office if you would like to hear these two candidates in person. Following are the two scheduled dates:

Candidate Forum
State Senate #30, State Rep. #60, and Lake County Administrators: Coroner, Circuit Court Clerk, Recorder, State’s Attorney
Park Place, 414 S. Lewis, Waukegan, IL

Candidate Forum
Lake County Administrative Offices – Coroner, Circuit Court Clerk, Recorder, and State’s Attorney
College of Lake County, Building C Auditorium, 19351 Washington St, Grayslake, IL

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