La Salle County Board: 4 GOP contests to be settled Tuesday

Contests include La Salle-Peru, Utica and Northville Township

La Salle County Governmental Complex

Four primary contests on Tuesday’s ballot will help shape the La Salle County Board.

While are there are no intra-party challenges on the Democratic ballot, Republicans will help settle contests for districts in La Salle-Peru, Utica and Northville Township.

District 5

Incumbent Catherine Owens is a retired registered nurse and resident of rural Sandwich/Northville Township. She has served on the County Board for 14 years and would “continue to keep county taxes controlled and to continue my work on my committees.”

John L. Middleton is a farmer in Northville Township and, for the past 15 years, road commissioner for Northville Township. He seeks to serve on the county highway committee and “make sure the townships get as much funding as possible.”

There is no Democratic contender for this seat.

District 9

Joseph Nuske, of La Salle, is a retired machinist and small business owner who seeks to create an economic environment where businesses can grow and create jobs.

“I’m sure I am the only candidate in my race who is currently retired after working the qualifying years as an hourly employee, and a small business owner. So I have been affected by government policies as a worker, a retiree, and a business owner.”

Ray Gatza, of Dimmick Township, is operations manager for United Natural Foods Inc. and has worked at the Oglesby distribution center 23 years. He has been a precinct committeeman the past three years and is active with You Are Not Alone. He pledges to be attentive to constituents, be fiscally conservative and be professional and ethical.

“I am a staff member running a $500 million distribution business,” said Gatza, who holds accounting and business degrees. “I believe I could help add some structure and substance to the County Board meetings and, along with other board members, accomplish great things.”

The winner challenges Democrat Carolyn Moore, who is unopposed in the primary.

District 11

Rick O’Sadnick of Peru, and Martin Rue Jr., of Peru, will vie for the seat currently held by Democrat Joe Witczak. Witczak was removed from the ballot, but runs as a write-in.

O’Sadnick is a senior scientist at Benzaco Scientific. He opposes tax increases and wants to limit health insurance to full-time county employees, not elected board members. He would like to get a morgue for the coroner’s office.

Rue is a certified nursing assistant and past La Salle County Republican Precinct Committeeman. He opposes “all new taxes” and supports fiscal discipline and seeking grants in lieu of taxes. “I will maintain an open door policy with my constituents. I am no politician. Where I come from being caring and honest go hand-in-hand.”

District 16

William J. Brown Jr. and Nicole Mertes, both of Utica, will compete in the Republican primary. The winner faces Democrat Joseph Panzica Jr., of Utica.

Brown is a retiree who wants to “get more involved in our County Board.”

“I have been a lifetime resident of Utica, other than my military time, and I am looking to work with the local governments on issues that the county can help out on.”

Mertes is an office manager with a degree in legal studies/political science. She had worked for former state Rep. Andy Skoog and serves on the Waltham School Board.

“I feel strongly about the effort it takes to build and maintain a place we all want to live in and be a part of,” Mertes said. “I’m hoping my passion for government and the community is give an opportunity to shine.”

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins covers criminal justice in La Salle County.