Crystal Lake mayor files for reelection, while one Crystal Lake, two Woodstock council members opt against running again

Election for municipalities will fall on April 4, with possible primary for Crystal Lake, Woodstock on Feb. 28

Election 2024
Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian files as a candidate the morning of Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at Crystal Lake City Hall.

Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian filed Monday morning to run for what would be his first full term since being appointed to replace the late Aaron Shepley in May 2020 and winning a special election the following year.

Filing for the 2023 municipal elections began Monday morning in Crystal Lake and Woodstock, as those are the two towns in McHenry County that could have primary elections on Feb. 28 next year. The general election is scheduled for April 4.

No one besides Haleblian had filed for mayor as of Monday afternoon, but four candidates had thrown their hats into the ring for the Crystal Lake City Council, City Clerk Nick Kachiroubas said.

That includes incumbents Brett Hopkins and Ellen Brady, as well as local businesswoman Denise Smith and Donald Kountz, who ran for Crystal Lake mayor two years ago.

“Aaron [Shepley] built a really strong base for this community,” Haleblian said. “I feel it’s my role to continue and tweak as necessary, but the reality is Crystal Lake is just a great community, with a lot of positive energy between city staff and council.”

Ferguson will not be running for reelection, Haleblian said, who called her a “tremendous voice for council” with “tremendous depth of experience.”

Attempts by the Northwest Herald to reach Ferguson were unsuccessful as of Monday afternoon.

Crystal Lake has three City Council seats, as well as its mayoral post, on the ballot in 2023.

Haleblian said should he win reelection, he would want to see the continued development of downtown, citing the growth in residential options, including new apartments and townhomes, as something he was particularly proud of over the past few years.

In Woodstock, three City Council seats are up for grabs this upcoming election.

As of Monday afternoon, council member Darrin Flynn filed to run again, along with residents Thomas West and Bryson Calvin, Woodstock Executive Assistant Jane Howie said. Neither West or Calvin could be reached for comment on Monday.

Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian filed as a candidate Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at Crystal Lake City Hall.

Flynn, who first ran in 2019 and in 2021 was named deputy mayor, said serving on the board is a big commitment, but said he loves interacting with residents and hopes to continue doing so.

Some things he hopes to continue working on towards is building strategic plans for the city, including creating a master parks plan, and implementing the city’s arts plan.

“We need to have blueprints,” he said. “That was one of the main things I ran on.”

Comparing himself now to when he originally ran four years ago, Flynn said he feels like he understands the process a lot more. The most important thing he’s learned is one member doesn’t have any power. It comes to down to working with others on the board, he said.

Other council members whose seats are on the ballot in 2023 are Lisa Lohmeyer and Wendy Piersall, both of whom said on Monday they do not plan to run again.

After serving one term on the board, Lohmeyer said at this time, she isn’t ready to commit to another four-year term.

“I think right now the city is in good hands between the current city council and the staff and the direction they’re moving,” Lohmeyer said. “It’s just not the right time for to do another term.”

Candidates filed the morning of Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at Crystal Lake City Hall to run in city political races. Current Mayor Haig Haleblian, left, was among the candidates filing.

Piersall meanwhile said she’s had a lot of changes in her life following the COVID-19 pandemic. The main one was selling her business, and then the deal taking a turn for the worst, she said. Now, she is planning to step away and take time to build a new business. She’s optimistic she could run again in two years.

Piersall said she still plans to be on the city’s Arts Commission. Still, she said it was “really hard” to make the decision not to run.

“It’s just not conducive to giving council the time it needs,” she said. “I loved working on council. I felt like I was pretty darn good at it. And I really felt like I made a difference.”

Candidates for non-primary board elections – that includes for school, park, library and fire protection district boards – are expected to file in their respective municipalities between Dec. 12 and 19.

The rules for all local election hopefuls can be found on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.