Despite diverging views, McHenry County Board members find common ground on veterans

Carl Kamienski and Lou Ness team up to read proclamation, hope to work together on veterans’ issues

McHenry County Board members Carl Kamienski (R-Johnsburg) and Lou Ness (D- Woodstock) read a Veterans' Day proclamation at an Oct. 17 McHenry County board meeting.

Carl Kamienski is conservative. Lou Ness is liberal.

The two first-year McHenry County Board members, despite their divergent political views and parties – Kamienski is a Republican; Ness a Democrat – have something in common: They are both U.S. Army veterans.

Ness, who currently serves as the commander of Woodstock American Legion Post 412, said she is its first female commander in its 103-year history.

Ness served in the Army for 1 1/2 years in the 1960s, and said she was honorably discharged. She spent her time in the service in the U.S., serving across the Southern U.S., including at Fort McPherson in Georgia.

Kamienski served in the 1970s and 1980s, saying he did a variety of tasks, including a stint working on translations at Monterey, California.

“It’s easier to say what I didn’t do,” Kamienski joked.

Kamienski is involved with several veterans organizations in the area, including the Polish American Legion and the VFW. He said he’s participated in the Johnsburg Memorial Day Parade for 43 years.

At the Oct. 17 McHenry County Board meeting, Ness and Kamienski teamed up to read a proclamation recognizing veterans.

“I was glad to be able to do that with Carl,” Ness said.

Kamienski said that creating the proclamation was Ness’ idea, but said it was “awesome” to read it at the board meeting.

Kamienski serves as the County Board liaison for the McHenry County Veterans Assistance Commission, and he said it has been going well so far.

“It’s real nice when we can help out our veterans,” he said.

County Board Chairman Mike Buehler said Ness and Kamienski teaming up on veterans issues is a good way to show that people can come together regardless of their political differences.

Building off the teamwork of reading the proclamation, Ness and Kamienski said they hope to collaborate in the future on veterans issues.

“We are very aligned on veterans issues and supporting veterans,” Ness said.

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