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Incumbents, newcomer to fill U-46 trustee seats

By Seth Hancock
  Voters in the April 6 election for three open seats on the School District U-46 Board of Education favored the two incumbents, Veronica Noland and Melissa Owens, as well as newcomer Dawn Martin.
  With 100 percent of votes counted according to the counties of Cook, DuPage and Kane, Owens topped the vote getters with 7,354 votes and Noland followed with 6,781. Owens, of Bartlett, was first elected in 2017 and Noland, of Elgin, in 2013.
  There were four candidates in the race, Bartlett resident Martin garnering 5,982 votes to defeat Elgin newcomer LeJewel Crigler who had 3,459 votes. Martin will replace Donna Smith, of Hanover Park, who did not run for reelection after two decades on the board.
  For Martin, U-46’s response to COVID-19 was a motivating factor for her decision to run. She has two children in the district and said she was supportive of the district early on when schools first started closing down in March of last year, but frustrations grew when the 2020-2021 school year began and there seemed to be a lack of planning to return students to in-person learning by August.
  “I was one of the parents that was at a loss,” Martin said at a March candidate forum in which only she and Noland attended. “My kids were struggling, kids they knew were struggling. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about running for board. I was just thinking about what we can do, how we can support our children.”  
  Owens was the top vote getter in all three counties with 3,344 in Kane, 2,117 in Cook and 1,893 in DuPage. Noland was second in both Cook and Kane, and Martin was second in DuPage.
  The trend of low voter turnout in local elections continued. Both Owens and Noland had more than 2,000 fewer votes than in 2017 when they received 9,751 and 9,339 respectively.  
  According to Kane County’s website, the U-46 race had only 9.5 percent turnout. 

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