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District 1 commissioner ballots will be mailed this week

Ballots for the special election to determine who will be the next District 1 Cook County Commissioner are scheduled to be mailed out this week (Jan. 11-15).

Two candidates will appear on the ballot: Paula Marie Powell and Bob Svaelson.

In June, now former District 1 Cook County Commissioner Bobby Deschampe won an election to be the next chairperson for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Deschampe’s term on the county board did not expire until 2022, which meant there needed to be a special election to fill the vacant seat for District 1.

Three people originally filed for this position, including Powell, Svaelson and Clark Bloomquist. All three names appeared on the Nov. 3 election ballot, which was a primary election in this specific race, though it appeared on the general election ballot. Powell and Svaelson advanced to face off in a special election, which is officially Feb. 9.

WTIP hosted a primary election forum Oct. 14 featuring the three candidates.

Topics covered include reports of domestic violence and drug abuse climbing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly constructed Hovland Garage, the importance of understanding treaty rights for Grand Portage Band members and the role political parties should play in county elections.

Cook County Auditor Braidy Powers told WTIP that following the Feb. 9 election, the winning candidate would typically be sworn in at the next meeting of the county board. That meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 23. However, if there are pressing issues or important topics to discuss, the commissioners could call a special meeting to swear the winning candidate in before late February, potentially as soon as Feb. 16, Powers said.

With the news that ballots are scheduled to be mailed out this week, WTIP followed up with Powell and Svaleson on Jan. 8 to learn more about the candidates heading into the special election. To learn more about each candidate, listen to the interviews below.