Voters will decide on November 3 between incumbent Howard Cooper and Jennifer Banek in the race for Lake County coroner.
Cooper, who is a Republican, worked as a dentist before being elected coroner in Lake County in 2016. Banek, who is a Democrat, is a certified registered nurse anesthetist and Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Cooper is part of two federal government teams — the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team Weapons of Mass Destruction.
He responded on September 11, 2001, to Ground Zero in New York City to help with identifying victims in the attack.
Cooper also responded to New Orleans where he spent five weeks helping recover and identify victims from Hurricane Katrina.
He works very closely helping families who have lost their loved ones. Cooper has also responded to more death scenes than the previous four coroners combined.
Cooper entered office in 2016 after his predecessor, Thomas Rudd, pleaded guilty to perjury charges. Cooper has a track record of professionalism and transparency with the public.
Under Cooper’s leadership, he helped get the Lake County Coroner’s Office accredited through the International Association for Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME) for the first time.
At the time, the Lake County Coroner’s Office was the second office in Illinois and one of only 26 in the country to be accredited with the IACME.
Cooper is also the first coroner since 2006 to have jury inquests for officer-involved custody deaths, he told Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
We find Cooper to be the most qualified candidate based on his performance in office, and he is endorsed.