County Board hopeful decides to wait for November election, teacher applies for vacant board seat

Krystle Able speaks before the McLean County Board's Executive Committee on Monday, August 8,...
Krystle Able speaks before the McLean County Board's Executive Committee on Monday, August 8, 2022(McLean County government/YouTube)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:10 PM CDT
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MCLEAN COUNTY (25 News Now) - A Democrat from Normal, criticized for her views on law enforcement, is withdrawing her candidacy for a short-term appointment to the McLean County Board, and is instead focusing her efforts on winning the seat in the November election.

With Krystal Able opting out, Heyworth High School social studies teacher and girls’ head basketball coach Jay “Ryan” Lawler has applied to serve the rest of Matt Coates’ term, which expires in early December.

Jay "Ryan" Lawler
Jay "Ryan" Lawler(Jay "Ryan" Lawler)

Until now, Able had been the only candidate for the vacant District 4 seat, but the GOP-controlled board earlier this month voted 8-7 against her appointment to replace Coates, who resigned when Gov. JB Pritzker picked him to serve on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

All eight Republicans voted against Able’s appointment after the head of the sheriff’s deputies’ union said her “anti-police” stance should disqualify her for board service.

Able told 25 News Now there were several reasons she did not reapply for the temporary appointment. She said one of her children has had a health emergency that requires her full attention.

Able acknowledged she also faced GOP opposition.

“I do not believe the GOP members of the board have any ability to put aside their personal bias and hatred towards me,” Able said in a statement.

Able said residents in District 4 - mainly covering west and north-central Normal, along with a small part of west Bloomington - deserve full representation for key issues in the coming weeks including choosing a state’s attorney and the budget. So, she’s hoping the board confirms Lawler.

Although he teaches in Heyworth, Lawler said he’s lived in Normal and District 4 for seven years.

The county board will vote during a special meeting Friday on Lawler’s appointment.

Lawler is not on the November ballot. Able, Democratic incumbent Jim Rogal and Republicans Steve Harsh and Jerry Klinker are competing for two seats in District 4.