Contested candidates talk platforms, campaigns


Olivia Swenson-Hultz

Coles County Clerk candidates Julie Coe and Jackie Freezeland answer questions regarding their campaigns Tuesday evening at the Unique Suites Hotel.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz, Associate News Editor

Primary candidates for Coles County Clerk, Coles County Sheriff and state representative gathered at The Unique Suites Hotel to better inform constituents about their campaigns prior to the primaries on March 20.

Each set of candidates was parceled out into segments to help to provide a better understanding of their campaigns. The forum was centered around contested races for the primary, so only Republican candidates were present.

Coles County Clerk primary candidates Julie Coe and Jackie Freezeland were the first to address spectators.

Freezeland graduated with a degree in accounting from Eastern and has worked at First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust. She is also the Ashmore Village Clerk. Freezeland said she already has experience keeping documents, recording information and writing ordinances.

“It’s just a matter of being safe with documents and being safe, honest and responsible,” she said.

Freezeland said her banking background has caused her to value privacy in regards to maintaining information such as genealogy records.

Coe grew up in Ashmore and currently works as the chief deputy in the Coles County Clerk’s Office.

Some of her duties include maintaining delinquent records, recording information and waiting on customers. She said she would be the best candidate because she understands the office already.

James Rankin and Steve Spear are both running in the Coles County Sheriff primary.

Rankin currently serves as the Coles County sheriff. He said inmates should be the first priority of the Sheriff’s office, and that they should be given the tools to make it back into the world they came from.

“We can’t keep arresting people without helping them,” he said. “Out of the jail and into my office, I’ll do my best to provide them with resources.”

In regards to racial profiling, he said he cannot think of one specific group of people to target and that he wants to help everyone.

Rankin is a graduate of Eastern.

Spear is currently serving as a patrol sergeant and served for six years in the Marine Corps. His first priority as sheriff would be to prevent school shootings.

“I’m not sure about arming teachers, but we need to arm teachers with information to help them protect their classrooms,” he said.

Primary candidate Terry Davis was next to speak at the forum. His running mate, Chris Miller, was not in attendance due to prior obligations at another event.

Miller’s son-in-law, Justin Goff, showed up on behalf of him but could not answer questions for him.

Goff described Miller as being pro-life regardless of who is funding and being pro-family. He said that his father-in-law is the only real Republican candidate in the primary for state representative.

Davis has owned Towne Square Jewelers, a business on the square, since 1984. He also attended Eastern.

Davis said he models his political model off of Barry Goldwater and would like to see government kept outside of smaller aspects of individual lives. He said he would like to bring as much control back into the local government as possible and keep bureaucracies out of citizens’ lives.

He would like to help balance power by seeing leadership rotate so that people like Madigan do not control everything in Springfield, he said.

“My Republican Party is about making government more efficient and not excluding people,” Davis said.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]