MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The search resumes to fill a vacant seat on the McLean County Board after board members voted down the only applicant Thursday night.

In an 8-7 vote, the current board voted to reject applicant, Krystle Able’s application for the vacant District 4 board seat in what boiled down to a battle of Republicans vs. Democrats over what some say are “extreme left views.”

“When Ms. Able is posting on social media and I quote ‘Roses are red, no lives are blue, defund the police and abolish ICE too’; this is a huge red flag for the safety of this community,” said Cory Willis, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 176.

Willis voiced those concerns Thursday night in front of the McLean County board during public comment. Republican board member for district 2 and vice chairman of the board Jim Soeldner was one of the eight GOP members that voted no.

“She seemed pleasant enough in person, but I just don’t like her views on law enforcement,” Soeldner said.

Soeldner said while Able is entitled to her views and opinions on police; he said someone with those thoughts isn’t a good fit for the county board. He argued a big role of the board is protection, especially in rural areas of the county.

“We rely on the county sheriff to protect us out in the rural parts. In my mind, we don’t have enough police protection in those areas, so I can’t imagine trying to cut back any on that,” Soeldner said.

Able told WMBD Friday afternoon that she’s not shocked, but more so disappointed by the rejection. However, she said she stands by everything she’s posted on social media.

“I don’t think my views are that extreme, at the end of the day what I want for my community is a place where everyone feels safe. I would like to see us invest in services that are proactive and preventative,” Able said.

In her view, defunding the police means reallocating police funding to more “proactive” approaches such as therapy and mental health services.

“I believe those kinds of things create a safer community and naturally as our communities become safer, we need less law enforcement presence and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and I don’t understand people that don’t think of that kind of future and get excited about it,” Able said.

Able can reapply for the district four vacancy and she’s also appearing as a candidate on the November ballot.

The board is reopening applications for the position until August 22 at noon and it will hold a special meeting on the 26th to fill the vacancy.

Another note from Thursday night’s meeting; state’s attorney Don Knapp tendered his resignation to the board. Knapp will be sworn into a circuit judge position after defeating Amy McFarlan in the June 2022 elections.

The board will accept applications for the state’s attorney position until Sept. 7 at noon. They hope to name a replacement at their regularly scheduled board meeting on Sept. 12.