LAKE COUNTY, IL — Drawing on her experience in health care and public service, Green Oaks nurse Jennifer Banek announced her candidacy last month for Lake County Coroner. Incumbent Howard Cooper, a Wadsworth Republican, told the Daily Herald he will seek re-election in 2020.
“As a Captain in the Army Reserve, a Cook Memorial Library District Trustee, and a volunteer for many community and professional organizations, I am passionate about serving,” Banek says. “The Coroner position brings together my medical training and interest in serving our community.”
Banek is a certified registered nurse anesthetist—also called a nurse anesthesiologist. She provides anesthesia to patients in Illinois and Wisconsin in preparation for surgery.
“Health issues that can lead to premature death are an increasing concern,”said Banek, citing vaping, marijuana legalization, the opioid crisis, gun safety, and ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions. “As Lake County Coroner, I would be involved in efforts to ensure our community’s health and safety, utilizing my medical and military training.”
Banek grew up in Mundelein and graduated from Mundelein High School. After leaving the area for a time, she returned to raise her children. She has two daughters, Emma and Lillian, and two stepsons, Gabe and Luke. Commitment to public service runs in the family; Ms. Banek’s husband, Rafal Banek, is a nurse anesthetist in the Naval Reserves.
Banek was elected to the Cook Memorial Library board in 2018 and is active in the Lake County organization College Bound Opportunities, serving as a mentor for a young adult in the community.
She also serves as a board member for the Illinois Association of Nurse Anesthetists (IANA) and is a committee member for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Banek was recently recognized by the IANA as the “Advocate of the Year.”