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Feb. 2, 2010

Feb. 2 Election Results

in Featured/Feb. 2, 2010 by

Below are the local unofficial results from the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election. Winners names are in bold.

District Representative 14th Congressional District

Democratic candidates
Bill Foster—25,071
Republican candidates
Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren—34,472
Ethan A. Hastert—28,575

State Senator 25th District

Democratic candidates
Leslie N. Juby—8,492
Republican candidates
P. Sean Michels—9,444
Chris Lauzen—22,110

State Representative 50th District

Democratic candidates
Linda Healy—4,435
Republican candidates
Keith R. Wheeler—7,344
Kay Hatcher—8,468
Bob McQuillan—2,462

Kane County Clerk

Democratic candidates
Ghafran Chishti—12,242
Republican candidates
John A. “Jack” Cunningham—30,139

Kane County Treasurer

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
David J. Rickert—24,125
Bob Kovanic—7,347

Kane County Sheriff

Democratic candidates
Pat Perez—13,435
Republican candidates—too close to call, awaiting absentee count
L. Robert Russell—15,531
Donald E. Kramer—15,570

Kane County Board District 5

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Bill Wyatt—1,152
Melisa Taylor—1,332

Kane County Board District 25

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Bob Kudlicki—1,447
Thomas (T.R.) Smith—1,863

16th Judicial Circuit (Grometer Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Fred M. Morelli—17,910
Kevin T. Busch—28,050

16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
John G. Dalton—7,584
Michael C. Funkey—5,407
Republican candidates
Thomas Patrick Rice—5,841
Robert L. Janes—4,115
D. J. Tegeler—3,065
Leonard J. Wojtecki—5,374
David R. Akemann—12,880


Sugar Grove Library Proposition to increase the limiting rate

Where to find election results

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

Links to the various pertinent sites reporting local election totals:

Kane County

City of Aurora

Kendall County

DeKalb County

Henry County

Whiteside County

Lee County

DuPage County

Bureau County

Representative—14th Congressional District

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

Four candidates in three parties vie for Congress seat

A pair of Republicans, Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren of Winfield, and Ethan A. Hastert of Elburn, run in the only opposed primary in the race. Additionally, incumbent Democrat Bill Foster of Batavia is running unopposed, as is Green Party challenger Daniel J. Kairis of South Elgin.

Randall M. ‘Randy’ Hultgren
Randy M. “Randy” Hultgren said he decided to run for Congress because of his growing disillusionment with the direction of the federal government.

“I’m running for Congress because I’m tired of the out-of-control spending, irresponsive government and unrepresentative leadership that defines Washington,” Hultgren said. “I’m unwilling to hand a future to my children defined by the corrupt politics of horse-trading and earmarks that has tainted both political parties.”

Hultgren is not a stranger to politics, having served in the Illinois State Senate since 2007 and the Illinois State House from 1999 to 2007. Prior to that, he served on the DuPage County Board and the Forest Preserve Commission from 1994 to 1998.

With a J.D. degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1993, he worked as a vice president for Performance Trust. He has also served as a Republican Precinct Committeeman for 20 years, and served as chairman of the Milton Township Republicans. In addition, he served as president of the Wheaton Academy Alumni Association, as well as on the boards of Metropolitan Family Services and Family Shelter Services.

This combination of political, business and community-service experience is why Hultgren feels he is the right choice on election day.

“I’m the only candidate in this race that has the community service, legislative victories, business experience, time spent living in the community and conservative endorsements and record to back up my claims,” Hultgren said. “I’ve accomplished major legislative victories in Springfield despite being in the minority, and I’ve earned awards and high ratings from organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, NRA, and Illinois Crime Commission.”

He said his top priority is to bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. With the national debt exceeding $12 trillion, more than $200 billion was spent in the past year just to service the debt.

“That’s money that could have been used to buy body armor for our soldiers, educate our children, research new sources of energy, or even better, never have been taxed from people to begin with,” Hultgren said.

He said that the interest on that debt will only get worse if nothing is done now, explaining that by 2019, the nation will spend more than $700 billion per year just on interest on our national debt.

“Unless we responsibly work to solve this problem, we’ll find ourselves relying on crushingly high inflation to eliminate the debt,” he said. “And whether it was Germany in the 1930s or Argentina in the late 1990s, no country ever survives in its current form under the strain of that kind of inflation.”

Hultgren said the government needs to approach the fiscal situation in the opposite manner than it is today, focusing on economic growth and not on taxation as a means to raise revenue.

“I support an extension of the tax cuts set to expire next year, particularly those expiring provisions that will hurt investment in new or growing businesses,” he said. “If these tax cuts expire, then income taxes, capital gains taxes and dividend taxes will all increase … which will discourage work, saving and investment; exactly the opposite of what we need in a recession.”

He said that there are things the government can do to help jump start the economy. He supports implementing business tax credits to create jobs, spur innovation, encourage investment in severely troubled areas, and to incentivize domestic production and foreign taxation.

“This will encourage job creation at home and increase sales of American goods abroad,” he said of the domestic production/foreign taxation incentives. He also supports an expansion of the child tax credit and reduction in rates for married couples as a means to ease the tax burden on families.

Combining that plan for economic growth with significant cuts in spending will help the nation return to a balanced budget, he said. He would also push for a presidential line item veto, to create another tool to limit or cut spending.

“I want across-the-board zero-based budgeting, with the requirement for the next 10 years that each federal department and sub-agency cut spending by 0.1 percent to 5 percent, depending on the agency and its mission,” he said.

Ethan A. Hastert
Ethan A. Hastert said his decision to run for Congress was based on his belief that Washington’s recent spending is threatening the viability of the nation’s future.

“Generations of Americans have received the most blessed inheritance in history: a self-governing and prosperous nation, endowed with abundant natural resources,” he said. “But reckless spending in Washington threatens this legacy, undermining our ability to leave our children and grandchildren anything but a mountain of debt.”

After receiving a law degree from the Northwestern University School of Law, Hastert served in the White House as Special Assistant in the Office of the Vice President of the United States. He currently practices law in Chicago.

Since 2005, Hastert has served on the Board of Directors for the Luxembourg American Cultural Society, and since 2008, on its Executive Committee. He also serves as Counselor for Consular Affairs for the Consulate General of Luxembourg at Chicago.

Hastert said he will combine his experience in working in the White House with a common-sense approach to restore fiscal conservatism in Washington.

“I will do more than merely say ‘no’ to the Democrats borrow-tax-and-spend agenda,” Hastert said. “I will also provide reform-minded and results-oriented leadership to get America back to work.”

Part of his plan to get America back to work is to advocate for a balanced budget amendment that would produce smaller government, less spending and lower taxes by requiring Congress to pay for each and every spending program.

“This requirement will prevent Congress from waiving its own ‘pay-as-you-go’ rules in order to borrow and spend, without accounting for the ballooning deficit,” Hastert said.

He said he would push for a line item veto and earmark reform to increase government transparency. He advocates incremental and common-sense health care reforms to hold the line on health care costs, which will lessen the financial burden on working families and make it easier for businesses to begin hiring again, he said.

He opposes what he calls the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policies, which threaten our prosperity and the value of the dollar. He said he would sponsor a comprehensive national energy policy.

“That will create private sector jobs and enhance our national security,” Hastert said.

He said he would also take a hard look at the current financial regulatory system, and would push for reforms that would allow businesses to succeed or fail based on the decisions they make.

“The Democrats policy of ‘too big to fail’ and ‘too regulated to succeed’ simply does not work,” Hastert said.

Hastert said that his economic positions make up a philosophy that says government should remain small and allow the private sector to grow the economy, rather than tax it.

“The primary focus of the government should be on restoring economic growth to get America back to work,” he said. “The Democrats’ big-government approach is all wrong: we cannot borrow, tax and spend our way to prosperity. After $1.5 trillion in bailouts, so-called stimulus and the ‘cash for clunkers’ program, even President Obama acknowledged that ‘true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector,’” Hastert said.

He said that the district needs to be represented by someone with common-sense conservative values.

“As a solid conservative who is pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Second Amendment rights, I will stand up for our core values,” Hastert said. “As an economic conservative who is alarmed by the mountain of debt the Democrats are racking up, I will combine my experience in the White House with my Midwestern values to serve as a check-and-balance on Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.”

Bill Foster
Bill Foster’s campaign stated that as he is unopposed in this primary election, he is focused on his officials duties and not on the primary campaign.

Daniel J. Kairis
Green Party candidate Daniel J. Kairis said that he is running because of a lack of trust in either major political party.

“The corporations have bought and sold the other two major parties,” Kairis said. “The special interest groups have taken control of nearly all levels of government—especially the federal level. More voters declare themselves independent than either Republican or Democrat. I want to give them an alternative choice to that of the ‘lesser of two evils.’”

Kairis has been involved in a number of independent and third-party activities over the years. He volunteered for the Ross Perot campaign, served on the Bylaws Committee for United We Stand America, was an alternate delegate to the Reform Party in 1994, served as State Chair for the Reform Party of Illinois in 1999, and was Treasurer of the United Independents Party of Illinois in 1995.

In addition to his political activities, Kairis has also been active in the community. He is the Vice President of the group Citizens Against the Balefill, Membership Chair of the Vagabond Flying Association, past president of the Fox Valley Computer Society. He served on the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for the village of South Elgin, the Board of Directors for the Video Dealers’ Association-Illinois Chapter. He also was a grade school basketball coach for the South Elgin Recreation organization, and volunteered in the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run and the Pottawatomie Park MS Walk.

He said his community service orientation extends into his political activities, and is why he wants to represent the residents of the 14th Congressional District without any outside influence.

“I am the only candidate who has pledged not to take any special interest money,” Kairis said. “This will allow me the ability to represent the citizens and not be indebted to the special interests.”

Kairis said the nation should stop importing foreign oil as a first step in turning around its economic struggles.

“$220 billion are drained from our economy every year by importing the oil,” he said.

He said the nation can bring jobs back to our country by focusing on environmentally friendly ways of producing energy. He proposes using natural gas as an interim source of energy until the nation can build electric cars and the infrastructure to provide interchangeable batteries for extended range of the cars.

“We can start building wind farms to provide the electricity to recharge the batteries at substations,” he said. “We have built an entire infrastructure for gasoline-powered automobiles. We can do the same for the next generation of convenient electric vehicles.”

Lauzen, Michels to compete for 25th State Senate

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

Two Republicans face off; Democrat runs unopposed

Sugar Grove Village President Sean P. Michels of Sugar Grove is challenging incumbent State Sen. Chris Lauzen of Aurora in the Republican primary for the 25th State Senate District. Running unopposed in the primary is Democratic challenger Leslie N. Juby of Geneva.

Sean P. Michels
For Sugar Grove Village President Sean P. Michels, his decision to run for the 25th State Senate District is based on his desire to bring more tax dollars back to the area.

With the district’s primary route of traffic being Route 47, Michels is familiar with the roadway and the improvements that are needed. He said the state has made no major improvements to the roadway even as the area population grew dramatically. Kane County has been working toward ramp improvements to the Interstate 90/Route 47 interchange, and the village of Sugar Grove has been working on ramp improvements at the Interstate 88/Route 47 interchange. He said these projects need help at the state level.

“We need someone in Springfield that will work with the two state representatives from the district to get these road improvements done,” Michels said.

Michels is a lifelong resident of the area. He has lived in Sugar Grove for the past 20 years and grew up in Elburn. He graduated from Kaneland High School in 1981, and received an associate’s degree from Waubonsee Community College (WCC) in Sugar Grove in 1983 and a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and economics in 1985. He went on to receive an MBA from Aurora University in 1989.

His employment history has been local, as well. He has worked as a project manager for McCue Builders since 1998, as a business development officer from 1996-98, was an economics instructor at WCC from 1994-95, and was a trust officer at GreatBanc Trust Company from 1988-96.

During many of those years, Michels also served the residents of Sugar Grove in multiple levels of government. He served on the Sugar Grove Park District Board from 1995-97, and on the Sugar Grove Village Board from 1997-99, and has been the Sugar Grove village president since 1999.

He also served on the Kaneland High School Finance Advisory Committee from 2005-09 and on the Metrowest Council of Government Board of Directors from 2007-09, served as a coach in the Sugar Grove Park District, was director of the Silver Stars Basketball program from 2006-09, and is a Sunday school teacher at St. Mark’s church.

With that combination of local government experience, community service and knowledge of the area, he said he is the right person for the job.

“In my 10 years as village president of Sugar Grove, I have had to work with other elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, to get projects done to benefit the area,” Michels said. “I worked with our congressman to obtain federal transportation money to make infrastructure improvements that will help attract new businesses to diversify our tax base. The Village Board and I worked with our state representative to get Route 56 repaved prior to the Solheim Cup.”

He said another example of working with other officials to reach a shared goal was his work on cutting village expenses to address the financial struggles facing the village in the current economic downturn. He said this cost-cutting process has been vital in helping the village address its financial challenges without having to implement additional taxes.

“These are examples of how I have worked at the local level to improve the area, and firmly believe I can do the same at the state level,” Michels said.

What he plans to do at the state level is work with other state officials to help improve local representation in Springfield.

“My number one issue for the 25th District is to work in cooperation with the two state representatives and all the other elected officials within this district to better represent the people of the district,” Michels said. “I believe that voters are looking for results and an advocate for the needs of the district.”

Part of what Michels counts as results are more tax dollars returning to the district.

“For far too long the 25th state senate district has been a net payer out of tax dollars,” Michels said. “This district needs a voice in Springfield that will work hard to bring our tax dollars back to maintain the quality of life that we have come to expect.”

In addition to returning more tax dollars to the district, Michels said he will focus on the state’s budget crisis.

“One of the most important issues we face is the state budget,” he said. “We need to get a handle on the state’s expenses in particular. We cannot raise taxes to add an additional burden and discourage economic development in our state or the tax base will shrink and we will have a self-perpetuating crisis.”

He said that the state’s pension system must be changed by phasing out defined benefit pension plans for current state employees and implementing an employee-contribution pension system for new state employees.

“This would require employees to save for retirement in a similar way that nearly 80 percent of all other employees save for retirement,” Michels said.

Chris Lauzen
Serving as State Senator since 1992, Chris Lauzen said he has a long track record of commitment to his constituents and honesty.

“For 17 years, I have personally returned every telephone call, e-mail, and piece of constituent correspondence,” Lauzen said.

That personal connection to his district is part of why he is running for re-election and why his focus is on bringing honesty and integrity to Springfield.

“Restoring trust in public institutions begins with the personal conduct of elected officials,” Lauzen said. “(I) stand up against self-serving corruption and hypocrisy of leaders in my own Republican Party.”

In addition to his focus on standing up against corruption and hypocrisy, Lauzen said he intends to focus on the protection and creation of more jobs in the private sector, and cutting spending while coming up with innovative solutions for the state to live within its means without having to implement tax increases.

“If higher taxes were the solution to balancing state finances, California, Connecticut and New Jersey would be the most fiscally healthy states,” Lauzen said. “The tax increase premise is obviously wrong, and results in employers and seniors with assets taking their jobs and wealth in retirement elsewhere.”

Lauzen said that the current state budget crisis has been caused by years of mistakes in Springfield.

“Those who have had total control over Illinois state government for the past seven years blamed Blagojevich for all of our problems,” Lauzen said. “However, nearly one year after his impeachment, the financial condition of our state is significantly worse than it was in January 2009 because the same policies and personnel are still basically in place.”

Lauzen said the state should implement a managed care system for Medicaid that is based on common sense. He said this approach is estimated to save the state between $500 million and $1.5 billion annually.

He said that the state could save billions more each year by changing the state pension system by promising less in benefits but actually paying for what is promised.

While cutting costs is essential in Lauzen’s plan to resolve the state’s budget crisis, he said state revenues do need to increase.

“Of course, we need more revenue in Illinois, but the dispute is how we get it,” Lauzen said.

He said that while many in Springfield believe that a minimum 50-percent income-tax increase and applying sales taxes to many services is a legitimate solution, there is a more sensible solution.

“I believe that we ought to get more revenue by putting more folks back to work,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of our state’s general revenue comes from income and sales tax. Both of these increase when people are working and spending money to support themselves and their families.”

Lauzen said he intends to pursue his plans in the same way he has approached his policy agenda in the past, and pointed to multiple accomplishments as evidence. He said the legislative team that represents the 25th Senate District ranked fourth in the amount of money included in the 2009 Road Program, which helped improve the district’s infrastructure. He said he was a lead sponsor of legislation signed into law in 2009 that cut the compensation of all members of the General Assembly by 5 percent for Fiscal year 2010.

In addition, he pointed to proposals that he has made that would resolve the state pension system, specific cost-cutting measures, lead sponsorship of Senate Bill 600 (SB600), which would restore the right of Republican Party primary voters to select their own party representation, as well as pushing for property-tax reduction reform legislation.

Lauzen received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in management science and English from Duke University in 1974. He became a certified public accountant at the University of Illinois in 1976, and received a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University in 1978. He is currently a candidate for a doctorate degree in education finance at Northern Illinois University.

During his time in Springfield, he has become the ranking Republican on the Revenue Committee and the Senate Appropriations II Committee. He is a member of the Senate Appropriations I, Senate Consumer Protection, and Senate Pensions and Investments committees; co-chairman of the Legislative Audit Commission; past chairman of the Commerce and Industry Committee; past member of the Republican School Funding Task Force; and member of the Veteran’s Memorial Commission and Governor’s Task Force on Pension Reform. He was a national guest panel speaker at the American Legislative Exchange Council and National Conference of State Legislators.

His community service includes membership in the Geneva Lions Club, the Sons of the American Legion and the Board of Directors for the Compassion Foundation. He also belongs on the Fox Valley Maoris rugby team, the Hearts of Illinois POW/MIA organization, the Illinois Republican National Hispanic Assembly and the Harvard Business School Old Boy rugby team.

Leslie N. Juby
Leslie N. Juby said that her decision to run for state office was based on her experiences as a Geneva School Board member, a post she has held since 2007.

“It didn’t take long (after being on the board), however, before I realized that many decisions facing local school districts came from mandates from lawmakers in Springfield,” Juby said. “I believe that control of education should be returned to the local school districts that can tailor programs specific to their students’ needs.”

She said she also became frustrated with the state’s growing deficit, high unemployment, funding inadequacies and questionable ethics among Illinois officials.

“(This) has led me to run for office so that I may be instrumental in fixing what is wrong with Illinois,” Juby said.

Juby received a Bachelor of Arts degree in language and literature from Governor’s Sate University in 1983, and has been a substitute teacher at Batavia School District.

In addition to her service on the Geneva School Board, Juby has been active in the community. She is an elementary school volunteer, Sunday school teacher; member of the Geneva Beautification Committee; volunteer for Geneva History Center through the Geneva Historic Homeowners Association; former Girl Scout co-leader and building coordinator; and former Sunday school superintendent. She is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, Hooved Animal Humane Society, North Shore Animal League of America, and Cocker Spaniel Adoption Center.

She said her commitment to the community and experience on the Geneva School Board will serve her well if elected to Springfield.

“I have spent the last 10 years as a tireless volunteer with a strong commitment to my community and schools,” Juby said. “As a member of the Geneva School Board, I have been a fair and independent voice. I am a political outsider, not a career politician. My candidacy represents an infusion of new ideas and diverse points of view. I work well with others and am eagerly looking forward to working for change in Springfield.”

3 Republicans running for 50th State Rep

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

Hatcher has competition from Wheeler, McQuillan

Three Republican candidates are running for State Representative in the 50th District, incumbent Kay Hatcher of Yorkville, and challengers Keith R. Wheeler of Oswego and Bob McQuillan of Geneva. Democratic challenger Linda Healy of Aurora is running unopposed.

Keith R. Wheeler
Keith R. Wheeler said a combination of the struggles in Illinois and his experience of owning his own small business is what led him to run to represent the 50th District.

“As the only small business owner who has real experience creating jobs, I can offer the right solutions to get Illinois back on track,” Wheeler said. “With a degree in economics, I have a clear understanding of what will make a difference in reviving the jobs climate in our state.”

With a Bachelors Degree in economics from the University of Illinois, Wheeler has owned Responsive Network Services LLC for the past 18 years. He is the former Kendall County Republican Central Committee Chairman and current Precinct Committeeman in the Bristol precinct 5.

He is the chairman of the Board of Directors for the Kendall County Food Pantry, chairman of the NFIB Fox Valley Area Action Council for Small Business, member of the Sons of the American Legion, Kane County Farm Bureau and Kendall County Farm Bureau.

Wheeler said these experiences will serve him well when it comes time to address the state’s difficulties.

Wheeler cited statistics that show that Illinois ranks 48th in economic performance and job creation. With the state $11 billion behind in its current bills and facing an unfunded pension liability of approximately $80 billion, the situation is extreme, he said.

“We deserve better,” Wheeler said. “As an experienced small business owner, I have the right plan to make the cost of doing business more affordable in Illinois so that job creators see our state as a viable place to do business and create the jobs that we need now.”

Wheeler said the first thing the state should focus on is helping create a climate that will lead to job growth. He said the state should make it more affordable to do business in the state. Overhauling the workers compensation system to reduce employer liability costs would be a significant step in the right direction.

“Put Illinois on a level playing field with other states by cutting taxes, fees and regulations on small businesses, since small business creates eight out of every 10 new jobs in Illinois—stop treating Illinois businesses like politicians’ piggy banks,” Wheeler said.

He said that while the state’s personal income tax rate is “a respectable flat 3 percent,” the problem is that the state ranks in the top 12 in terms of property taxes, in addition to having the seventh highest level of extra taxes and fees—outside of income, sales and property taxes—in the nation.

“Over the last decade, nearly 750,000 residents left Illinois for greener pastures,” Wheeler said. “It’s easy to see where they went, just look to the states which have no personal income tax. Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are all states with top-tier economic performance and had better than average increases in individual income growth while seeing their population grow.”

Wheeler said he had a simple approach to resolve this situation: “Put the fee levels back to where they were before the Blagojevich years and leave them there.”

Wheeler said that his first priority after taking office would be to focus on the fiscal crisis facing the state.

“Like any family or business, Illinois must live within its means,” he said. “The current spend-and-borrow policies are not sustainable, so spending cuts are required.”

He would look to reform Medicaid and the state pension system as a way to make the largest impact to the state’s bottom line and balance the budget without a tax increase.

“We are already a very expensive state in a very competitive environment,” he said. “Revenue to the state grew rapidly in the earlier part of the decade. Our leaders in Springfield just accelerated spending even more rapidly over that time, and now we have to face the problem.”

To face the problem, Wheeler said Medicaid must be reformed. Eligibility requirements must be returned to where they were six years ago, while being adjusted for inflation, and Medicaid funds must be spent more efficiently.

To address reforms of state pensions, Wheeler said the state must find a balance between employee contributions and their benefits.

“In the case of Illinois’ generous pension benefits, employees should be willing to pay more for the long-term benefit,” he said. “It is only common sense to review the idea of defined contribution programs replacing the current unsustainable defined benefit approach in place now.”

While performing these reforms, Wheeler said it is vital that the state fight the urge to raise taxes as a quick way to increase revenues.

“In order for Illinois to compete with neighboring states and to keep the most productive residents here in our state, state government has to be vigilant in keeping taxes as low as possible,” he said.

Kay Hatcher
With an immense list of community service activities that include serving on the board of directors for numerous nonprofit organizations over the past several decades, Kay Hatcher is looking to continue her service as the incumbent representative in the 50th District.

Her first time serving in elected office was in 1985, when she won a race to join the Oswego School Board. She served there until 1991, when she was appointed to the Kendall County Board. Winning the seat in 1992, she continued to serve on the County Board until 1996. In 2002, she became the president of the Kendall County Forest Preserve, a post she held until 2008, the year she won the seat in the 50th District.

“Experience counts,” Hatcher said. “Service on the local level, on the school board and county board, taught me how to lead a county from less than 30,000 residents to the second fastest growing county in the United States with an extraordinary changing demographic.”

It is that breadth of experience that helped lead to a successful first term in Springfield, she said, pointing to her recognition as Legislator of the Year by the Metro West Counciil of Government as an example.

“I came to this office understanding the need to keep your core values and still find flexibility in a final piece of legislation,” Hatcher said. “I see both the fiscal and human side of each decision. I reach for policy, not politics. My vote history reflects that philosophy.”

She said that as a new representative in Springfield, she plans to continue to bring a new perspective to the legislative process.

“I have the fresh eyes, as a brand new legislator, to assess programs objectively,” she said.

She said she wants to use that fresh perspective to help Illinois reverse its downward course.

“I ran for election to bring back an Illinois we’d all be proud of,” Hatcher said. “When my very first vote as a legislator impeached the governor, the journey back to a better state began.”

Included in that journey must be a willingness to get back to the basics when it comes to management of the state’s fiscal challenges, she said.

While serving on the United Way Board, Hatcher helped implement a zero-based budgeting process and said this approach should be utilized in Springfield.

“This state has spent more than it should for many years, and we have to start now to turn that attitude around,” Hatcher said. “Government simply cannot afford government anymore.”

When given the option, Hatcher chose to serve on the Budget Reform and Accountability Committee to help the state accomplish its philosophical turn-around. She co-sponsored legislation that requires every contract to be put online, a measure that will help the state act in a more fiscally responsible manner.

“I think folks are just naturally more careful with public funds when they know 12 million people are looking over their shoulder,” she said.

As part of the committee, Hatcher said she is going through the budget line by line to find ways to save the taxpayers money. Included in the exploration is the idea of reforming Medicaid and the state pension system.

She said that while raising taxes would lead to a short-term increase in revenue, the long-term impact would be negative.

“Individuals have less money to invest in their homes, families and communities, and small businesses have less to invest in entrepreneurial opportunities,” Hatcher said. “Small businesses would take a double hit because most run their taxes through their individual income reports, and they would be crushed by the governor’s proposed tax increases.”

Rather than grow state revenues through tax and fee increases, Hatcher said the state should grow its revenues by making decisions that lead to job growth and economic development. She serves on the bipartisan Job Creation Task Force, benchmarking how successful states create and keep jobs. She pointed to the fact that Indiana has a billboard on the state line welcoming Illlinois businesses to enjoy their lower tax structure as an example that Illinois needs to change the way it approaches its economy.

“Illinois needs less mandates and more entrepreneurial encouragement,” Hatcher said. “Support local efforts. Encourage partnerships between chambers of commerce, business and manufacturing associations, schools, apprenticeships. Reinforce shopping locally and ex-hibiting community pride—it attracts new business.”

In every effort, Hatcher said the priority is to change the way Illinois government functions.

“The wheels have fallen off the wagon in Springfield, and the chaos affects every single resident of our state,” she said. “As a brand new Representative I am working to bring fiscal accountability and public trust back to public service.”

Bob McQuillan
Geneva resident Bob McQuillan is making his first attempt in politics, saying that the state’s failures led to his decision to run for office.

“Plain and simple, Illinois is in a state of madness,” McQuillan said.”

He said that as an average guy from a blue-collar background, he can identify with the residents who feel that politicians are not responding to their needs.

“I strongly believe that the issues we face today are the result of the wrong people being elected to public office,” he said. “Our issues are not Republican or Democrat in nature, we all are responsible for allowing these problems to develop. We will never solve our problems if we continue with the same type of leadership that has been elected over the years.”

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in food marketing from St. Joseph’s College in 1978 and an MBA in management from St. Joseph’s College in 1984, McQuillan went on to a 24-year career in sales and management positions in the consumer package goods industry, working for companies including Quaker Oats and Gaines Foods, among others. He has spent the last eight years as a real estate agent in the Fox Valley.

McQuillan has been involved in local athletics, coaching children in a variety of sports programs, including Geneva Boys Baseball, Geneva Park District Girls Softball and Geneva Park District Boys Basketball.

In September 2008, he worked with three other Geneva residents to found a grassroots watchdog group called FACTS (For Accountable Controlled Tax Savings). The group formed to educate local taxpayers on how local taxing bodies develop their budegets and spend their tax dollars.

“Most of our focus over the last 18 months has been the Geneva School District, since they are the largest local taxing body,” McQuillan said.

Since its formation, the group has grown to include more than 260 members.

Based on his experience with his tax accountability group, McQuillan said he has demonstrated a willingness to ask tough questions of those in power.

“I have demonstrated that I am not afraid to ask tough questions and push for solutions to today’s issues,” he said. “I believe that it is the right time for an average person who understands the needs and thoughts of the community to step up and run for public office.”

When beginning to approach the state’s budget crisis, McQuillan said the first thing to do is take the option of a tax increase off the table.

“I will not support any tax increase in any form,” he said.

He said that the state can save between 15 and 20 percent without a reduction in services by conducting what he called a “true, forensic audit of all state spending.” This audit will seek to eliminate all corruption, waste and duplication of services and positions.

In addition, the state should operate with complete transparency, making all decisions and expenditures viewable by the public online. Operating in a transparent manner can also go a long way toward restoring the public’s trust in Illinois state government, he said.

“This can only be accomplished by being honest with the public every step of the way,” McQuillan said. “Personal agendas need to be eliminated, and everyone needs to be accountable for their actions.”

He said that while there is much blame to place at the feet of those in Springfield, elected officials are not the only people who are part of the problem in Illinois.

“At the same time, the public needs to take responsibility for allowing government to spin out of control,” McQuillan said. “Illinois residents must become educated on the major issues facing all of us and support those representatives and senators who are working for the public welfare and not for their individual gain.”

Linda Healy
Linda Healy did not respond to requests for information for this article.

KC Board District 5

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

SG’s Taylor runs against Aurora incumbent

Challenger Melisa Taylor of Sugar Grove is running against Republican incumbent Bill Wyatt of Aurora to represent the 5th District on the Kane County Board. There are no other candidates in any other parties running in the primary.

Bill Wyatt
Having served three terms on the Kane County Board, Bill Wyatt said he continues to have a strong desire to serve the citizens within District 5. This desire, coupled with the experience gained in his role, combine to give Wyatt what he said makes him the best choice on election day.

“I have a proven record of sound fiscal discipline evidenced through my work on the Finance Committee in 2009,” Wyatt said. “With reduced revenues for the county, my mantra is quite simple: “We won’t spend what we don’t have.”

He said that mantra was vital in 2009 and will continue to be so in the future.

“2009 was a challenging year, but in the end all county departments and nearly all elected officials were able to reduce spending to match revenues,” Wyatt said. “I will continue to assist those who need help finding ways to trim budgets while still delivering the programs and services our citizens expect.”

He said his priorities for the next term are to continue his focus on the budget and the fiscal challenges facing all units of government. He also wants to work on finishing the Stearns Road Bridge over the Fox River and the Orchard Road extension. In addition, he plans to help find funding to engineer and construct a pedestrian bridge on a nature trail near Prestbury.

Wyatt said that to complete any project or accomplish any goal requires a willingness to work as part of a group.

“Nothing happens by yourself; you have to have the people skills to work with all board members,” Wyatt said. “This means listening to their concerns and supporting worthwhile initiatives in their districts, and clearly stating your district needs to them. I will continue to work with other elected leaders, citizen groups and staff members to move projects through the process and to completion.”

Wyatt holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and is a managing partner with the Progressive Energy Group. He is the manager of the Dolan and Murphy team in the Aurora Boys Baseball 8-10-year-old league, is a member of the Sugar Grove Bicycle Trail Committee and the Aurora Primary Care Consortirum. He assists many charities through his local TV program, “Bill Wyatt’s Sports Challenge,” which has been on the air since 1991.

Melisa Taylor
After years of volunteering in the community in a number of different ways, Melisa Taylor joined the Sugar Grove Village Board in 2007.

Now, she said she is looking to continue to serve the public at the county level.

“In the short time I have been a village trustee, I have learned that accountability is necessary in government to be as efficient as possible,” Taylor said. “I would like to take this to the county showing good service, teamwork and accountability.”

Taylor said that a key priority is to focus on the county’s fiscal challenges, and that she will not allow politics to influence her budget decisions. When approaching the budget, Taylor said the board should look at each spending item through a need-versus-want prism, and not implement a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I will brainstorm to cut all unnecessary spending,” Taylor said. “It is time to live within our budget. Across-the-board budget cuts are not the most efficient way to save money. I believe there is a difference between paying a lobbyist versus paying a police officer.”

Taylor will also focus on helping acquiring additional open space by using state and federal grants, saying that doing this will increase the quality of life for Kane County residents while lowering taxes. In addition, she said she would work with the various municipalities in Kane County to improve the relationships between the communities, as well as between those communities and the county.

“I will put the effort to work with the entire board in order to be efficient as a board member, continue quality service and lower taxes,” she said.

“It is important to work closely with others to get Kane County back on track and live up to the expectations the Kane County voters expect and deserve,” Taylor said.

Her community service background includes founding the Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove, delivering Salvation Army Meals-On-Wheels, volunteering for the Fox Valley Girl Scout Council, working with the Sugar Grove American Legion to implement a supply collection program for soldiers serving in Iraq, participating in the Avon Breat Cancer Walk, and creating the Fill Your Doorstep Collection, which gathers outerwear, food and pet supplies for local needy families.

Morelli, Busch run to replace Grometer on bench

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republicans are running against each other to fill the R. Peter Grometer vacancy in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

Fred M. Morelli
Fred M. Morelli brings more than 43 years of legal experience into the campaign. Having served as Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Assistant Public Defender in Kane County, Head Public Defender in Kane County, an Associate Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit from 1976-81, with a private practice since 1981, he said it is his breadth of experience that makes him the right person for the job.

“I have the most experience, the best work ethic, the best temperament, and have proven my abilities as judge,” he said.

He said that a key issue facing the court system is the case backlog, overcrowded courtrooms and jails, and a lack of funding to address these issues. After being appointed as an associate judge in the 16th Circuit to fill a vacancy in 1976, he said he reduced the trial backlog from nine months to just one day, while receiving a 98-percent approval rating from the bar association. He said he plans to merge his experience with the same focus on efficiency he used during those years to improve the current backlog.

“Solutions available include a willingness to work harder and more efficiently, and come up with new solutions that do not compromise the rights of litigants or further burden taxpayers,” Morelli said. “In short, a judge has to be willing to put in longer hours and hold attorneys and litigants accountable for being unprepared, as well as being prepared themselves.”

“I am seeking your vote for judge because I feel I have the most to offer,” Morelli said. “For 43 years, I have represented difficult clients with difficult problems. I have an ability to get along and an ability to find solutions.”

Kevin T. Busch
Kevin T. Busch is a current Associate Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit, having served in the post since 2008. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant State’s Attorney, the Chief of the Criminal Division in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, and was in private practice beginning in 1992.

Busch said that with nearly half of the 16th Circuit positions to be filled with new judges, it is vital that only the finest men and women fill the judicial positions.

“A Circuit Judge must be intelligent, responsible, honest and above reproach,” Busch said. “I believe that I am the only candidate to fill this vacancy that possesses all of these qualities. I also believe that it is for these reasons that I am endorsed over my opponent by (Judge) Grometer himself.”

In the most recent Illinois State Bar Association Judicial poll, over 91 percent of those polled believed Busch possessed the highest level of integrity and courtroom management skills; that is evidence, Busch said, that he has already demonstrated what is needed in the judgeship.

When Busch first began in his role as Associate Judge in the 16th Circuit, his first change was to open his court a half-hour early. This was done to “help litigants and their lawyers take care of business more easily, lessening delay and waiting time,” Busch said.

Most of all, Busch said, he intends to pool together his range of experience throughout his career to serve him in his role, should be be elected.

“(I will) approach each case with the same dedication to justice and fairness that I expected from judges as a prosecutor and as a private attorney,” Busch said.

Pair of Republicans race to face Perez

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republican candidates for Kane County Sheriff, L. Robert Russell and Donald E. Kramer, will face each other on Feb. 2 for the chance to run against Democratic incumbent Pat Perez, who is running unopposed in the primary election.

L. Robert Russell
L. Robert Russell said that he has the experience, ideas and leadership skills necessary to bring the Kane County Sheriff’s Department into the future.

“What the Kane County Sheriff’s Office needs most is a vision for the future and a leader who can implement that vision,” Russell said.

He has worked for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office since 1993, having worked in all three bureaus of the department—corrections, court security and patrol. He currently serves as the supervising liaison for the Wayne, Addison and Bloomingdale townships. He was also selected by DuPage’s sheriff to serve in search-and-rescue efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, earning a commendation for his service there.

He said it is this wide-ranging experience in a different—but local—department that has given him the skills and knowledge to help resolve what he says are reoccurring problems within the department.

“I’m a Kane County taxpayer, and I’m aware of the reoccurring problems at the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “I see solutions out there that aren’t being brought to the table. I believe the office needs a fresh perspective to deal with these immediate problems.”

One of those immediate problems Russell said he wants to address is the personnel make-up of the department. The current structure is too inefficient and harms the department’s ability to deliver the type of service required, Russell said.

“I would implement a plan to improve the efficiency and quality of service,” Russell said. “It has been revealed on several occasions that the current administration is top-heavy.”

By using the term “top heavy,” Russell said that there are too many administrators sitting in offices, and not enough officers in the field. This has a negative impact on both the budget and on the department’s ability to respond to needs throughout the county.

“We need to get the boots off of the carpet and back on the streets,” Russell said. “There needs to be a reallocation of the current personnel.”

That shift in personnel focus to make the department less top heavy will help at the budgetary level as well, Russell said. With the economic downturn affecting everyone and every governmental department, this will be a significant part of the focus of the sheriff in the coming years, he said.

“Like everybody else, my family has learned to live within our means during these tough economic times,” Russell said. “The Sheriff’s Office needs to do the same. The next administration needs to respond appropriately to the economic downturn, by staying within the adjusted budget and bringing proactive solutions to the table.”

Russell said that not only will he focus on cutting expenses and creating efficiencies to eliminate wasteful spending, he will also look at ways for the department to obtain more revenue.

“After looking at the expenses … the first thing that I would do is hire a full-time grant writer,” he said.

Currently, the administration employes a part-time grant writer, who has obtained several grants to ease budget pressures.

“How many more could have been obtained with a full-time grant writer?” Russell asked. “A full-time grant writer will pay for him or herself many times over through increased grant awards, and is a wise use of Sheriff’s Office funds.”

The effort to revise the department’s personnel structure and address its fiscal challenges must coincide with an improvement in the department’s service and response times, he said.

“People in western townships have complained of long response times—up to 30 minutes,” Russell said. “That’s unacceptable. We can improve service by partnering with the townships.”

The range of goals Russell laid out will be achieved, he said, because of his leadership abilities.

“I have led, and will continue to lead, by working problems and finding solutions,” Russell said.

Donald E. Kramer
As a more than 30-year employee of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, from June 1979 to November 2009, Donald E. Kramer said he has the experience and already-existing knowledge of the department to step in and make an impact from day one.

“I believe the Sheriff’s Office needs leadership that will provide more effective service to the citizens of Kane County,” Kramer said. “I believe that I have the skill level and experience to manage the personnel and address the core needs of the citizens while maintaining a balanced budget.”

Kramer joined the department in 1979, and was promoted to sergeant in 1986 and lieutenant in 2002. During those years, he supervised a jail shift for four years, headed a traffic division for eight years, and managed the computer network, department training, and community policy for central Kane County and civil enforcement.

It is that level of management experience and inside knowledge of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office that separates him from his Republican opponent in the primary, or the current sheriff and democratic candidate, Kramer said.

“My Republican challenger has considerably less management experience and is not familiar with the operations of the Sheriff’s Office,” Kramer said. “I also have more education and lifetime experience than the current sheriff and believe his will make a difference as the leader of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.”

Kramer said he hopes to use that experience and knowledge to restructure the department in a more efficient and effective manner, ranging from individual officers up through the management ranks. He also intends to work other law enforcement agencies to share resources and combine efforts in combating drugs and gangs, and improve traffic safety.

“I plan on building a management team that will determine the needs of the community and work with supervisors to implement successful strategies,” he said. “Upper-level management will also be more responsible for collaborating with other agencies and managing finances to achieve these goals within financial constraints.”

The biggest challenge facing whomever is elected to the position, Kramer said, is to provide for the public safety while navigating through a budget crunch that translates to a reduction in finances and personnel.

“Because there has been a significant cut in the budget and personnel, it will be necessary as sheriff to redeploy resources to address core issues that affect the greatest number of citizens,” Kramer said. “To accomplish this, I will reduce the number of specialized units and reassign personnel in order to provide the greatest amount of service to attack neighborhood crime and traffic violations.”

With all units of government facing tightening budgets, Kramer said that it will be vital for all elected officials to work together more effectively in order to provide the highest level of service while remaining fiscally responsible.

“That can only be accomplished with mutual cooperation and understanding,” he said.

All of the management, restructuring and financial decisions must be made with the public in mind, he said. Given that, he said his ultimate focus will be on maintaining—and improving—the level of service provided by the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

“I am committed to listening to the needs of citizens and addressing the issues that bring the greatest return to the safety and security of the public,” he said.

Pat Perez
Pat Perez has served as Kane County Sheriff since 2006, having previously worked for the department since 1992. He served the department as a supervisor from 1996 to 2006, and said that his time both in the department and as sheriff have given him the insight necessary to continue to improve the department.

“I have seen the growth of Kane County and strive constantly to provide the best service possible for those we serve,” Perez said. “I know from experience the quality-of-life issues that range from domestic violence to burglary to drug and gang enforcement to foreclosures and evictions.”

Perez said the department has applied a proactive application to law enforcement, rather than just react to crimes as they occur. He pointed to the 2008 move from the Geneva facility to the St. Charles facility—in which 511 inmates were transferred without incident and without an interruption of service to the public—as an example of the impacts of a proactive approach.

“We have embarked on a new era and I am honored to have been sheriff during this important time in our agency’s history,” Perez said.

Perez said that included in that new era are accomplishments such as reducing unnecessary spending, redeployment of personnel to increase the department’s efficiency, and expanding its outreach to the communities.

“I have kept the promises I made when I ran for sheriff in 2006, and will continue to lead our agency in a positive direction,” he said.

Looking forward, Perez said his most immediate priority is to navigate through the difficult economic climate facing his department in 2010. To that end, he said all decisions will be made without negatively impacting the department’s patrol functions, because that aspect of the department consists of the true first responders who have the largest impact on the citizens.

“The economic downturn has inspired us to do the very best we can with the resources we have,” Perez said.

One way to increase the resources available to the department is to focus on obtaining grant funding. He said the department has obtained more than $890,000 during the past three years, which translated to vehicle purchases, training and personnel that might otherwise not be available.

Additionally, Perez plans to continue to foster partnerships with Kane County citizens.

“Our expansion of Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch, TRIAD Senior Services, Citizen’s Police Academy and Jail Ministries are but a few of the programs that have drawn us together as a community,” he said.

That sense of community is vital to the continued improvement of the department, Perez said, adding that collaboration has already had an impact.

“Through maintaining relationships with our fellow law enforcement agencies, with elected officials at all levels and with the citizens of Kane County, we have made great strides in crime prevention and have seen a reduction in crime,” he said. “I realize that all our accomplishments are the result of group efforts.”

Smith challenges Kudlicki for seat on KC Board

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republicans, incumbent Bob Kudlicki and challenger Thomas (T.R.) Smith, are running against each other to represent District 25 on the Kane County Board in the primary on Tuesday, Feb. 2. There is no Democrat running for this seat.

Bob Kudlicki
With eight years of experience representing the 25th District on the Kane County Board and two terms as the mayor of Hampshire, Ill., Bob Kudlicki said he has the knowledge and experience necessary to help the county through the current economic difficulties without having to raise taxes.

Kudlicki, of Hampshire, has served on eight different committees during his time on the board, something he said has been very important in helping him understand what needs to be done in the future.

“This has provided me with a great appreciation for, and knowledge of, the many county services and how to put these services towards the best interests of the 25th district,” he said.

In addition to his experience on the board, he has owned his own dry cleaning business for the past 50 years. He also has worked with various community-focused organizations, including his service as treasurer of the Hampshire Boy Scouts, his 50-year membership of the American Legion—including the past eight years as treasurer of American Legion Post 680, member of the Lions Club for the past 50 years, service as Past Commandant of the Marine Corps League—having served two tours in the U.S. Marine Corps—as well as member of the Hampshire Historical Society.

Kudlicki said his focus will be on advancing economic development and job creation within the communities that make up the 25th District. In addition, he plans on putting the 25th District in the forefront of transportation funding, listing a Route 47 interchange, Brier Hill on and off ramps, and an extension of French Road as his primary projects. He said he plans to continue working with his fellow County Board members to maintain the level of services without having to raise taxes.

“We are all concerned by the current economic downturn in our country, the loss of employment and home foreclosures throughout Kane County. This puts a considerable strain on how to provide the necessary and required services to county residents,” Kudlicki said. “When the county has only so much funding to work with, it affects all department budgets. Each of us County Board officials and department heads need to put ourselves in the others’ shoes, realize that we are all in the same situation and are working toward the same goals.”

While he intends to continue working with the other leaders within Kane County government, he will remain focused on building relationships with the residents within his district.

“I will continue my personal commitment to remain accessible to the residents of the 25th District, available for in person or phone contact, respectful and thoughtful consideration of ideas, and do my level best to provide true and forthright answers to any and all questions put to me.”

Thomas (T.R.) Smith
For Thomas (T.R.) Smith, of Maple Park, the race boils down to the economic challenges faced by the board and his desire and ability to help resolve them.

He said that while two of his top three campaign issues relate to the county’s finances, his number-one priority would be his constituents.

“(My number-one campaign issue is) representing my district and addressing the concerns of my constituents,” Smith said. “I will always be accessible for public input and consider the needs of my district and how they will be impacted when voting on county issues.”

Smith is the owner and operator of the Golden Acres Farm, and prior to that, he served as a Senior Criminal Investigations Detective in the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Chief Investigator for the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Smith served in the U.S. Army as a member of a military police unit in the Panama Canal Zone, and after his enlistment, is a Past Commander and Senior Vice Commander for the Hampshire American Legion Post No. 680. His further community service includes being a charter member of the St. Charles Borromeo, Knights of Columbus No. 13034, member of the Burlington Lions Club, member of the Legislative Committee of the Kane County Farm Bureau, and chapter director for the GW Motorcycle Riders Association.

Politically, Smith serves on the Kane County GOP Central Committee, is chairman of the Western Kane County Township GOP, and is a Republican Precinct Committeeman in Burlington Township. He has served on the Burlington Township Park Board since 1995, serving as vice president and president, and served on the Burlington Drainage Ditch Board since 1985, including service as the secretary and treasurer.

He said he plans to use the knowledge gained from his variety of experience and community service to help resolve the economic difficulties faced at the County Board level. He said the board needs to balance its budget and prioritize its spending, which includes downsizing the layers of upper management and addressing the salary structure of those management positions.

In addition, Smith said the County Board should “eliminate any future spending projects, other than additional police coverage for the unincorporated areas, until property taxes are reduced, and revenue streams are stabilized at the same numbers prior to the economic downturn,” he said.

2 Dems, 5 Republicans vie for 16th Circuit vacancy

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

by Ryan Wells
Seven candidates in total are running for the Kane County vacancy in the 16th Judicial Circuit—five Republican candidates (Thomas Patrick Rice, Robert L. Janes, D.J. Tegeler, Leonard J. Wojtecki and David R. Akemann) will run to see who will face the winner of a two-person Democratic race (John G. Dalton and Michael C. Funkey).

Thomas Patrick Rice
Beginning his career as a history and social sciences teacher in the St. Anne School District, Thomas Patrick Rice, of Batavia, went on to have a 25-year law career. Throughout the progression of his career, he has assumed various leadership positions, and feels that his leadership and professional experience serve him well in this race.

“I have the credentials and experience to be a circuit court judge,” he said. “I am not a politician, and frankly, believe in merit selection of judges rather than public election.”

To Rice, those qualifications mean someone who possesses extensive trial experience, pertinent life experiences and common sense.

“If you look at my resume, I believe you will see that my peers have elected me to leadership positions in every aspect of my professional life,” Rice said.

In addition, Rice said his credentials led the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint him to a Select Committee on Ethics and Civility. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law for trial advocacy at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. While serving in these roles, Rice continues to operate his private law firm.

With the recent growth experienced in Kane County, Rice said that the first priority is to determine a way to address the increasing need of the court system.

“Litigation will increase, especially that involving crime and domestic issues,” Rice said. “We have to address the expansion of the court-house along with the security issues related thereto.”

Rice said that regardless of the increase in litigation, the court must remain vigilant in ensuring that ethics are never breached.

“I think the court must be aware at all times as to the ethics and professionalism of both bench and bar, and their relationships to the public,” he said.

Robert L. Janes
Robert L. Janes, of St. Charles, has spent more than 13 years as an Associate Kane County Judge, and currently is a judge in the Kane County Family Court. That, combined with his 22 years as an attorney, is why Janes said he has the most experience of any candidate in the race.

“There is virtually no type of case that I have not handled,” Janes said.

While serving on the bench, he initiated a variety of changes and programs that saved taxpayers time and money.

“This is especially important in tough economic times,” he said.

He developed video bond calls in Kane County and Elgin courts, which sped up court time and reduced travel and manpower expenses. He also transformed the traffic and misdemeanor court calls in Kane and Kendall counties, which eliminated unnecessary waiting times for citizens to have their cases tried.

“This saved the county money by eliminating overtime for police officers waiting in court to see if they would be have to testify,” Janes said. “It also enabled the officers to be on the street rather than waiting around in court.”

He said that if elected, he plans to continue to focus on being a fair and respectful judge while implementing policies and procedures that will help streamline the legal process and ultimately save the taxpayers money.

“If I am elected circuit judge I will be in a stronger position to push for more changes that will be taxpayer friendly, because I will have a voting voice in the administration of the court system that associate judges do not have,” Janes said.

D.J. Tegeler
D.J. Tegeler, of Geneva, has been in the legal profession since 1990, and started his own practice in 1997.

He said his focus is what all people running for Circuit Judge should focus on first—the fair application of the law in relation to all people who appear before the court.

“The Court should not show favoritism toward the state or a defendant, the Court should not show favoritism toward the big corporation versus the little guy, the husband versus the wife in a divorce setting,” he said.

He said that he intends to work with the county, residents, and local agencies iin developing a unified campus for all judicial activities.

“For far too long, Kane County has been segregated between the Couny Clerk’s Office, the Courthouse, and until recently the Jail, and other necessary agencies,” he said.

He said this leads to an inefficient system that wastes too much time. Citizens wait in line for their cases to be heard in the courhouse and then drive to pay their fines at a clerk’s office. Also, bringing misdemeanor courtrooms to one location, instead of being spread to Elgin, Aurora, and Kane County, would save time and money as well, he added.

Beyond the activities within the courtroom and the move toward efficiency, Tegeler said he believes his priority should be educating the public.

“It is my firm belief that educating the citizens of the 16th Judicial Circuit as to the ramifications of their actions and helping them live better lives is imperative for all Circuit Judges,” Tegeler said.

He has already helped accomplish this by assisting in the creation of the Drug Court Rules and Regulations for the 16th Judicial Circuit. He also helped create the 2nd Chance/Diversion Program for non-violent offenders in Felony Court, as well as assist in establishing the Mental Health Court.

“I believe these types of speciality courts, which help people not commit crimes, are important and necessary in this community,” Tegeler said.

Leonard J. Wojtecki
Leonard J. Wojtecki, of Cary, has served as a judge since 2000. Prior to that, he served as a Cook County prosecutor, a former Kendall County public defender and as a partner in a private law firm.

He said that, in his 10th year as a judge, he has presided over jury trials in all three counties of the 16th Judicial Circuit. He has heard a wide range of cases, both criminal and civil, including serious felonies such as murder and home invasion, as well as large-scale civil lawsuits. For four years, he served as the sole presiding civil judge in Kendall County, where he said he heard virtually all of the civil cases in that county, ranging from probate, child support and divorce, as well as personal injury cases and business litigation.

In addition to hearing a wide range of cases, he has also helped draft local criminal court rules in Kane County.

“I think my experience matters,” Wojtecki said.

He said he will rely on his experience to perform a critical function of a Circuit Judge, that of participating in the process of selecting and appointing associate judges.

“This is important because judges should be competent and have a wide breath of exper-ience in the practice of law,” he said. “They should also have integrity and the right demeanor. As a lawyer and judge for the past 34 years, I have seen lawyers from both sides of the bench, and I believe I can contribute in a meaningful way in the decision of who is best qualified to be an associate judge. “

Circuit Judges are also involved in a wide variety of matters, including setting local court rules and judicial policy as well as organizing and administering the courts in their judicial circuit.

“I have participated in this process to a limited extent, and I think my experience and contribution would be beneficial to the judiciary,” Wojtecki said.

David R. Akemann
David R. Akemann, a lifelong resident of Kane County currently residing in Elgin, was elected twice to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, in 1992 and 1996. His legal career began in 1977, and then worked his way up in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office until his election.

He has also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Division, Special Prosecutions Bureau, where he served throughout the state as a special prosecutor and managed complex investigations, he said. He was appointed by the Illinois Attorney General as the Executive Director: Illinois Gang Crime Prevention Center, where he managed a statewide multi-disciplinary team to support the Attorney General’s efforts at preventing and prosecuting gang crimes.

Currently, he runs his private law firm in Elgin.

With his experience in both the private sector and as an elected official, Akemann said he has the unique background that will serve him best in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

“I want to be of service to the public and know this is how I can do it best,” Akemann said. “People want honest, hard-working, common sense judges who will be tough on violent, convicted criminals but compassionate when circumstances dictate. People want judges with broad experience to recognize that in cases of habitual violent offenders, punishment needs to be tough.”

He said that judges must also maintain judicial independence and remain free from social and political pressure.

“The burden of that falls to each judge to avoid associations which create a perception that impartiality is not possible,” he said. “‘Equal Protection’ is not just an empty phrase. I am the candidate that can provide these qualities for the people of Kane County.”

John G. Dalton
John G. Dalton, of Elgin, has been in the legal profession for the past 22 years.
“I’ve worked for prestigious law firms, been a Senior Vice President of a global bank and owned my own practice,” he said.

He said he is running for Circuit Judge because the people of Kane County deserve to have judges they can rely on to uphold the integrity of the law.

“I will work hard to protect the rights of Kane County citizens, remaining a fair and independent voice for the people,” Dalton said. “I will use my background as an arbitrator for 10 years and trial attorney for 22 years, to work to preserve a safe and just community.”

Dalton said that serving as judge is an opportunity to give back to the people of Kane County, and he would focus on putting in place procedures that would save the public time and money. One of his proposals would be to implement an online system that would allow residents the opportunity to pay traffic fines, seek court supervision or request a trial date without having to appear in court.

“The result would be fewer minor, routine cases heard in a courtroom, saving money for taxpayers,” Dalton said. “We’d save money on judges, clerks, bailiffs, courtrooms, etc., and the public wouldn’t have to take time away from work to spend the day in court.”

With years of community service in addition to his legal work, Dalton said his focus would continue to be on the people within the 16th Judicial Circuit. He is a former board member of the Campanelli YMCA, co-founder and former chariman of Elgin’s Speak Out Against Prejudice group, former Commissioner of the Elgin Heritage Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee, former Board Chairman and Finance Committee Chairman of Famous Door Theatre Company, member of School District U-46 Handbook Committee, as well as the Elgin Hispanic Network and Elgin Chamber of Commerce.

“I have deep roots in the community, a long record of service and I am well prepared for the challenges the bench would present, should I be fortunate enough to earn the votes of the people of Kane County and be elected judge.

Michael C. Funkey
Michael C. Funkey, a former Elburn resident and current resident of Aurora, would bring a 39-year legal career to the bench. He said that even though his career has spanned nearly four decades, he continues to learn.

Each and everyday has provided me with a new challenge and a new learning experience,” Funkey said. “As I think about my future, I know I want to continue working in the legal profession. When the seat for Resident Circuit Court Judge in Kane County became available, I realized that I want to take the experience I’ve gained as a lawyer and serve the legal profession and the people of Kane County from the bench.”

He has also served the public in a variety of ways that are beyond his legal profession. He is involved in the St. Peter, Holy Angels and St. Gall parishes, is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and serves as the attorney to the board of the Aurora Boys Baseball organization. He is also a member of the Marmion Academy Alumni Association, Rosary High School Sports Boosters, Aurora Latin America Club and Phoenix Club, volunteers at the Hessed House, served as chairman of the the Noise Abatement Committee at the Aurora Municipal Airport, and has been the annual Fund Chariman for the Provena Mercy Center for Healthcare Service.

Funkey said he is the only Democrat in the race to receive a “Recommended” rating by the Kane County Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee.

“As a Judge, I will strive to provide the same equal access to justice as I have in my private practice over the past 39 years,” Funkey said. “I have been privileged to represent clients from all walks of life—plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and corporations, husbands and wives, adults and children.”

If elected, Funkey said his top priority would be to honor the oath of the office. He would also focus on interpretting and applying the law, regardless of his personal opinion.

“The people of Kane County deserve fair and impartial rulings made in a timely manner, and I will run my courtroom as efficiently as possible and work hard to resolve disputes quickly yet properly,” Funkey said.

2 Republicans vie for Kane Treasurer seat

in Featured/Feb. 2, 2010 by

Incumbent runs on record: challenger calls for efficiency
Incumbent Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert will face challenger Bob Kovanic in the primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 2. No one is running in the Democratic race.

Photo: David J. Ricket (right) and Bob Kovanic (left)

David J. Rickert
Rickert is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently serving as the Kane County Treasurer. Prior to his election as treasurer, Rickert worked as a senior auditor for a Fortune 500 company. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

He said that his decision to continue in his role as Kane County Treasurer was based on his desire to continue to serve.

“I enjoy serving the citizens of Kane County,” he said. “As a Certified Public Accountant with a master’s degree in accounting and extensive computer knowledge, my background enables me to take a hands-on approach to monitoring the investments, the tax process and the financial accounting of the office. If re-elected, I plan to continue to bring my expertise and energy to making the office the best it can be and a model for others to follow.”

Rickert said his track record demonstrates his abilities with managing the county’s funds.

“Under my leadership, a diversified portfolio of government bonds, certificates of deposits, and overnight bank deposits has been developed that consistently out-performs the State of Illinois Money Market Fund (MMF) funds,” he said. “The bond fund for the county yielded more than $400,000 in additional interest income in its first year of operation.”

In addition to his focus on managing the county funds, he also strives to continually improve the efficiency of his office.

“Some of the most beneficial initiatives that I’ve undertaken to date have been joint efforts to increase efficiency,” Rickert said. “For example, a unified tax system that integrates the tax information from the Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments, and Treasurer’s Offices was implemented. This has reduced expenses and streamlined the process between the three offices.”

The offices also worked together to provide information on all aspects of property taxes that he said would be helpful to citizens, including adding an insert into each tax bill that provides useful information.

“The combination of working together and informing taxpayers about their options has been extremely successful,” Rickert said. “My plan is to keep the information current and increase these initiatives if re-elected.”

He said it was this track record that led to his recognition as the 2009 County Treasurer of the Year (Zone IV) by the Illinois County Treasurer’s Association. If re-elected, he plans to continue to expand on that record of accomplishment, he said.

“One focus for my next term will be continuing to promote teamwork,” he said. “Expanding on efforts to inform the taxpayers will also be a priority. A third main initiative will be to encourage transparency in government.”

The combination of success with managing the county’s funds, improving the office’s efficiency and promoting teamwork will be vital to the future, he said, because the challenging economy will require continued improvement.

“With the economy faltering, a big challenge for the office will be doing more with less,” he said.

In every year Rickert has served as County Treasurer, his office has remained under budget, he said.

“Due to the cost-saving measures implemented during my tenure, the Treasurer’s Office was able to comply with both a mid-year budget reduction and an end-of-year budget reduction that was mandated by the County Board,” he said.

Bob Kovanic
For Kovanic, who has a 25-year career in the private financial sector, the impacts of the difficult economy led to his decision to run for office.

“During the summer of ’09, I read several times in the newspapers and Finance Committee minutes how the incumbent treasurer, Mr. Rickert, fought against his budget being cut by the County Board,” he said. “In my opinion, given the current economic environment, all governmental departments should cut their budgets without an argument. If the taxpayers of the county need to tighten their belts to make ends meet, then so should government.”

He said that, at the time, he realized that if he were in office, he would not need to be told to cut his budget.

“I also thought to myself, ‘Why would any fiscally responsible elected official have to be told to cut their budget?’ I would certainly always do my best to save the taxpayer’s money,” he said.

Kovanic said his real-world experience would help him accomplish that goal of saving taxpayer’s money.”

Kovanic’s experience follows a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Bradley University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School. He served as a CFO and partner at TriMark Marlinn from 1984-2001, a senior financial analysit at Parmalat Bakery in 2002-03, a controller at PLM International from 2003-05, CFO at ReView Video from 2005-08, and is currently the owner of Padgett Business Services.

“I have 25 years of proven real world business experience working for profitable companies and making them better,” Kovanic said. “I am always searching for ways to improve operating efficiencies, not only with my own ideas but tapping into the true experts, the employees actually performing the daily tasks.”

Kovanic said he would improve the office by upgrading the Treasurer Office’s use of the Internet, improving office efficiencies and investing taxpayer dollars inside the county.

“(I would) use Cook County’s website as an example of what Kane County should have,” Kovanic said. “The Kane County Treasurer’s website does not make it easy to find out where to pay your taxes or how to use the Internet; this must be updated.”

He said that while he does not have a working knowledge of the procedures currently used within the Treasurer’s Office, he feels confident he can improve its efficiency.

“If the website is so outdated, I can assume the procedures are as well,” he said. “This is where my years of experience improving office efficiency can be very beneficial to the Treasurer’s Office.”

Kovanic said if elected, he would end the practice of investing taxpayer dollars outside of Kane County.

“I believe all taxpayers funds should be wisely invested within Kane County,” he said.

The biggest challenge facing the office is collecting property taxes, Kovanic said. To overcome that challenge, Kovanic suggests modernizing the website so that taxpayers can research where and how to pay their property taxes.

“Let’s make it easy for taxpayers to pay their tax online either through EFT, credit card, debit card, etc.,” he said.

If elected, Kovanic said he will not allow politics to influence his decision making.

“Honesty and working hard for the people of Kane County is the quickest and easiest way to gain the public’s trust,” Kovanic said. “I will work for the people of the county, doing what is best for them and not make decisions based upon was it best for the next election”.

SG Library asks for increase to operate new building

in Feb. 2, 2010 by

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Public Library will go to voters for a tenth time to ask for an increase in the operating-tax rate to pay for the operation of the new building, which opened in August 2009.

Although voters approved the increase in funds in 2004 to build the building, they rejected a referendum nine times to increase funding for operating the new building. Library director Beverly Holmes Hughes said that the money from the building fund cannot be used for library operations.

The referendum, which will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Feb. 2, will ask library district residents for an increase in the tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. For a homeowner of a $300,000 home, this would mean an additional $105 per year in property taxes.

When the operating expenses referendum did not pass in November 2006, library hours were cut from 58 to 47 hours per week. Some of the children’s programs and all adult programs were suspended, due to staffing, scheduling and budget restraints.

According to a Kane County tax computation report from March 2009, the Sugar Grove Public Library’s operating rate is one of the lowest in Kane County. At 9 cents per $100 of assessed equalized value of a home, it is only higher than one library, Maple Park, which has a rate of 5 cents per $100. By contrast, Elburn’s Town and Country Publi Library’s operating rate is 21 cents per $100. (See below for more complete list)

When the new building opened, the library continued to offer programs for young children. Meeting rooms were available to the public in the new building, as well as the Book Nook Cafe with food and drinks from the owners of the Catering Gourmets. Additional computers, a gift from the Jerry Rich family, were made available for children and adults, as well as computer classes.

The lack of adequate staffing levels to run the new building led to the decision to cut hours back further, to 41 per week. The library was closed on Sundays and Mondays, as well as Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Board President Art Morrical said that if the referendum passes, the number of hours the library is open will be increased by at least 20 hours, the collection of books and magazines will be expanded, and more programs will be offered.

According to Library Board member Sabrina Malano, the increase in the hours would add a couple more evenings that the library would be open for students, as well as more weekend hours. The additional programs would target older children, such as middle-school students and teens, as well as adults.

“If the referendum passes this time, patrons will see the value of their ‘yes’ vote right away,” Malano said.

Malano said that, because of the timing of this election, the money from the increase in the rate would become available to the library in July of this year.

“They definitely would see an impact quickly,” she said.

Another failed referndum would mean that the library’s offerings remain the same.

“There’s so much more we want to offer,” Malano said. “But it’s really up to them (the district residents).”

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