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March 18, 2014

Kostelny to not proceed with re-count procedure

in March 18, 2014 by

KANE COUNTY—John Countryman, the attorney for Judge Marmarie Kostelny, recently announced that Kostelny has decided not to proceed further with the re-count procedures in a race to win a Kane County circuit judgeship in sub-circuit No. 3.

Countryman said that Illinois law provides for a discovery recount of 25 percent of the precincts in an election where a candidate for one office comes within 95 percent of the vote of the other candidate.

Kostelny had requested that discovery recount, which by the law cannot change the certified results.

The Illinois State Board of Elections on April 18 certified the results showing Donald (DJ) Tegeler the winner by seven votes. The discovery recount showed slight changes in outcomes and questionable ballots in a few precincts. However, Countryman went on to say that in order to proceed to a full and complete recount, “We need to allege that we have sufficient evidence that the outcome would be changed by a complete recount. After a careful review of all of the factors, even though we found differences in the counts that were reported both for and against Judge Kostelny we have determined that those differences are not sufficient to likely warrant a full recount.”

In addition to other considerations, Judge Kostelny asked Countryman not to proceed any further in order to avoid taxpayer expense in conducting a full recount of all the votes.

“In my experience, there will always be some minor discrepancies and oversights in the process of conducting elections,” said Countryman, a former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections. “Most elections are not this close, so this discovery review does not occur. However, generally good and dedicated people are working as election judges, and we believe that they are basically honest. Even though there might have been oversights on their part, we do not believe here they would change the ultimate result.

“Judge Kostelny made clear to me that she wishes to extend her appreciation to her supporters and the voters for both candidates for their support and patience during this process.”

Election: U.S. Senate

in March 18, 2014 by

Two candidates on March 18 will battle it out for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

Jim_+oberweisJim Oberweis
Sugar Grove native Jim Oberweis defines the position of U.S. Senator as one with equally important roles: protecting the security of our nation, and helping to create an economic environment under which entrepreneurs and business people will risk their time, energy and capital to start and grow businesses, creating jobs and opportunity for everyone.

“We must get our economy moving forward again at a more rapid pace to help boost our middle class,” he said. “I think the protection of our nation both militarily and financially is something every person understands, but when it comes to our senator looking out for Illinois residents, I believe Illinois has been shortchanged in the leadership it has sent to the Senate because our Democrat senators tend to lean more toward the goals of special interest lobbying groups instead of the needs of our workers and families in need. That will change if I am elected.”

Oberweis believes Illinois needs a senator with experience in finance and business. While he grew up in the family milk and ice cream business, he had an older brother who went into the family business, so Jim chose to seek a different path. He started out as a math and science teacher, but soon moved into the financial services business as a stockbroker. He created a financial newsletter, the Oberweis Report, to document his track record as a stock picker. Oberweis then started his own stockbrokerage firm, money management company and investment mutual fund family.

Today, Oberweis Asset Management manages over $1 billion in pension assets. His son, Jim, manages that business today.

“I believe this is the kind of background that will help Illinois and our nation develop policies, which will help create jobs,” Oberweis said.

Oberweis said that given the financial crisis the country is in, it’s time for someone with financial and business experience. When his older brother, John, had a stroke and was unable to continue running the family dairy business, Jim purchased it. At the time, Oberweis Dairy had about 50 employees with a single store and home delivery service. Today Oberweis Dairy has 44 ice cream stores that also sell its milk and dairy products, and they are prominently featured in both the traditional chain supermarkets and some of the newer organic markets, such as Whole Foods.

In addition, they’ve just started a second concept called TBJ, or That Burger Joint, and the newest stores are dual concept Oberweis Ice Cream and That Burger Joint locations.

If elected, Oberweis’ highest priority is to get a truly balanced budget for the United States government in conjunction with a long-term sustainable financial model for the government to operate under for a prolonged period of time.

“What is most disturbing to me is that most Federal public officials have a meaningful understanding of world and American history, and they are aware that many successful nations throughout history have faltered or collapsed due to an unsustainable financial system or economic model,” he said. “I believe that unless we drastically change the planning, financing and operation of the Federal government—by both the Congress and the White House—we are seriously jeopardizing the ability of our nation to continue as it has for the last 250 years. For my children and grandchildren and, as of yet, unborn great-grandchildren, I want to help reverse that trend.”

Oberweis said he believes in passing a truly balanced budget for the United States government in conjunction with a long term sustainable financial model for the government to operate under indefinitely. He also wants to help “repair the damage done by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The ACA was so badly conceived that I do not believe it can be fixed,” he said. “The premise that government knows best about what insurance we should be allowed to buy is fatally flawed. Therefore, we have no choice but to work with reasonable Democrats to produce a workable compromise plan that makes sense for all.”

To achieve those goals, Oberweis said he would keep an open mind in the spirit of one of the country’s greatest presidents.

“The greatest Republican to go to Washington from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, looked to people with divergent viewpoints, and even his political rivals, to learn every aspect of an issue and learn why people believed in a specific goal or strategy, regardless of whether he agreed with them or not,” Oberweis said. “I believe (in) keeping an open mind about how to best reach our collective current governmental goals, and will continue to follow the Lincoln process.”

Oberweis said he would work to return Congress to a more “collegial environment,” and believes legislators should vote yes on legislation they believe is good for the country and not on legislation they believe to be bad for the country, regardless of political consequences, as Oberweis has tried to do in the Illinois Senate.

“In addition to helping grow two successful businesses which employ over 1,200 people, I never get tired of being known as the “ice cream man” by the kids I meet,” Oberweis said. “They will roll their eyes if you tell them you’re just a senator, but you should see them light up when I tell them I own 44 ice cream stores.”

doug_truaxDoug Truax
Doug Truax sees the position of U.S. senator as an important representative of the people who seeks to preserve and protect freedoms and make sure that every citizen has the maximum opportunity to achieve the prosperity they desire.

As a former West Point and Army Ranger school grad and Army veteran, Truax has always believed in public service. What specifically motivated him to run for U.S. Senate was the way Democrats made Obamacare “the law of the land on a partisan procedural maneuver” on Christmas Eve, 2009.

“At that moment I decided I couldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer complaining about Washington,” Truax said. “I needed to get into the ring and fight for the America I believe in—the one that our Founding Fathers and so many others risked or gave their lives to create and preserve.”

Truax said he is running for U.S. Senate because he believes the current leadership in Washington and Illinois “has let us all down.”

And while it “purports to help the poor and the middle class,” Truax believes that the policies undertaken have done the opposite.

“We are stuck in an endless loop of ideological failure when it comes to our economy, education, our transportation system and energy,” he said. “Our unprecedented debt and record spending, combined with runaway regulation is strangling our future. Technological advancements in medicine, transportation and energy give us reason to hope for a brighter future, but we need leaders who are not stuck in a 1960s time warp and believe government is the driver for all goodness in our country.

“We need leaders who believe as the Founding Fathers did that the true greatness of America is found in its people and their resourcefulness and that government, while necessary, can be a detriment if allowed to grow too large.”

Truax said he is the best candidate in this race because the incumbent (Dick Durbin) has been in politics nearly his entire adult life and continues to rely on tired ideas and philosophies that have failed repeatedly in the public arena, yet continues to advocate those same failed policies with a curious disconnection to the results.

“He has rarely met a program, a spending plan, a tax or a regulation that he hasn’t embraced and enthusiastically supported,” Truax said. “My primary opponent (Jim Oberweis) has not been in public office as long, but not for lack of trying—he has lost five major elections in the last 11 years, and has “reinvented” himself several times along the way.

“I have little in common with either one of them. I have a military background, have never held public office and believe the ways of Washington and Springfield must change dramatically if we are to get our state and country back on track.”

Truax said he believes in results and has “little use for flowery words and good intentions that produce bad results for people.”

“We must break the cycle of sound bite politics that drive our public policy toward policies that have surface appeal but produce the opposite results,” he said. “We must break with the past, and my two opponents are less likely to see that dynamic and are more likely to favor policy prescriptions that don’t work well for Illinois families. I will be open-minded toward new thinking and new policies that break free from the old left-right paradigms.”

Should he be elected, Truax’s priorities will include reduction of the size and scope of government and reduction of the regulatory burden on all Americans; a repeal and replacement of Obamacare with market-driven health care reform that benefits all Americans; and achieving job growth by simplifying and lowering tax rates and eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens on small business.

“The people of Illinois are tired of their leaders failing them,”Truax said. “Instead of following failed ideologies and blindly following party leaders, I pledge to always protect taxpayers, follow the Constitution, keep our nation strong and strive for results instead of hollow rhetoric. I believe my military background, my private sector experience and my passion to improve the lives of individuals and families makes me suited to be U.S. Senator. We have enough career politicians in Washington and they are making our lives worse.”

Election: Kane County Clerk

in March 18, 2014 by

Two candidates on March 18 will vie to become the Republican nominee for Kane County Clerk.

Jack_CunninghamJack Cunningham
Jack Cunningham has served three terms as Kane County Clerk since 2002. He considers himself as a public servant at heart and would like the opportunity to finish the job he began 12 years ago.

“While we’ve certainly brought the Clerk’s Office into the 21st century, there’s more to be done,” he said.

According to Cunningham, the Clerk’s Office motto of “You’re always welcome at the County Clerk’s Office” can’t just be words on paper. And whether it’s a first-time candidate, someone seeking a marriage license or death certificate, or a citizen redeeming his property taxes, they must be welcomed with competence, faithfully served and treated with respect.

“Since all of Kane County eventually comes through the Clerk’s Office, this is very important to me,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham believes experience is why he’s the best candidate for the County Clerk position. In addition to 20 years as a public administrator, he has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in business and public service, two jurisprudence doctorates, and he’s served as chairman of the board for three banks.

“My law background has been instrumental in interpreting and implementing the various state statutes and mandates that regularly impact our office,” he said. “Serving on the bank board taught me about finance and the importance of teamwork. And as you might imagine, I’ve learned quite a bit serving in the clerk’s capacity for 11 years.”

According to Cunningham, to be truly effective, the county clerk has to work with people of all political persuasions, and he’s proud to say he’s done exactly that for the last decade.

“In fact, it was this very experience that helped me broker the recent budget accord between the county chairman and coroner,” he said. “A good county clerk uses his or her experience to make the office run smoothly and bring people together.”

Should he win re-election, Cunningham’s priorities will include satellite offices in Aurora and Elgin, Ill., expansion of early voting and continuing to maintain the lowest per capita clerk’s budget in the collar counties.

“Should the Kane County Clerk assume the Aurora Election Commission’s responsibilities, it would be in the best interest of our constituents to establish (satellite) offices in Illinois’ second and eighth largest cities,” he said.

In terms of early voting expansion, Cunningham said the Clerk’s Office is looking at increasing the number of sites, the available hours at those sites, and strategic use of its mobile voting unit, the “Votemobile.” And he’d maintain a fiscally sound budget through the “prudent use of technological innovation, applying for grants whenever possible and adding new efficiencies to the election process.

“We will continue to keep the Kane County taxpayers’ best fiscal interest in mind,” he said.

Cunningham also noted that the Clerk’s Office has brought in $3.7 million in HAVA (Help America Vote Act) and other grants to help modernize voting equipment at no cost to Kane County taxpayers since 2002. And all birth, death and marriage records from 1836 to present have been scanned and will soon be available for genealogical research.

Mark_DavoustMark Davoust
Mark Davoust believes the county clerk position serves three major functions: maintenance of vital records, preparing tax extensions and running elections.

“In addition to performing these functions, I believe that the clerk should take a pro-active role in educating voters and working to include more voters in the electoral process,” he said.

A graduate of Naperville North High School, Davoust is the vice president of Brasel Products, Inc., where he began working in 1981. He’s also served as a commissioner for Kane County Board District 14 and the Kane County Forest Preserve since 2004. He holds an associates degree from Waubonsee Community College, and completed additional coursework at Western Illinois University and Aurora University.

In terms of community involvement, Davoust is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business and Illinois Manufacturer’s Association. He’s a former coach of youth softball and soccer, a former director of the Illinois Bar Foundation and a former member of the Downtown Batavia Task Force.

Davoust said he seeks the Republican nomination for Kane County clerk because he “witnessed a downward spiral in the number of participating voters and recognized a need within the Clerk’s Office to reach out to voters.”

“With voter turnout hovering at around 10 percent, we can and should do a better job of educating and engaging voters,” he said. “We need to remind voters of the importance of local government.”

Davoust considers himself the best candidate for the county clerk position because he will “bring a new energy and a fresh perspective to the office.”

“I bring a record of accomplishment from my time on the Kane County Board and from running a successful small business, in Kane County, to the table,” he said. “I will be a better steward of taxpayer’s dollars and work to save taxpayers money.”

If elected, Davoust’s top three priorities as county clerk will include working to combine the offices of clerk and recorder to increase efficiencies and save taxpayers money; working to identify effective polling places and secure long-term commitments to those locations; and developing a consistent message to be delivered to the schools and communities, year-round, to educate and encourage voter participation.

To achieve those goals, Davoust said he plans to work closely with his current colleagues on the Kane County Board, taking advantage of their local knowledge of each of their respective districts.

“I plan to approach the Regional Office of Education and school superintendants throughout the county in order to begin a program designed to raise awareness of the importance of local government and thereby increase voter participation,” Davoust said.

‘Show You Care Kane’ public question

in March 18, 2014 by

KANE COUNTY—The Show You Care Kane Committee will seek support for residents with mental and physical disabilities with a referendum item on the March 18 ballot.

Once people with disabilities reach the age of 22, they are no longer eligible for school programs and support. The Show You Care Kane initiative is intended to support young adults with mental or physical disabilities such as down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

With the funding, adults with mental and physical disabilities would receive training they need for a job. Adults that are capable would be able to get a job and receive a pay check.

“Many of the young adults with disabilities do not care about the size of the pay check they receive. They feel a sense of accomplishment because they earned it,” said Gil Fonger, president and CEO of Marklund, a day school for children with special needs, and a Life Skills training academy for teens diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.

The young adults would also have a regular schedule that would have them out of the house from 9 a.m. to at least 3 p.m. They would also enjoy various activities and events that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Should the referendum pass, the Kane County board will appoint three members for a board called the Care and Treatment of Persons with Disabilities, which would meet this July to determine the levy rate and how the funds are distributed. It is estimated that a home in Kane County with a value of $182,000 would pay around $55 per year, or $1 per week.

SG Library seeks limiting rate increase

in March 18, 2014/Sugar Grove by

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Public Library hopes to increase its limiting rate an additional $2.14 per month, or $25 more per year (for a home valued at $100,000), through a referendum on the March 18 ballot. The library needs additional funds to maintain the facility and grounds, support a number of current programs, departments and new programs it would like to add this year. The additional money would help the library afford the purchase of more materials in physical and downloadable formats, as well as the purchase of new computers to replace aging ones.

The library has attempted to raise the limiting rate in the past to no avail. It needs to increase that rate this year to replenish its budget. The additional several dollars per month would also extend the library’s hours.

“If the limiting rate passed during the referendum, we could have the library open every day with consistent hours,” said Library Director Carol Dolin. “Right now, we are open some mornings and some evenings. People would be able to remember our hours easily.”

The library staff is concerned with the library’s current budget.

“Our budget is almost depleted after we threw the party celebrating the library being open for 50 years,” Dolin said. “We would really like to see this referendum pass so that we can also have money to fund our summer programs.”

The library celebrated its 50-year milestone last July, and provided food, beverages and entertainment from the a cappella group Ac Rock.

The Sugar Grove library currently has the lowest limiting rate in the area, with Kaneville, Oswego, Elburn, Aurora and Batavia all possessing higher rates. With a vast amount of services offered, the library staff hopes that the public will vote to pass the referendum to ensure that the library can continue to offer a large variety of programs and materials.

Should the referendum pass, the library staff will survey the public to understand their needs and expectations for library hours, programs and materials.

Energy savings program for unincorporated Kane residents

in March 18, 2014 by

KANE COUNTY—The Department of Environmental & Water Resources is looking to pass an electric aggregation referendum that would reduce the cost of electric bills for residents of unincorporated Kane County. In an effort to create awareness about the referendum, Kane County sent out 16,000 letters to residents of unincorporated Kane County to let them know they have the opportunity to pass a referendum that would save them money on their electric bill.

Ken Anderson Jr., director of the Environmental & Water Resources, would like to see the residents take advantage of this energy savings program.

“The program is totally voluntary, and anyone can opt out at anytime at no cost,” he said. “The goal is to save residents of unincorparted Kane County money on their electric bills.”

This energy savings opportunity was made possible through the last part of the deregulation process that originally only allowed larger customers such as individual commercial and government entities to participate. It’s now open to residential and small businesses.

If the electrical aggregation referendum does pass, ComEd will have to compete with power suppliers from around the midwest in order to continue to supply electricity to small business owners and residential homes of Kane County. There are 5 to 8 other suppliers that will bid for this opportunity, according to Anderson.

The Kane County Board would administer a small administrative fee for the energy savings program, which would cost residents between $.10 to $.50 per month, or per 1,000 kilowatts. On average a home uses around 1,000 kilowatts per month, according to Anderson.

“We are wanting to use the big numbers that we have in unincorporated Kane County to obtain a good price from a provider,” Anderson said.

Election: 50th District Representative

in March 18, 2014 by

Four candidates on March 18 will compete for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination.

juliecosimoJulie Cosimo
Julie Cosimo defines the role of the 50th District Representative as serving the constituents of its district on a full-time basis, in addition to introducing bills and resolutions and serving on committees.

“A representative in any district should be the eyes and ears of the constituents they serve and that of the community,” she said.

Cosimo will challenge for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination on the March 18 General Primary Election ballot. She’s the director of Career Development and a lecturer at Benedictine University, and currently serves as the first vice president of the Kendall County Republican Women, president of the Illinois Small College Placement Association and as a board member for the Kendall County Historical Society.

“In my current position, I speak to employers and job seekers everyday who express their frustrations with the job market and the current state of the economy,” Cosimo said. “I am running (for office) to move Springfield in a better direction by reducing spending, spurring job growth, holding down taxes and improving educational opportunities.”

Cosimo believes she’s the best candidate for 50th District Representative because she has over 17 years of experience in education; extensive experience in workforce development and job creation, including work with thousands of job seekers and employers to create job opportunities; and she founded and ran a successful business, providing her with a strong foundation in understanding the challenges that both employees and employers face.

“I believe that the combination of all of these experiences will be instrumental in moving our state in the right direction. Additionally, over the years, I have served on many committees and boards, of which I believe to be an asset to being able to serve the voters in this district,” Cosimo said.

If elected, Cosimo’s priorities will include creating an environment that will improve the economy and create good-paying jobs; developing a business-friendly environment by removing unnecessary regulations and reducing taxation that prevent businesses from hiring and retaining employees; and putting the Medicaid system under the microscope.

“With the rise in Medicaid fraud, our state needs to strongly look at eligibility requirements and ensure that people that should not be on Medicaid are not receiving it,” Cosimo said. “A system needs to be put in place where there needs to be better oversight for those that receive Medicaid.”

In terms of improving the economy and creating jobs that pay well, Cosimo said it can be done by partnering with businesses and colleges to develop workforce-training programs that will prepare our community residence for a 21st century global workforce.

“We need to get people back to work,” she said.

Cosimo would also join a coalition of “like-minded legislators in Springfield who can work together.”

“There are good elected officials in Springfield that want to make a difference. I will find them, join them and work with them to create a team to provide a better solution for the good of Illinois,” she said. “We will do this by becoming a vocal minority that gets the attention of the media, voters and eventually the legislators in Springfield.”

Cosimo is running for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination because she wants to be influential in restoring Illinois to its natural health while focusing on building a better job market and improving the educational system.

“I have never held an elected office, nor have I ever received or requested any money from taxpayers,” she said.

Beth_GoncherBeth Goncher
When it comes to discussing her qualifications for office, 50th District Representative Republican candidate Beth Gonchar is humble and straightforward.

“There is very little my opponents and I disagree on but I’m the only candidate who can hit the ground running in Springfield,” Goncher said. “This is not the time for on-the-job training. I understand the legislative process. I know the issues and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. More importantly, I understand how bad legislation affects our families and our employers. Springfield is out of gimmicks, and the issues facing our state are urgent.”

A graduate of Rosary High School and Dominican University, Goncher spent numerous years working in human resources before she took a job as Legislative and Constituent Services director for State Representative Tim Schmitz in 2001—a position she holds to this day. She also served on the Board of Directors for The Compassion Foundation, a not-for-profit, before she was named executive director of the organization in January 2014.

Goncher believes the role of the office of State Representative is to be a voice and a resource for the people of the district, as well as the state. She said the position of State Representative should not be looked at as a career, but rather as a privilege.

“I’m outraged at business as usual in Illinois politics,” she said. “I’ve spent years talking with friends and neighbors from all different backgrounds. I know there are others like me who are outraged by the dysfunction in Springfield. Members of the Illinois Legislature seem to care more about getting re-elected than dealing with out-of-control spending, and satisfying special interests than they do about families and jobs. I’ve had enough, and I’m not the only one.”

If elected, Goncher’s priorities will include the state budget, promoting job policies and reforming the pension system while enacting term limits for all state politicians in order to “stop career politicians who got us in this mess.”

“I strongly support and will push for a balanced budget amendment and crystal-clear transparency in the state budget to end the shell games that have put us in this mess,” she said. “(Promotion of job policies) will make Illinois competitive again with our neighboring states. We’re getting left behind and we must have forward-thinking leadership before it’s too late for us.”

Gonchar knows full well what it will take to achieve her goals if she takes office.

“I’m going to work tirelessly to be the voice of communities in our area,” she said. “Places like Elburn and Sugar Grove, Batavia and Yorkville, where common sense still matters and you simply don’t spend more money than you have. I’m outraged at the lack of common sense in Springfield, and I want people to know that our voices will be heard.”

bill_keckWilliam Keck
In his candidacy for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination this spring, candidate William Keck’s message is simple and to the point.

“I want to represent the citizens of District 50 in the Illinois General Assembly,” he said.

Keck served as Kane County Auditor from 1992 to 2012, but that’s hardly where his resume ends. He’s currently treasurer for the Kane County Central Committee and Kane County Western Township, and has served as a charter member of the Sugar Grove Lions Club since 1969. He was the founding director of Mutual Ground in 1975, Sugar Grove Troop 41 Boy Scout leader from 1968 to 1970, and currently on the St. Gall Church Finance Committee and as secretary treasurer for the Sugar Grove Cemetery Association.

Keck is a lifelong resident of Sugar Grove, and describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative who believes strongly in the platform of the Republican Party. He holds a BBA in management from Notre Dame University and a Master of Science in accountancy from Northern Illinois University.

Keck said he is concerned about the state of Illinois’ financial condition and believes that an audit professional can make a difference.

“I am the only candidate with experience managing government budgets,” he said.

Should he be elected, Keck’s priorities will include creating a balanced budget with a revenue stream for each expenditure; honoring agreements and fully funding the pension liability; and encouraging small-business development with tax incentives and a reduction of regulations.

Keck would also work with fellow Republicans and Democrats who are concerned with the condition of Illinois’ finances and want to save the state from bankruptcy.

“Having served five terms as Kane County Auditor, I believe that an audit professional can make a difference in the Illinois General Assembly,” Keck said. “I do not agree with a tax increase at this time. We need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in Illinois government.”

Keck also opposes a progressive income tax.

“Illinois needs to return to the flat 3 percent income tax.”

Wheeler_KeithKeith Wheeler
Keith Wheeler sees the role of 50th District Representative as the people’s representation in the General Assembly in Springfield.

“While the General Assembly is seen primarily in its role of making laws, a state representative is also a resource for constituents when it comes to state government issues, problems and concerns,” he said.

Wheeler on March 18 will seek the 50th District Representative Republican nomination.

He currently owns Responsive Network Services, LLC., and serves as a Bristol Township trustee and Bristol 5 Republican Precinct committeeman.

He’s also currently the board chairman for Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, board chairman for Kendall County Food Pantry, Illinois Leadership Council chairman for National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), current board treasurer for Oswego Bears Youth Football and Cheer Pop Warner program, District 308 Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee member.

As a small business owner in Illinois, Wheeler said he has seen first-hand the damage that Springfield has done to the Illinois business community.

“Employers, jobs and families are leaving Illinois at a frightening pace. In my role as board chairman of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Leadership Council for NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), I hear from fellow business owners that Illinois is not as competitive as we should be. That is demonstrated by our unemployment rate being higher than any of our neighboring states. We see it locally by the increase in the demand for food at local food pantries. I pay close attention to this in my role as the Kendall County Food Pantry board chairman. I am running to help create and support Illinois jobs for Illinois families—that’s actually the theme of my campaign.”

Twenty-two years as a small-business owner means that Wheeler signs the front of paychecks; not just the back. It also means he understands what job creators are dealing with in today’s business climate. He believes he has a pulse on the business community and has working relationships with the organizations that understand what needs to change in order to improve the business and hiring climate in Illinois.

And as a parent with young children, Wheeler’s eye is on the future.

“We need to make Illinois a state with an education system of which we are proud and that we can count on for preparing the next generation for success here in Illinois,” he said.

If elected, Wheeler’s priorities will include job creation, a focus on state spending and pension reform.

“While our state has been struggling to pay its bills and we suffered through a 67 percent increase in income taxes, the Democrats in Springfield increased state spending instead of paying off the outstanding bills,” Wheeler said. “This is the wrong approach to improving the balance sheet of the state of Illinois. We need to examine runaway Medicaid fraud and perform a forensic audit of state spending to root out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending.

In regard to pension reform, Wheeler believes the only way to truly solve the pension mess would be to move to a defined contribution system so that payment to and on behalf of the employee will be complete at the same time the employee is working.

“For this reason, I will support massive expansion of the new defined contribution program that was introduced in the recent pension bill,” he said.

An important step Wheeler would like to lead with is creation of a bipartisan Small Business Caucus to give the job-creating small-business community in Illinois a louder voice in Springfield.

Wheeler created a plan called “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families” in order to make the state “more competitive and give companies, entrepreneurs and hard-working citizens a reason to make Illinois their home.” The outline of Wheeler’s plan includes:
• Make Illinois a more affordable place to do business—stop the progressive income tax which would raise taxes on 85 percent of Illinois families
• Clean up the pension and bill payment mess in Springfield
• Perform a forensic audit to clear out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative state spending
• Restore state funding promised to local school districts to keep our promise to our kids and prevent further increases in property taxes

Election: Kane County Board District 5

in March 18, 2014 by

The race for the Kane County Board District 5 Republican nomination in the March 18 General Primary Election will come down to incumbent Melisa Taylor and challenger Bill Lenert

Bill_LenertBill Lenert
Bill Lenert believes Kane County Board members are entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the interests and desires of the residents of Kane County.

Lenert on March 18 will seek the board’s District 5 seat and the opportunity to represent its 22,000 residents.

“I would work to ensure that our taxpayers receive the best possible return on every tax dollar they spend,” he said.

In order to accomplish this, Lenert, a Sugar Grove resident, said he will listen to the needs and desires of his constituents to make sure the board is utilizing its county resources in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible to improve the daily lives of its residents.

Lenert has a wife, Mary; three kids, Katie, Bill and Mike; and six grandchildren. He’s been a small-business owner in Kane County for over 29 years, and has seen the way that burdensome regulations and high taxes can cripple business expansion and job growth in our community. He owns Lenert Insurance Agency in Aurora.

“I believe the same sound, fiscal principles that I have utilized personally and in my business should be implemented by our County Board to ensure responsible and proper use of our taxes,” he said.

Lenert believes that being a first-time candidate for political office will provide the citizens of District 5 with a new voice on issues impacting our local community.

“I am running because I know I can be an asset to the County Board in working to make our community an even more desirable place to live and work,” he said.

He also believes his business, educational (M.B.A., Illinois Benedictine University), and community leadership experience distinguish him from his opponent. Over the past 30 years, Lenert’s been an active community participant, serving as co-chair of the successful 2004 West Aurora School District Referendum, co-chair of the successful 2013 Saint Katharine Drexel “Open Wide Your Hearts” building campaign, board member of the Rockford Diocese Finance Council since 2006, as well as former president of the Holy Angels School Board, and former board member of the Aurora Family Counseling Service.

“These experiences allow me to offer a fresh perspective to the County Board that is most reflective of the desires and needs of our residents,” Lenert said. “My professional demeanor will make me a more effective representative in working with community leaders and our taxpayers to serve the needs of the residents of District 5.”

If elected, Lenert’s top three priorities will include lowering taxes, extending Metra to Sugar Grove, and promoting more jobs and better wages.

“I fully support maintaining a frozen property tax levy indefinitely,” he said. “It is imperative that our County Board members continue to exercise sound fiscal management in eliminating financial waste to lessen the ever increasing tax burdens placed upon our residents.”

In terms of the Metra-to-Sugar Grove project, Lenert sees the improvement of transportation as a critical component to the economic well-being of any community. And by extending Metra to Sugar Grove, he believes the citizens of District 5 will be provided with a convenient means of transportation that is lacking.

“Accomplishing this goal will connect our residents with surrounding suburbs and Chicago, making District 5 more attractive to commuters and businesses alike,” he said. “In order to promote more jobs and better wages in Kane County, we must attract new businesses to our community. Having been a lifelong Kane County resident and local business owner, I have developed relationships with many successful individuals and businesses in our community. My ability to comfortably conduct myself in a professionally diplomatic manner makes me the best candidate to attract new development and business opportunities to District 5.”

Lenert sees an environment of professional collaboration and mutual respect between County Board members and department directors as critical to the successful operations of the county, and believes its leaders must be able to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner if they wish to work together to improve the quality of life for residents.

“My business and community experiences allow me to best professionally, competently and diplomatically represent the interests of District 5,” he said. “Additionally, our community leaders must make themselves available to address the needs and concerns of their constituents. If elected, my constituents can expect to be treated with the same respect and attentiveness I have provided to my insurance clients for the past 30 years. I will make every effort to promptly respond to their questions and concerns and will work to make sure their needs are properly addressed.”

Lenert defines his motivation for seeking the District 5 County Board seat with a simple reason.

“I believe that my experiences as a lifelong Kane County resident and local business owner will assist the County Board in working collaboratively to improve the quality of life for all Kane County residents,” he said.

Melissa_TaylorMelisa Taylor
Kane County Board District 5 member Melisa Taylor sees the role of community volunteer as essential to public service.

As founder of Sugar Grove’s Between Friends Food Pantry, Taylor’s seen firsthand the obstacles and pain felt in families in the 5th District and elsewhere throughout Kane County.

“(That) is forefront in my mind when I take a vote or a position on issues affecting us,” Taylor said. “I have worked with taxpayers to ask our assessor why she is raising our assessments when our taxes are going nowhere but up. I think about our fiscal condition when I ask difficult questions. Why can’t we merge these services and make our government work more efficiently?”

As a community volunteer, Taylor became involved with educational issues while raising two daughters with her husband, Rich. Before long she was elected to serve as a trustee on the Sugar Grove Village Board.

“As I realized that our county government demanded an independent voice, free from influence, nepotism and conflicts, I moved toward consideration of a County Board seat,” she said.

Elected to the County Board in fall 2010 and re-elected in 2012, Melisa has helped residents battle local flooding problems, and she’s worked hard for an expanded commercial development along Randall Road. She said she wants to avoid additional costs to business owners when they want to develop in Kane County.

Taylor said the average American family statistically has $3,000 in average savings, so every penny that they give to the county as taxpayers to government, especially locally, makes the County Board’s responsibility to them serious and sacred.

“Our job as County Board members is to remember that we must stand up, do the right thing and ensure that we are always aware that our allegiance is to our districts, and that our job is to work cooperatively with those on the board to ensure that our district is well represented,” Taylor said.

Taylor also believes she’s done her best to stay involved in district outreach activities, including volunteerism, local public service, church expansion and rebuilding. She was involved in finding an alternative building while St. Katherine’s Parish was under construction, and served on the Solheim Cup Committee. She also helped the county veteran’s coordinator to organize the Veteran’s Honor Day at the Kane County Wall honoring service men and women.

“I enjoy staying in touch with people in the 5th District,” she said.

Taylor has traveled downstate to represent her district, organized tax appeal meetings, and she’s assisted in sending messages out about subdivision, village and township needs. She’s also made it a priority to question “needless county waste and spending.”

“I have never denied that I investigate, inquire and want to ensure that my constituents know that the money they give to their county government is being utilized for solid projects, plans, and programs, which will serve the needs of the district,” Taylor said. “My investigations seek to ensure that my peers and I work cooperatively so valuable projects sought in our district are met favorably by my colleagues.”

Taylor also notes that she believes she has no personal conflicts that may interfere with her decisions to represent the people in her district.

“My opponent does have clear conflicts of interest, which would arise during voting and decision making as a board member,” Taylor said. “Being a childhood friend of the county chairman, a major donor for (Kane County Board Chairman Chris) Lauzen’s campaigns and also his longtime insurance agent means he will likely follow his lead in any issue and vote as told to. My opponent’s son also works for the law firm representing the county chairman, the County Board and the Forest Preserve, which also brings up more issues of nepotism and pay-to-play politics.”

If re-elected, Taylor wants to focus on the completion of the Route 47/I-88 interchange by working as a team with local, state, federal and private entities, and she’s also interested in the extension of Dauberman Road, stressing the need to re-establish communication and teamwork to explore the process and the possibility of any potential outside financing.

Taylor also wants to continue working with Metra on its Sugar Grove extension by progressing talks in order to keep the project on the forefront of the company’s project list.

“If re-elected, Taylor pledges to research the issues and ask the appropriate questions, and said she supports her fellow board members to do the same.

“I pledged when I took office that I would remain vigilant in regard to needless spending, consolidate government service when needed and treat your money as if it is the last dollar available. This has not always been popular, but my resolve is to do whatever is right for my district. They are my employers, and my dedication to them is my first priority.”

Election: Kane County Sheriff

in March 18, 2014 by

Two candidates on the March 18 General Primary Election ballot will vie for the Kane County Sheriff Republican nomination.

Kramer_DonDonald Kramer
Donald Kramer defines the role of Kane County Sheriff as the responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois.

Kramer, a retired lieutenant and the Republican nominee for Kane County Sheriff in 2010, is committed to making a difference in the community by keeping Kane County a great place to live and work.

“I will strive to provide excellence in the service we provide our community in protection of your property and family, the efficient operation of the county jail and the security of county government buildings,” Kramer said. “I will also be a fair and honest leader to the 300 employees of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and a good steward of the $26 million dollar budget.”

Kramer’s role model in law enforcement is his father, retired sheriff George Kramer, who was a juvenile officer at Batavia Police Department before becoming sheriff.

“I watched as he helped kids get their lives back on track,” Kramer said.

Kramer is also active with Kane County Safe Kids, Suicide Prevention Services and the Geneva Rotary Club to give back to his community and serve the needs of its youth.

“I have seen too many young people lose their lives to poor decisions and, like my father, have made a lifetime commitment to helping our youth succeed in life,” Kramer said.

If elected, Kramer said he would set goals for officers and create an administrative structure that oversees the daily functions and plans for the unexpected. He hopes to improve the personal relationships the Sheriff’s Office has built with the community and expand the opportunities for its officers to better serve the needs of neighborhoods and businesses.

“It is important for me to run for sheriff because I believe there are many improvements that can be made to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in our county,” Kramer said.

Kramer has also worked on many projects within the Sheriff’s Office and organizations in the community, with the focus on solving problems that confront Kane County citizens.

“It is very important that law enforcement work closely with the community to address our concerns and resolve them through partnerships,” he said.

Kramer has 30 years of police experience, all with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, and he believes the leadership roles during his career have prepared him for the challenges of operating a large fiscal budget and managing 300 employees. Over a period of eight years as a lieutenant, he was responsible for department training, computer network administration, new recruit training, community policing, civil process and grant writing.

As a sergeant, Kramer led a county-wide traffic safety program that was recognized nationally for reducing deaths and injuries.

“I am the only candidate with a master’s degree (criminal justice, Chicago State University) and also advanced certificates in police administration and computer network administration,” he said. “(And) I have made a commitment to serve the community for over 20 years in many non-profit and community-based organizations to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

Kramer’s list of priorities as sheriff would include improvement of the flow of information to our officers and the public by the command staff (lieutenants); participation with other local law enforcement agencies and community organizations in promoting educational programs that address bullying, drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide; and identification of ways to reduce costs and lessen the burden to taxpayers.

“I would like to see the Sheriff’s Office become more green, thereby reducing energy costs and monthly expenditures,” Kramer said. “I have examined alternative fuels for fleet vehicles and believe we can reduce our overall budget each year after the initial cost of conversion to natural gas or propane. I believe we should also incorporate wind and solar power at our facilities to reduce traditional energy costs.”

To achieve those items, Kramer believes his goals must reflect the needs of the community and involve input from office employees.

“I have listened to the concerns of citizens and have been considering action plans to solve these problems,” he said. But through experience, I know I need the input of the workforce to be successful. I believe in team-building and encouraging all staff members to participate in making the organization more efficient and productive.”

In terms of the sheriff’s current state of coverage for western portions of the county during nighttime hours, Kramer said the number of patrol officers assigned to each shift is best determined by the number of calls received during the shift and the available time officers have to devote to crime prevention.

“I believe that we could improve coverage all over the county with additional deputies, but that would require an increase in the budget and the raising of your taxes,” he said. “Instead, I have plans to distribute officers more evenly across all three shifts and stagger the shift changes so officers are available in all areas of the county. This is important because it will reduce the amount of time it takes for officers to respond to calls and assure coverage in western townships.”

Kramer said everyone has a stake in keeping local neighborhoods safe so that families can enjoy security at nearby schools, parks and businesses.

“We also need to confront some very unpleasant issues dealing with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence,” he said. “I believe that my career as a police officer for over 30 years and the commitment to several community organizations for the last 20 years, have prepared me to take on this leadership role.”

Williams_KevinKevin Williams
Kane County Sheriff candidate Kevin Williams sees the position of sheriff as the top law enforcement officer in the county—one that oversees three branches: the courts, corrections and public safety.

“The sheriff’s role is building partnerships with the Kane County Board, the community, local school officials, law enforcement agencies, local governments, townships and civic organizations,” he said. “The sheriff must also be a good leader and manager in order to run an efficient and effective office.”

Williams currently serves as lieutenant of Community Policing and Crime Prevention at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. He was the Republican nominee for Kane County Sheriff in 2006. He holds a Police Staff and Command Certification from Northwestern University, a Corrections Officers Certification from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as additional certifications in Northeast Multi-Regional Training, gang specialist investigations, drug investigations, suburban law enforcement, human resource development and internal affairs.

In terms of community, Williams is a member of Friends of Jason Gould leukemia and lymphoma fundraising organization, and he’s a Special Olympics volunteer. Williams and his wife Tracy have three children and two grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way.

Williams seeks the position of Kane County Sheriff because of his strong passion for public service, as well as his 35 years of civil service, 22 of which has been through the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

“I am running for Kane County Sheriff because I have the knowledge, skill and the abilities needed to manage a complex, professional law enforcement organization that is dedicated to the community’s needs,” Williams said. “I am running for Kane County Sheriff because I have a long-standing passion to pursue those who do harm against the residents of Kane County. I am devoted to Kane County and will strive to keep it a safe place in which to live, work and raise our families.”

As a lieutenant with numerous administrative assignments, Williams believes he has proven to be a good manager utilizing his organizational, planning, and reasoning abilities, and that he has demonstrated the character to build trust and the competence to lead.

“I have the right temperament to work with my fellow employees, other government bodies and community members,” he said. “I have arrested more criminals who have committed felonies in Kane County than my opponent. I have criminal investigative experience, a thorough knowledge of crime scene protection/evidence collection, investigations of dangerous street gangs and as an undercover narcotics officer.

Williams said he has built law enforcement and community coalitions throughout his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office to achieve “greater impact on gang and drug problems, improve senior safety, school safety and neighborhood watch programs.”

“My dedication to communities for over 20 years uniquely qualifies me to understand the impact that crime is having on our communities,” he said. “I have a strong record of getting to the core of the problem and coming to achievable solutions.”

If elected, Williams’ priorities will include combatting the growing heroin and prescription drug abuse problem in Kane County.

“Having served on a panel with law enforcement, recovering addicts and families who have lost loved ones, I know that the best way to combat the growing use of heroin is to work with the community, schools and local law enforcement to educate the community on the changing face of heroin abuse,” he said. “I will continue to educate the community on the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse.”

Williams would also prioritize the protection of Kane County’s most vulnerable citizens, including its growing senior population and its children.

“I will continue to work with senior service programs, TRIAD programs, and other local law enforcement programs to protect Kane County’s growing senior population,” he said. “I will also continue to work closely with school administrators to protect our children against intruders, bullying, and continue education on substance abuse.”

Williams also wants to run an efficient and fiscally responsible office, and work closely with the County Board and the Command Staff at the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the office is “running as fiscally responsible as possible.”

“Success as a sheriff hinges on the ability to build partnerships with the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, the community, local municipalities and the county government,” Williams said. “I have been doing just that for the past 20 years and will continue to strive for better and stronger partnerships in order to be a successful Sheriff.”

In terms of the Kane County Sheriff’s ability to adequately patrol western portions of the county during nighttime hours, Williams believes the Sheriff’s Office has done its best to protect the citizens of Kane County despite being understaffed.

“Sheriff Perez has done a great job with the resources he has,” Williams said. “This is why community involvement, through the form of programs like Neighborhood Watch and senior safety crime education programs, are important. I have been working with such programs as lieutenant of Community Policing and will continue to facilitate good working relationships with communities as sheriff. Continuing to build partnerships with the community is the biggest force enhancer law enforcement has.”

Williams has been nominated three times for the Kane County Sheriff’s Officer of the Year Award. He’s accepted the Courage Award for risking his life, as he entered a structure fire in an attempt to locate a handicapped subject. He received the Meritorious Award for driving his personal four-wheel drive vehicle to rescue numerous deputies who were stranded for over 24 hours in the blizzard of 2011, and was the recipient of the Leadership Award for his direction, organization and planning of responding and assisting officers to a home invasion/attempted murder incident, and also the Life Saving Award for locating and saving a citizen who was about to commit suicide with a shotgun.
Accolades aside, Williams’ message is simple.

“I am the best choice for Kane County Sheriff,” he said.

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