The race for the 25th District State Senate seat can be viewed as a study of contrasts.
There's Chris Lauzen, an Aurora Republican who has held the seat since 1992 and has broken ranks with his own party a time or two.
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"I don't work for the party. I work for the people of this district," he said. "I don't think I'm a lone wolf at all. It's not my experience, but the solutions I'm bringing forward."
The challenger is newcomer Leslie Juby, a Geneva Democrat and school board member. She optimistically touts her ability to compromise, work with others and not be part of the "good old boy network.
"Everyone is so polarized, even if it's a good idea, if it's not presented by the party in power it doesn't go anywhere," Juby said.
Voters in most of Kane County, along with parts of Kendall and LaSalle counties, will decide who represents them the next four years.
Juby wants to bring current state workers to the table to see if they're willing to adjust their pension benefit; Lauzen wants to declare an actuarial emergency and impose new rules and guidelines on current workers.
Both candidates are opposed to new taxes or tax increases to help balance the state budget.
Lauzen says he is open to considering "tax modernization and reform, but only if state lawmakers take four steps tighten restrictions on Medicaid eligibility; apply pension reforms to future earnings of current workers; cut the state bureaucracy and create more jobs and it still fails to balance the budget.
Juby focuses on eliminating waste and putting people back to work to help solve the crisis. She also wants to push for a dollar-per-dollar tax swap to ease the property tax burden on suburban households and make school funding more equitable.
Juby warned that any economic recovery will take time.
"There's no magic bullet answer. If there was, everyone would be doing it. In reality, it's going to be baby steps," she said. "It's about compromise and getting both sides to agree and move forward. Always saying 'no' isn't a way to move things forward."