Last year, in the name of saving tax dollars and doing more with less, the county board voted to remove two board seats during redistricting and the move, effective this November, will take the board from 26 to 24. With 24 members, Kane County's board will still be among the largest in the area.
The candidates spoke about the issue during a joint interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board. Kenyon, the county's Republican chairman, is running for his third term on the board while Sauceda hopes to unseat him in the March 20 primary. The 16th District includes portions of Elgin and South Elgin. The winner faces Democrat Jennifer Barconi in the general election.
Sauceda, 28, a sales manager at Robis Elections and an Elgin Township precinct committeeman who lives in South Elgin, says further cuts are needed on the county board.
If elected, Sauceda would endorse shrinking the board to 18 members, pointing to other county boards operating with fewer members. With so many members, Kane County's board is less effective than it could be, and when you have too many people, things sometimes get muddled, Sauceda said.
"If that means eliminating my job, I'm fine with that -- that's the legacy that I would have," Sauceda said. "That's part of the sacrifice (of a smaller board), you have to work harder to serve the community. And there's no doubt in my mind that the board should be smaller."
Kenyon, 67, a soybean, corn and dairy farmer based in unincorporated Kane County near South Elgin, says the board needs to stay the way it is.
Besides creating more work for everyone else, reducing the number of board members means reducing a diversity in opinions, Kenyon said, noting that attorneys, farmers, an insurance salesman and a manufacturer are among the professions that comprise the board.
"I don't think of it as people being in the way," Kenyon said. "I just think of people as an asset. I look at our board now and I see people from all walks of life and that's pretty neat."
As well, it would make better sense to tackle the issue when the next census forces the county to start the redistricting process in 2020, Kenyon said.
"Practically speaking, I don't have any problem with the size of the board but practically speaking, I don't think it would be very easy to reduce the size ... because you'd have to redraw the whole map," Kenyon said.