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updated: 3/15/2012 5:31 PM

Incumbent wants to address money issues, landfill redevelopment

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  • Mike Donahue

    Mike Donahue


Mike Donahue agrees with those who say the Kane County Board's practices need to change.

But he asks that you don't lump him in with "the establishment," even though he is an incumbent.

Donahue was elected to the board just 15 months ago. But all county board seats are up for election this year, as they are after every decennial Census.

"I'm one of the new ones on the board, bringing in new energy," Donahue said.

His experience in working for municipal governments makes him a "quick study," he said, on county matters that come before the board. Donahue was a planner for Geneva for six years, did private municipal consulting work after that, and is now an owner and executive vice president of Midwest Wind Energy LLC.

He lists as his top issue "fiscal discipline." Donahue said one of the things he took on was the county's budget, protesting an increase in general fund spending at a time when property values and personal incomes in the county were decreasing. "I was shocked" at the proposed increase, he said, and asked that the budget be sent back to the finance committee for trimming.

Donahue has refused to take the optional pension and health and life insurance offered to county board members, saying he doesn't think elected officials should get such perks for a part-time job.

One of his primary goals, if re-elected, is to finish a redevelopment plan for the old Kane County jail site and Settler's Hill/Midway landfills' site along Fabyan Parkway in Geneva. He's on the committee that is currently showing a design that includes a hotel/conference center and am outdoor concert venue like that of Ravinia. "It is time to manifest the long-touted post-closure benefits and develop the area as a public recreation amenity with private economic development opportunities," he wrote in a Daily Herald questionnaire.

He also agreed with calls for government to be more transparent. He maintains a Facebook page where he posts plans, his thoughts and solicits comments.

The former Geneva city planner is a friend and supporter of Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns. Donahue worked on Burns' 2007 attempt for the 14th Congressional seat, and has given cash and in-kind contributions (including paying $3,600 for two months of RV rental) to Burns' campaign for county board chairman.

Donahue faces Robert Janura of Geneva in the primary. The winner will face Democrat Martha Hanna of Geneva in November.

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