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posted: 9/17/2012 1:59 PM

Local business leaders part of political process

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Business owners and other top executives have long been involved in some form of politics locally or nationally. So the presidential race is no exception as a number of suburban business leaders take an active role as delegates in the GOP and Democratic conventions.

They want to be a part of any change to society, which impacts their businesses. And their businesses, in turn, impact society. That's why they say they're involved in the process.

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The business community is not a monolithic group, but has within itself the diversity necessary to solve local economic problems through collaborative innovation, said Kasthuri Henry, president of KasHenry Inc., a Huntley consulting firm. She is a delegate to the Democratic convention.

"This diversity of thought, ideology, and life experiences not only built this nation but will see it through the challenging times so that we emerge as a more vibrant democracy, as business owners engaging in shaping policy by fulfilling their civic duty as delegates," Henry said.

As business leaders, they also believe they help drive the economy with their companies and provide gainful employment for others, who also contribute to the economy. They're the job creators, so they need to pay close attention to what happens in all levels of government, said Eric Leys of Des Plaines, general sales manager at Acura of Libertyville. He's a GOP delegate, but his views are universal among his colleagues.

"It is important for business people that understand the responsibility involved in operating a company take an active role in bringing their views to the forefront in elections," said Leys. "When you're in a leadership position in a business, you have a certain responsibility to your employees to reward their hard work by making decisions that will ensure the continued growth and successful future of the business."

We should foster a positive business climate, said Kevin Richardson, Lake Barrington village president and president of Heartland Solutions Group Inc. in Chicago. He's a GOP delegate.

"Prosperity helps remedy a large number of our society's problems and it is why we want companies to grow and succeed in Lake Barrington. Because business plays a fundamental role in creating local, state and national prosperity, it is essential for business people to be involved in government at all levels to assure that effective, pro-growth policies are enacted."

Besides Henry, Richardson and Leys, here's a sampling of business professionals who will be delegates at the conventions. Names were gathered from lists provided by the GOP and Democratic parties.

GOP

• Ian Berenson of LaGrange, attorney in La Grange

• Daniel R. Bryant of Lake Forest, managing partner at Sheridan Road Financial LLC in Northbrook

• Frank Bucaro of Bloomingdale, funeral director at Burst Funeral Home in Lombard

• Jack Dorgan of Rosemont, a Rosemont trustee, and partner with Dorgan/McPike & Associates

• Sherry Falbo of Glen Ellyn, co-owner of Wheaton Bowl in Wheaton

• Joe Folisi of Schaumburg, principal at BIK & Co. LLP in Palatine and Vernon Hills

• Matt Gambs of Naperville, CEO of Diamond Bancorp

• Ethan A. Hastert of Elburn, attorney with Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago

• William LeFew of Harvard, agent for American Family and McHenry County treasurer

• William Mayer of Bolingbrook, sales for Call One in Chicago

• Michael Menis of Inverness, oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Crystal Lake

• Daniel Peterson of Glenview, managing principal of operations at ZS Associates in Evanston

• Mark W. Peterson of Lincolnshire, president of business development at Bridgeview Bank Group

• Marie Piraino of Roselle, president of Chicago Network Development Inc.

• Steve Quigley of Bolingbrook, director of a small not for profit association

• Dennis M. Reboletti of Elmhurst, attorney

• Frank Saverino Sr. of Carol Stream, president and founder of Saverino & Associates Inc. in Carol Stream and mayor of Carol Stream

• Gabriela Wyatt of Aurora, engineer for Motorola Solutions in Schaumburg, and co-chair of the Illinois Republican Party

Democrats

• Sabey Abraham of Elmhurst, attorney

• Nicole Betourney of Palos Heights, owner of Isn't That Sweet catering in Palos Heights.

• Sonia Bhagwakar of Itasca, attorney

• Matt Fruth of Oak Park, attorney

• Lauren Beth Gash of Highland Park, attorney

• Joe Gump of Palatine, attorney

• Lakshmi Lakshmanan of Evanston, attorney

• Mary Plata of Yorkville, Cake Deco

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