Candidates in McHenry Co. District 2 have varied priorities
The four Republicans and two Democrats running for the four seats in McHenry County's District 2 point to a wide range of priorities, from saving money through technology to creating commuter bike trails and teaching people about water conservation.
District 2 includes parts of Algonquin and Grafton townships.
Here is a look at the candidates running in the Nov. 6 election, where two of them will get weeded out:
• Incumbent James Heisler, 71, a Republican from Crystal Lake, owns a shoe store. He has served on the county board since 1992; he chairs the county board's legislative committee and serves on the finance and audit, law and justice, and planning and development committees.
Heisler said that he's focusing on informing voters about the county executive form of government in light of a referendum question on the Nov. 6 ballot. He also wants the county to be an example to others by reducing its property tax levy, and he wants to encourage people to shop locally to help maintain the county's fiscal vitality.
• Incumbent James Kennedy, 57, a Democrat from Lake in the Hills, works as a police sergeant and serves on the county's Valley Hi Nursing Home operating board.
Kennedy advocates holding off on filling open county positions and using technology to save money, with the ultimate goal of keeping expenses in check to keep a balanced budget. He also wants to ensure the county board is always transparent by posting information on the county website and even broadcasting meetings live on television, while encouraging the public to attend meetings.
• County Board Chairman Ken Koehler, 64, a Republican from Crystal Lake, has served on the board since 2000, and as chairman since 2004. Koehler also serves on the boards for Sherman Hospital and Sherman Health Systems.
He believes it's imperative to retain existing businesses and attract new ones to the county to address declining revenues. The county also has to improve the safety and capacity of its roads — particularly Randall Road — while preserving its environmental resources, he says. He also believes the county must focus on groundwater protection and conservation.
• Incumbent member Donna Kurtz, 53, a Republican from Crystal Lake, works as business development director for an IT consulting company. She has served on the board since 2010; she serves on the county board's building projects, natural and environmental, management services, and public health and human services committees.
Kurtz advocates for a smaller government in McHenry County, by keeping large capital projects in check and looking for ways to be fiscally responsible such as by consolidating or outsourcing services. She also believes in working closely with local municipalities and addressing their concerns, and promoting a more business-friendly environment by fighting higher taxes.
• Challenger Jim Roden, 67, a Democrat from Crystal Lake, owns a picture frame shop and for 19 years led the now-defunct Viking Club, which raised money for needy people and local charities.
The county board must always be unbiased and transparent, and all county board members must fully disclose their assets and interests, he says. He also advocates building bike trails throughout the county so people can use them to commute, and he advocates the use of traffic roundabouts to save on fuel consumption.
• Challenger Carolyn Schofield, 40, a Republican from Crystal Lake, is a city council member who served on the city's planning and zoning commission for 10 years before being elected to the council in 2009.
Groundwater protection is the number one issue for McHenry County, which needs to educate and encourage residents to conserve water while coming up with a plan to address future concerns, Schofield says. She also wants to encourage development with strategies like lowering permit fees or rewards for improvements and job creation, and work on addressing long-term infrastructure needs.
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