The next installment of Palatine's village council will be without its youngest and most outspoken member.
Councilman Aaron Del Mar, in a surprise to many, says he won't seek a second 4-year term representing District 1, citing a need to spend more time with his three young children.
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"It was a very difficult decision, but nobody ever said on their death bed, 'I wish I ran for another term,'" Del Mar, 34, said. "I can always go back into politics, but I can't get back my kids' youth."
Familiar faces will again vie for three other council seats up with Del Mar's including Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz, who will run for a second term in office. The Chicago Bear turned moving company executive has been a popular leader with officials and staff members.
"It was kind of a shocker to hear about Aaron, but I'm absolutely running again," Schwantz said. "We're already over the number of signatures we need (750), but you always want to get more to be safe."
Del Mar's stay in the political arena won't end with the local election next spring. He said he intends to see his commitment through as both Palatine Township Republican committeeman and Cook County GOP chairman, seats that aren't up until 2014.
Perhaps the biggest factor in Del Mar's decision was his divorce nearly two years ago. Coaching three youth sports, volunteering as Room Dad at school and devoting weekends to campaigning proved far easier in a two-parent household. He also juggles a sports event planning firm and other businesses, and he wants them to grow.
"This has been a time drain and a fiscal drain, and I knew that going in and was OK with it," Del Mar said. "But I only get 50 percent of (my children's) time now."
Del Mar would have faced a challenger in Tim Millar, a two-term member of the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board and its current president.
Millar, who's been circulating petitions for a few weeks, said he was interested in village service originally but instead chose to address District 15's deep political and financial challenges. His seat on the school board is up in April, and Millar said he won't run for re-election.
"I feel that we've accomplished quite a bit and have set things up to where they'll pay dividends for decades to come hopefully," Millar said.
Del Mar, the only minority on the village council, would like to see a "wonderful, confident and successful" woman take his place. He said he's approached a couple people, but declined to name them because they're still deciding whether to run.
Whoever the successor, Del Mar said he'll aid the transition by providing contacts, advice and other institutional knowledge. He never met with former Councilman Mike Jezierski after a contentious campaign four years ago.
Joining Schwantz in running for re-election are District 4 Councilman Greg Solberg and District 6 Councilman Brad Helms, who'll seek a seventh and third term, respectively.