Many issues facing county government are centered on money. Kane County's courts' computer system needs an upgrade, Settler's Hill is being redeveloped and some department heads want raises for their employees. With that as a backdrop, we offer endorsements in contested county board districts.
In District 2, Republican Sal Abbate is endorsed. Abbate and opponent Theresa Barreiro, both would be new to the board. Abbate would bring technical expertise in the software and technology field which could prove valuable.
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In District 4, Democrat Brian Pollock and Republican Beth Goncher are newcomers. Both have résumés that reflect strong volunteer commitments to the community. Pollock's track record of attending county meetings and working as a bipartisan advocate on issues earns him our support.
In District 8, incumbent Democrat Jesse Vazquez is endorsed over Gregory Nelson. Vazquez is best equipped to brainstorm ideas about where to trim the current budget and to encourage various divisions of the county to live within their means.
Incumbent Republican Melisa Taylor is endorsed in District 5. She is a staunch advocate of fiscal restraint, whether it's property taxes or spending money on Settler's Hill and the old jail site. Norman Martin has good ideas but we see no reason to unseat Taylor.
Incumbent Republican Michael Donahue takes on Martha Hanna in District 11. Donahue has spearheaded the plan to revamp the 700-acre Settler's Hill campus into a sports/entertainment mecca. Hanna questions whether a concert venue is needed there, and she worries about the financial burden the project could place on taxpayers. She's right to be concerned, but Donahue's background and experience can't be discounted for this project and other county government affairs. We recommend he continue to look critically at all aspects of the plan as it moves forward. Donahue is endorsed.
In District 14, incumbent Republican Mark Davoust is endorsed over challenger Nadia BlancDaley. Davoust favors increased fees, and not raising taxes, as a means of supporting raises for employees. He is endorsed.
Incumbent Republican Mike Kenyon is trying to fend off a challenge from Jennifer Barconi in District 16. Barconi's idea of a business development manager to promote job growth and workforce development merits attention, but it alone is not enough to justify removing Kenyon, who has been a devoted eight-year member of the board. Kenyon is endorsed.
In District 17, Republican Jeffrey Meyer is endorsed over incumbent Deborah Allan. Whether it's pay raises, Fabyan campus development or the need for a computer system upgrades, Meyer uses excellent knowledge of the issues to brainstorm ideas for realistic solutions.
In District 18, Republican Andrew Frasz is endorsed. The incumbent would bring experience and accomplishments to another term on the board that his opponent, newcomer Kerri Branson, would not.
In District 19, Kurt Kojzarek is endorsed for his depth of knowledge on issues. The Republican sees increased court fees as a way to boost funding for proposed raises.
District 20 Democratic Cristina Castro has proved to be a dedicated public servant and is endorsed. She takes a conservative approach to spending taxpayer dollars. Challenger Henoch Fuentes lacks knowledge of county issues.
Republican Rebecca Gillam is endorsed in District 21. She said she has attended more than 90 county meetings in 14 months to prepare for the job, and she has mounted a low-budget campaign that won't leave her beholden to special interests.
Democrat Bob Getz, running in District 22, says his primary goal is to cut taxes. He brings experience, interest, ideas, time and enthusiasm to the job, giving him our endorsement over Elgin attorney Douglas Scheflow.
District 23 incumbent Republican Maggie Auger's law background has helped her as an effective member of the board. She favors increases for county attorneys based on merit. She is endorsed.