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Article updated: 12/11/2012 5:31 PM

Hoscheit re-elected Kane County Forest Preserve president

By James Fuller

Though rumors were rampant he would see a challenge, John Hoscheit will remain the president of the Kane County Forest Preserve District for another term.

Multiple forest preserve commissioners had said they thought Barb Wojnicki would challenge for the position. Wojnicki recently became the head of the Kane County GOP and successfully supported Chris Lauzen through his election as Kane County Board chairman. Last week, Hoscheit said he was hopeful, but not sure he would remain as district president.

When it came time for the voting, it was Wojnicki who seconded Commissioner Mike Kenyon's nomination of Hoscheit's nomination for another term. The commissioners then unanimously supported the nomination.

"I know that we don't run for the office of forest preserve commissioner; you run for the county board," Hoscheit said. "But I consider this to be an honor. As one who first ran a number of years ago, I quickly became involved in the forest preserve, and that became my passion. Most of the things we do on the forest preserve commission are on the positive side. You can make an immediate difference in the community."

The positives for Hoscheit's last term includes a successful tax increase referendum that resulted in the district now owning more than 20,000 acres of open space. But he and fellow commissioners did endure public criticism for deer culling practices, and briefly entertained the idea of creating a gravel mine in the Brunner Family Forest Preserve.

On Tuesday, Hoscheit said the Brunner preserve is the largest and most expensive land purchase the county has ever made. Commissioners must now work to open it up for public use.

"I would guess that land will eventually be the best preserve we have, given its location," Hoscheit said.

He reminded commissioners that the district has a balanced budget, significant savings and a bond rating higher than it's ever been. Commissioners said Hoscheit's success as a team builder is why they gave him another term.

"We all get along. We don't have to look too far to the east," Kenyon said, referring to DuPage County, "to see where a forest preserve district doesn't get along. ... It's your leadership that pulls us together."

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