A longtime friend of Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen is running for a county board seat against incumbent Melisa Taylor, who had supported Lauzen in his bid for the chairmanship.
Bill Lenert, who graduated with Lauzen in 1970 from Marmion Military Academy, filed his petitions Monday at the Kane County clerk's office, as did Taylor.
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The following people filed petitions for the 2014 election as of Monday:
Mark Davoust, St. Charles; *Jack Cunningham, Aurora
Don Kramer, Geneva; Kevin Williams, Geneva
Willie M. Mayes, Aurora
Board District 1
*Myrna Molina, Aurora
Board District 3
*Jennifer Laesch, Aurora
Board District 5
*Melisa Taylor, Sugar Grove; Bill Lenert, Sugar Grove
Board District 9
*T.R. Smith, Maple Park
Board District 11
John Martin, Geneva
Board District 13
*Phil Lewis, St. Charles
Board District 15
*Barb Wojnicki, Campton Hills
Board District 17
*Deborah Allan, Elgin
Board District 21
*Rebecca Gillam, West Dundee
Board District 23
*Maggie Auger, Algonquin
Taylor was one of the most vocal supporters for Lauzen during his run to become Kane County Board chairman one year ago. She also worked on Lauzen's campaign team when he ran for Congress.
Taylor said she has no doubt Lauzen recruited Lenert to run against her because she has publicly questioned some of Lauzen's initiatives during his first year as chairman.
"I'm angry, and I'm sad," Taylor said. "Mr. Lenert is a nice guy, but this will cause division in the Sugar Grove community. Chris doesn't live in my community. He is just going to watch this happen from afar."
Taylor said Lenert was recruited to challenge her as away to scare county board members away from questioning anything Lauzen wants.
"I ask a lot of questions on the county board, but that's nothing new," Taylor said. "I did the same thing during Karen McConnaughay's tenure."
Lenert owns the Lenert Insurance Group. He has been Lauzen's personal insurance agent for more than 20 years, according to endorsement from Lauzen on the business' website. Lenert's son, Michael Lenert, is an attorney at Kinnally, Flaherty, Krentz and Loran. Partner Pat Kinnally was recently appointed as a special Kane County State's Attorney to the county board.
"Government should be run more like a business," Lenert said. "Property taxes need to stay in check."
He also said he is concerned about unemployment in Kane County being higher than the statewide average.
Lauzen said he is aware of Lenert's candidacy. However, as both candidates are fellow Republicans, he won't make a decision on endorsing either candidate until later in the race, he said. But when asked specifically about Lenert, Lauzen had nothing but glowing commentary.
They served together on the Holy Angels Catholic School board for about 10 years, Lauzen said.
"He's one of the finest human beings I've ever known in an entire lifetime," Lauzen said. "He is very devoted to his wife. He has raised three children that all of us are so proud of. He's employed people in his insurance agency for more than 25 years and taken very good care of clients. In fact, I joke that when I grow up, I'd like to be just like him."
Republican Kevin Williams, a lieutenant with the Kane County Sheriff's Department, will be first on the March 18 ballot in the primary for sheriff. His opponent, Don Kramer, who retired from the department in 2009 as a lieutenant, also filed his papers Monday. Willie M. Mayes, a sergeant with the sheriff's office, filed for the Democratic nomination.
Sheriff Pat Perez is not seeking re-election.
Kane County Board member Mark Davoust and incumbent Jack Cunningham filed for the Republican nomination for clerk.
Also filing Monday for the Republican primary were John Martin of Geneva for District 11, and incumbents T.R. Smith for District 9, Maggie Auger for District 23, Rebecca Gillam for District 21, Phil Lewis for District 13 and Barb Wojnicki for District 15. Myrna Molina filed for District 1, Jennifer Laesch for District 3, and Deb Allan for District 17, on the Democratic side. All three are incumbents.
The odd-numbered board seats are up for election due to redistricting after the 2010 Census. Winners will serve four-year terms.
District 11 incumbent Mike Donahue is not running for re-election.
Also up for election next year is the county treasurer.
Filing ends Dec. 2.
On Monday, Sheriff John Zaruba, county board Chairman Dan Cronin, county Treasurer Gwen Henry and county clerk candidate Paul Hinds filed their paperwork. All are Republicans.
Zaruba, who has been sheriff since 1997, needed to collect roughly 1,500 signatures to get his name on the March ballot. He turned in about 7,000.
Cronin, who submitted his nominating petitions after the initial rush of filings, said he's seeking a second term to continue efforts to reform and consolidate local government.
"We've started something here that, I think, is significant -- reducing the size, scope and cost of local government," Cronin said. "I'm honored to carry on this big challenge. We've had some success. We've got a lot more work to do."
Three of the forest preserve commission's six members -- Shannon Burns, Linda Painter and Marsha Murphy -- are up for election. Painter and Murphy both filed on Monday.
• Daily Herald staff writer Robert Sanchez contributed to this story.