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posted: 2/18/2014 5:30 AM

Challenger only voice in Kane Co. District 3 race

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Don Ishmael may be running against himself in the Kane County Board District 3 contest.

The district, which is firmly seated in Aurora, is represented by incumbent Jennifer Laesch. But Laesch has been absent from county board committee meetings in recent weeks. While she did attend and cast votes at the most recent full county board meeting, she did not submit answers to a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire. And she has not responded to multiple requests for her to participate in endorsement interviews or questions about her recent absences.

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That leaves Ishmael, who has never been elected to public office, as the only Democratic candidate voicing his views and promising to be present to represent the interests of the district.

Ishmael said he is running for the seat to be a vocal member of the board while not getting too firmly anchored in the politics. He disagrees with Laesch's public statements that Kane County Board members should be full-time employees of the county. He promised to opt out of the available pension and health insurance benefits and limit himself to no more than two terms.

"I'm not doing this for a career," Ismael said. "I want my kids to understand you can't complain about things in life without trying to make things better."

Ishmael said the only potential caveat to his term limit policy would be if no other candidate stepped up to run.

"I don't want it to be a vacant seat where the county board president could just appoint somebody," Ishmael said. "But if someone has more passion than me, I'll step down."

Ishmael supports the Longmeadow Parkway project. He believes both the county board and forest preserve commission should freeze their tax levies "until it is not needed any longer."

"It depends on the economy," Ishmael said. "How much tax revenue are we taking in? How are we spending that money? Do we have seven supervisors supervising seven employees?"

Ishmael also supports redeveloping the old Settler's Hill landfill site and attached Fabyan Parkway campus. He said it's important to have a balance between passive open space and tax-generating uses at the site.

"The ultimate goal should be to stimulate the economy in the area," Ishmael said. "If we can use half the land as open space or activities for kids and the other half as something that creates tax revenue, I'm in favor of it."

The primary election is March 18. There is no Republican running.

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