With work nearing completion on a long-awaited Unified Development Ordinance, changes planned to an often criticized stormwater management ordinance, decisions to be made about Randall Road expansion, and perhaps even the establishment of a new countywide office, the next McHenry County Board will have a lot on its agenda. Republicans in four of the board's six districts, including several incumbents, are in contested primaries March 18.
District 1, GOP:
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The three candidates vying for two spots in the Republican primary voice similar goals and concerns. Incumbent Robert Nowak and challengers David Stieper and Andrew Gasser all see a need for transportation improvements and oppose the continuous flow intersection planned for Randall and Algonquin roads; lament rising property taxes and declining property values; and talk about the importance of attracting business development. What sets two of the three apart are their credentials. Nowak has county board experience, plus a resume that includes serving as director of building, planning and zoning for the village of Cary. Stieper has a background in law and business with stints on Barrington Hills' plan commission and zoning board. We endorse Nowak and Stieper.
District 3, GOP
District 3 voters have one easy choice, and one difficult one. Four qualified candidates seek two GOP nominations, but one stands out. Incumbent Joseph Gottemoller, a real estate and zoning attorney, is an obvious choice. In less than two years on the board, Gottemoller has become one of its most valuable members, and is a leader in the Unified Development Ordinance effort. A more difficult choice exists between School District 47 board member and CPA Nancy Gonsiorek and attorney Sarah Jansen, a former assistant McHenry County state's attorney. Both would serve capably, but Gonsiorek has the benefit of experience both on the school board and as a Nunda Township plan commissioner. Former Nunda Township Highway Commissioner Donald Kopsell also is running. We endorse Gottemoller and Gonsiorek.
A pair of inexperienced newcomers, Woodstock chiropractor Michael Rein and former sheriff's deputy Zane Seipler, join longtime incumbent John Jung in the District 5 primary. Jung has a proven record as a board member highlighted by his leadership of the board's Human Resources Committee and his work with the Youth Peer Jury system. Seipler is passionate about public service and has reasoned stances on many issues, but we worry about his ability to serve amid an ongoing bitter legal fight with his former boss, Sheriff Keith Nygren and many in his administration. Rein, while by his own admission is in need of a "learning curve," seems ready to look at the big picture. We endorse Jung and Rein.
Incumbents Ersel Schuster and Michele Aavang face Larry Smith in a contest featuring three able candidates. Schuster may not always take popular stances, but her knowledge and willingness to challenge convention have a place on the board. Aavang, president of the McHenry County Farm Bureau, brings a farming background needed in a county that still has a large agricultural economy. We endorse Schuster and Aavang.