Endorsements: LaPlante, Mullen in Democratic primaries for DuPage County Board seats
The changing face of politics in DuPage County is on full display in the Democratic primary in county board District 4, where five Democrats - Hadiya Afzal, Janette DeFelice, John Jacobs, Lynn LaPlante and Hailey Nicewanner - are seeking their party's nod to challenge incumbent Republican Tim Elliott in the November general election.
There was a time not long ago when DuPage Democrats couldn't have found five candidates to run for anything.
This is a strong and intriguing field. Nicewanner declined to participate in endorsement interviews, but the four others all demonstrate a solid grasp of the issues and reflect their party's values by favoring legalization of recreational cannabis in unincorporated areas; pushing efforts to make the county more green; questioning some county spending policies, especially for lobbyists; and pledging to bring a fresh and transparent perspective to the board.
Of the five, the one most likely to have an immediate impact if elected in November is LaPlante, who less than two years ago rode a blue wave to come within roughly 10,000 votes of unseating Chairman Dan Cronin.
Make no mistake, LaPlante of Glen Ellyn is a partisan fighter. She says she wants to use her seat both as a bully pulpit and to effect change through legislation. She promises to avoid the infighting that has plagued her party since it won six seats in the last general election.
That remains to be seen, but she's the most prepared for November in the district that includes all or parts of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Lombard, Wheaton and Winfield. LaPlante is endorsed.
Two of the strongest DuPage County Board candidates we've seen in a long time are running in the Democratic primary in District 5, where Amy Chavez of Naperville and Mary Jo Mullen of Lisle are facing off to win the right to face Republican newcomer Kevin Coyne in November.
Chavez is a former sales executive making her first foray into politics. Mullen is an engineer and Lisle Township supervisor.
District 5 has become a hotbed of political intrigue since the November 2018 election when Democrats Dawn DeSart of Aurora and Sadia Covert of Naperville captured both open seats - and immediately began a feud that has divided the party.
Chavez and Mullen both say they will bridge the divide within their own party and with Republicans. Both understand the issues facing the county and demonstrate the knowledge, intelligence and approach to get things done for their district, which includes all or parts of Aurora, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville and Woodridge.
Democrats can't go wrong with either candidate. But while Chavez is a newcomer to politics, Mullen already has demonstrated an ability to get things done as a Democrat heading a Republican-dominated township board. That experience will be invaluable going forward.
Mullen is endorsed.