As the new Kane County Board finished taking its oath of office, a video montage of athletes training, succeeding and boasting cued up on the projection screen. The audio of various halftime speeches played over the images. Muhammad Ali's trash talking to George Foreman looped throughout the spot, "I'll show you how great I am."
And that's how state Sen. Chris Lauzen began his term as the new Kane County Board chairman Monday. Lauzen played the video for the new county board as part of his oath of office. It was a challenge to the board to work as a team under a set of guidelines Lauzen laid out.
"First, just do a good job," Lauzen said. "Second, our proper conduct is moderation and balance, not competition and political ambition. Our goal is no partisan, gender or racial division."
Lauzen's campaign staff members and supporters indicated that will manifest in committee chairman appointments and staffing that is bipartisan, with both men and women in leadership roles. Lauzen said he will announce his appointments early next week.
He already announced Dawn Barsanti will be his executive assistant. She is the wife of judge and former Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti.
Lauzen also pledged several principles that will guide his conduct as chairman.
"I will treat you respectfully," Lauzen said to the new board. "I ask the same in return. I will never press you to vote for something that you don't believe in. I know what that feels like, and it doesn't feel good. However, if you're relatively neutral or indifferent on a subject that's important to me, I'll ask you to give me the benefit of the doubt and vote with me. We will work hard, stay honest and use common sense."
Lauzen said the new county board will also mean a new day for county employees and taxpayers. Lauzen said his own gauge of morale among county employees is that it is "so low that there is an atmosphere of resentment and fear that needs to be corrected." He renewed his campaign pledges to end "any perception of pay-to-play cronyism" and freeze property taxes.
"Kane County government can be known for saving its citizens money," Lauzen said. "We'll do this by coming together as a team. We are all reformers now."
Lauzen and the new county board are not expected to take any actions until Dec. 11 when the full board will meet for the first time. Lauzen will wear two hats between now and then. He will continue to serve as a state senator during the veto session in Springfield this week.