Endorsements: Nowak, Chirikos, Gottemoller, Schmidt, Jung, Yensen for McHenry County Board
Voters in McHenry County Board districts 1,3 and 5 -- an area that covers most communities in the more heavily populated southeast portion of the county, including Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Cary and Huntley -- will choose from a field of experienced candidates on Election Day Nov. 4. In fact, six of the nine candidates seeking two seats in each district have spent at least some time on the county board, and a seventh has served 17 years as an elected township official. Only two are newcomers to county politics.
While there is something to be said for infusing a government panel with fresh ideas -- especially one that has at times stagnated as the McHenry County Board has in recent years -- experience wins out in these races.
District 1: Nowak, Chirikos
Incumbent Republican Robert Nowak has displayed a keen understanding of the county's need to protect its groundwater resources and supports much-needed upgrades to health department facilities. We also endorse Democratic incumbent Nick Chirikos, who has forward-looking positions about improving county resident's access to technology, and understands the significance of maintaining the county's strong credit rating. Republican newcomer Andrew Gasser asks good questions about county spending, but lacks concrete suggestions and his fellow candidates' knowledge of how county government works.
District 3: Gottemoller, Schmidt
Republican Joe Gottemoller has been among the leading forces behind the development of the county's Unified Development Ordinance and a voice of reason on numerous issues. We also support a return to the county board for Democrat Kathleen Bergan Schmidt, who supports a serious evaluation of whether the board's current structure best serves its constituents. Also running is Republican Donald Kopsell, the longtime highway commissioner in Nunda Township.
District 5: Jung, Yensen
Veteran Republican board member John Jung earns our endorsement for his specific ideas about keeping costs in check and understanding of groundwater needs. We also endorse Democrat Paula Yensen, a two-term incumbent, who backs efforts to make county government more accessible and transparent, such as video recording board meetings, and has been a leader in reshaping the county's stormwater ordinance. Republican Michael Rein shares many of his fellow candidates' views on issues facing the county, but has fewer specific approaches for dealing with them.