Endorsement: Lauzen in bid to return as Kane County chairman
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, who can be a polarizing figure on his best day, has a battle on his hands to retain his chief executive seat.
Fellow Republican Ken Shepro, the former county board attorney, is challenging Lauzen because he says "what (Lauzen) has brought is a culture of intimidation, confrontation and the inability to take criticism."
And to think the two used to trade books about "Casablanca."
Shepro, 65, of Wayne, has been active in local politics and civic involvement for nearly 30 years. He continues as chairman of the St. Charles Township GOP and is the attorney for the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District. He has been critical of Lauzen touting the frozen property tax levy ("You can't govern by slogan. ... I will also continue to freeze the levy.")
One can't ignore Shepro's deep involvement in the workings and decision-making of the fire district, which is crippled financially amid talk of everything from asking for a tax increase to dissolving. Shepro was part of the team that broke ties with the city of St. Charles when the district was created several years ago.
Lauzen, 63, is not without shortcomings. His obsession with repeatedly criticizing the coroner -- who has done a solid job under trying circumstances -- remains baffling. He waffled on Longmeadow Parkway, and the Kane County Connects digital newspaper, which seems to be well run, had a rough start. His hand-picked leader for animal control proved disastrous.
So, yes, there have been blips on the county radar since Lauzen took office in 2012, but overall, the Aurora native has skippered a smooth-sailing ship. He generally gets along with most on the board and has kept his campaign promise of a flat property tax levy. The county continues to add to its surplus, it has inked most union contracts and found ways to give workers pay increases.
If it's true people vote with their wallets, the former state senator's fiscal discipline cannot be overlooked. Lauzen is endorsed.