Four vying for two DuPage County Board District 6 seats

Democratic challengers hope to unseat Republican incumbents

 
 
Updated 9/30/2016 12:03 PM
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  • Jim Zay

    Jim Zay

  • Laurie Nowak

    Laurie Nowak

  • Bob Larsen

    Bob Larsen

  • Michael Dobosiewicz

    Michael Dobosiewicz

Editor's note: Jim Zay has served on the DuPage County Board since 1999. His challenger, Laurie Nowak, served on the board from 2012-2014, but never took Zay's seat.

Two Republican candidates are hoping to keep their spots on the DuPage County Board to represent District 6 for another two or four years.

Voters will select one candidate for the 2-year seat and another for the 4-year seat Nov. 8.

The district covers all or parts of Bartlett, Hanover Park, Carol Stream, West Chicago, Wayne, Roselle, Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Wheaton, Winfield, Naperville, Warrenville, Aurora and St. Charles.

2-year seat

James Zay of Carol Stream has served on the board since 1999. He says his challenger, Democrat Laurie Nowak, was unproductive during her two years on the board and voters should focus on his record, experience and accomplishments when voting in November.

"We need people who are serious, they want to be there, that will not just make innuendos and say things, but actually be engaged and work for the people in the county, in our district," he said.

Zay, who also is chairman of the DuPage Water Commission, said he treats the position as a full-time job. As vice chairman of the board's finance committee, he said he has worked to fairly allocate expenditures while ensuring taxpayers are receiving the highest value in public service from the county. He said he will continue finding ways for the county to be more efficient and will not support the county becoming home rule

"That's an easy way to raise money, but I don't think that's the way residents want to do it," he said. "I think if we want to raise revenues at the county, we should go ahead and if we have to do it, do it by referendum."

Nowak, who served on the board from 2012 to 2014, said she is dedicated to being a servant leader and would bring better representation to people who might feel underserved in the district, including women and youth.

"I would bring a much-needed diverse dynamic back to the board and ensure better representation of DuPage," she said.

Nowak, who has worked for AmeriCorps and is originally from Bartlett, said she was running again because she thinks she can make a difference and has "the courage to change the things that I can here."

"State and national politics, we feel so frustrated by the lack of representation," she said. "In our own backyard, we shouldn't be seeing the same games and tricks going on, and there should be such a higher level of accountability."

She thinks the county needs to get more serious about consolidation and has criticized Zay for taking a pension, which he said was "just there because of my longevity."

"I think saying, 'It was just there, so I took it,' that's exactly what's wrong with government," she said.

4-year seat

Robert Larsen, a retired Marine and attorney from Wheaton, has been on the board since 2010. He thinks the top three issues facing District 6 are flooding, protection of open spaces and the need for economic development.

"Good government is hard work," he said. "It takes rolling up your sleeves. There are no magic wands, there are no magic formulas to make it work correctly. You have to, every single day, figure out ways to control the cost and scope of government because it will grow on its own if you don't manage it on a day-to-day basis."

Larsen said he supports consolidation efforts and says the county needs to continue working to eliminate redundancy and find more efficiencies through intergovernmental cooperation.

He also has turned down a pension through his position on the board and said pensions for board members should end.

"I'm proud of what I've done since I've been on the county board, of controlling the cost of government while delivering top-notch services for the people of DuPage County," he said.

Larsen's opponent Michael Dobosiewicz, a Democrat from Warrenville, said his interest in running for board stems back to hearing about his mother's job with the county's juvenile probation department and his own experience as an animal control officer for the county.

Dobosiewicz now works in IT for a large corporation and said his work experience in both the public and private sector gives him a unique perspective.

"Some issues I don't see eye-to-eye with the county board, and I wanted to offer a new point of view," he said.

Dobosiewicz said the county should not only work to build a strong business climate, but also invest in the public good through the support of things like the Convalescent Center and addiction treatment services and prevention.

"These two things are not mutually exclusive. If I am elected, it will be my guiding principle," he said.

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