Endorsements: Cronin, Mendrick lead our endorsements in DuPage County

DuPage County Board chairman: Ask voters what they want and the answer is clear: Provide quality services, hold the line on property taxes and eliminate levels of government where appropriate. Under incumbent Republican Dan Cronin, who first was elected in 2010, the county board has kept its share of property taxes flat while maintaining a high level of services. It also has made progress on consolidating several governmental units. That's a record Democratic challenger Lynn LaPlante, a political newcomer, can't match. Cronin is endorsed.

DuPage County Sheriff: With John Zaruba retiring, voters will pick a new sheriff for the first time in two decades. Democratic challenger Gregory Whalen, a public safety lieutenant in Glencoe, impressed us, but Republican James Mendrick has spent more than 20 years in the sheriff's office and knows every phase of its operation. He has the support of deputies and has demonstrated he can get along with the county board and communicate with the public. Mendrick is endorsed.

DuPage County Clerk: Republican incumbent Paul Hinds normally would be an easy choice. He's worked in the office for more than two decades and during his first term, he helped make it even more efficient. But this isn't a normal year, because in 2019 the clerk's office will merge with the much-troubled election commission. Democratic challenger Jean Kaczmarek has been following the election commission - and been rightfully critical of it - for years. She was one of the first to call for the merger. In this unique time, Kaczmarek is uniquely qualified. Kaczmarek is endorsed.

DuPage Board District 1: Republican incumbents Sam Tornatore of Roselle and Dino Gavanes of Itasca are challenged by Democratic newcomers Ashley Selmon and Zahra Suratwala. Tornatore, a board member since 2012, is effective without flash and helped lead a push to repair or demolish nearly five dozen unsightly properties in the county at no taxpayer cost. Gavanes was appointed to the board in May and brings a business background. Tornatore and Gavanes are endorsed.

DuPage Board District 2: Incumbent Elizabeth Chaplin of Downers Grove is the only Democrat on the board and provides an important voice while still working across the aisle. GOP incumbent Pete DiCianni is a former Elmhurst mayor who has been a strong advocate for law enforcement and helped lead the effort to equip cops with EpiPens. Republican challenger Steve Nero of Westmont is an excellent candidate bumping up against two strong incumbents. Chaplin and DiCianni are endorsed.

DuPage Board District 3: A no-lose proposition for voters. Incumbent Republican Greg Hart of Hinsdale is a management consultant who joined the board in 2017 and took on roles dealing with mental health and opioids. GOP newcomer Martin Tully has an excellent track record as mayor of Downers Grove and was the most impressive candidate we talked to. Democrat Julie Renehan is an attorney from Hinsdale with a firm grasp of the issues and a likely choice in almost any other district. Hart and Tully are endorsed.

DuPage Board District 4: Republican Grant Eckhoff is the lone incumbent. A board member since 2002, he is a leader in consolidation and the battle against opioids. GOP newcomer Christopher Zaruba of Wheaton knows the issues and how to get things done. Democratic newcomer Mary FitzGerald Ozog of Glen Ellyn has done a good job on the Glenbard school board since 2011. Democrat Hadiya Afzal is a college student from Glen Ellyn. Eckhoff and Zaruba are endorsed.

DuPage Board District 5: All four candidates deserve consideration. Incumbent Republican Janice Anderson of Naperville has been a fiscal watchdog while working with the county's IT services. Republican Patricia Gustin understands the issues and is a top-notch Naperville City Council member. Democrat Dawn DeSart did an excellent job on the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board and demonstrated a commitment to open government. Sadia Covert is an attorney from Naperville who gained attention by co-authoring hate crimes legislation. She lacks a political background, but impressed us as an independent thinker who will bring new ideas to the board. Anderson and Covert are endorsed.

DuPage Board District 6: Republican incumbents Jim Zay of Carol Stream and Kevin Wiley of West Chicago have turned their experience into concrete results on taxes, flood relief and planning. The Democratic challengers Sheila Rutledge of Warrenville and Erica Green of Carol Stream. Zay and Wiley are endorsed.

James Mendrick
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