Our endorsement for DuPage County Board chairman: Greg Hart
This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.
During his three terms as DuPage County Board chairman, Dan Cronin has led the county's effort to provide quality services, hold the line on property taxes and eliminate levels of government where appropriate.
But with the Republican incumbent stepping down, it will be up to someone else to steer the direction of county government. That person will either be Democratic state Rep. Deb Conroy of Elmhurst or Republican county board member Greg Hart of Hinsdale.
Conroy and Hart each decided not to seek reelection to their current positions to make a bid to replace Cronin. Both are quality candidates.
Conroy has served Illinois House District 46 in the northeastern portion of the county since 2013.
Her accomplishments as a state lawmaker include chairing a mental health and addiction committee in the House and sponsoring legislation that requires insurance companies to cover mental health disorders. She also worked to pass legislation that eliminated unnecessary units of government, including the measure that gave DuPage the power to disband the former county election commission.
Conroy combated a culture of harassment and bullying against women in Springfield and stood up to former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Hart, meanwhile, has a strong record of accomplishment at the county.
He is a management consultant who joined the DuPage County Board in 2017 and took on roles dealing with mental health and opioids.
Hart was part of a decision to transfer the psychological services division from DuPage's community services department to the health department. The initiative saved the county nearly $1 million.
As co-chairman of DuPage's Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce, Hart has worked to find policies, initiatives and programs to battle the county's opioid epidemic.
He would bring executive management experience to the county board chairman position. His priorities include partnering with the sheriff and state's attorney on effective public safety policies, keeping taxes in check and maintaining a balanced budget. And he's already shown a commitment to those principles.
We expect the county board will continue to have a mix of Republican and Democratic members after the election. So the next chairman will need to work across the aisle to get things done.
Conroy has worked with Republicans in the General Assembly, including when she helped Cronin consolidate local governments in DuPage. But reaching out to the other side is different when your party holds a supermajority - or when yours is in the minority.
With Democrats controlling the county board the last two years, Hart had to get along with everyone. He showed the desire and temperament to do that.
Hart says one of his first acts as chairman would be to meet with every county board member, listen to everyone's priorities and find ways to work together.
He deserves the opportunity to try. Hart is endorsed.