Endorsement: Sanguinetti for DuPage County clerk

This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Democratic incumbent Jean Kaczmarek is facing a challenge from former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti in the DuPage County clerk race.

Before being elected clerk four years ago, Kaczmarek was a self-described election watchdog who supported a plan to eliminate the county's election commission and return its duties to the clerk's office.

At the time, the Glen Ellyn resident received our endorsement because she was a longtime critic of the election commission and was one of the first to call for the merger. We believed she was uniquely qualified to oversee the transition.

To Kaczmarek's credit, the merger did go smoothly. She also worked to replace aging election equipment. Last October, the county board approved a plan to replace DuPage's outdated electronic voting machines with a new paper ballot system.

But there is more to the clerk's office than handling elections.

We were reminded of that fact when DuPage learned it had missed out on 18 months of marijuana tax revenue because of a failure to properly notify the state to collect the money on the county's behalf. The county lost up to $4 million in estimated revenue.

Understandably, the county board in May wanted to have a public discussion with Kaczmarek about what happened. The clerk's office was supposed to send a copy of the October 2019 ordinance to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Kaczmarek declined an invitation to meet with board members. Instead, she has blamed DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin's administration for not following up with the state on the implementation of the marijuana tax.

As a countywide elected official, Kaczmarek should be willing to meet with county board members and answer tough questions, especially when she demanded accountability and transparency from others in the past.

Meanwhile, Sanguinetti has a noteworthy record of public service. The Wheaton Republican was a city council member before becoming the nation's first Latina lieutenant governor. As lieutenant governor, Sanguinetti worked to reduce the size and cost of government as chairwoman of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force. The panel made 27 recommendations, including several that became law.

She also sought ways to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Illinois as co-chair of an Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

If elected clerk, Sanguinetti says she would regularly attend county board meetings and make herself available to answer any questions about how she runs the office. She is endorsed.

Jean Kaczmarek
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