DuPage GOP candidates tout experience in county board District 3 race

Updated 2/11/2018 5:07 PM
  • Martin Tully

    Martin Tully

  • Greg Hart

    Greg Hart

  • Greg Abbott

    Greg Abbott

A sitting mayor, a village trustee and a recently appointed county board member are seeking the Republican Party's nomination for two District 3 seats on the DuPage County Board in the March 20 primary.

All three say they have the knowledge and experience to help county government do more with less.

"What I bring to the board is a vast wealth of experience from a chief executive position," said Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, who is joined in the GOP primary by county board member Greg Hart of Burr Ridge and Greg Abbott, a Woodridge trustee.

The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November to face two Democratic nominees.

During their primary, Democrats will pick their two candidates from among Mehr Qayyum of Burr Ridge, Julie Renehan of Hinsdale and John Basco of Downers Grove.

Recently, the three Republican candidates met with the Daily Herald to discuss why they want to represent southeastern DuPage.

Hart, 30, said he wants to use his work experience to help address financial shortfalls caused by cutbacks in state funding.

"My unique experience as a management consultant would help me identify ways to make DuPage leaner," said Hart, who was appointed last September to finish the unexpired term of former county board member John Curran.

For example, Hart said, the county could cut costs by examining head count, streamlining government operations and reducing waste.

Abbott's cost-saving ideas include right-sizing staff and training workers to do multiple jobs.

"You need to squeeze more efficiencies out of what you have," said Abbott, a 54-year-old attorney.

He said the county should work with other units of local government to eliminate a duplication of services. The county, for example, should coordinate with townships to plow roads or have municipal departments -- not the sheriff's office -- patrol remote unincorporated areas.

"Right now, you have too many layers doing the same kind of thing," Abbott said.

Tully said the county should pursue innovative ways to keep costs down through collaboration, consolidation, public-private partnerships and better use of technology. He also said DuPage should increase its tax base through economic development.

"If you can grow your base, you don't have to grow your rate," said Tully, a 52-year-old attorney.

Tully said the county board should continue working with Choose DuPage -- the county's public-private economic development group -- to attract and retain quality businesses.

All three Republicans agreed that property taxes should remain flat for county government. Last fall, the county board kept DuPage's $66.9 million property tax levy steady, even though the county lost more than $3 million in state funding.

"We have to be fiscally responsible," Abbott said. "You just can't resort to raising taxes."

Hart said he was proud to vote on a county budget that didn't raise property taxes.

"We should always look to cut inefficiency and spending vs. raising any tax, regardless of whether it's a property tax or any other tax that we can impose," he said.

Talking about his experience with Downers Grove, Tully said the village used new technology to expand its engagement with the public. He said DuPage should use the same tactics to help residents get a better understanding of what county government does.

If residents are empowered with that information, Tully said, they can hold their representatives accountable.

District 3 includes all or parts of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Naperville, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.

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