DuPage holds historically Democratic inauguration
A historic number of Democrats were sworn in Monday night to serve on the DuPage County Board and as county clerk and forest preserve president.
Before last month's election, Republicans held 17 of the 18 seats on the county board and every countywide post. Now Democrats have two countywide positions and seven county board seats.
"I'm excited to be collaborating and working together with everyone," said Sadia Covert of Naperville, one of the new Democrats on the county board. "Now, more than ever, we need to show positive leadership and the ability to work well with others."
The other freshman Democrats on the panel are Mary FitzGerald Ozog of Glen Ellyn, Sheila Rutledge of Warrenville, Ashley Selmon of Addison, Julie Renehan of Hinsdale and Dawn DeSart of Aurora.
They started their 4-year terms by being sworn into office Monday night along with fellow board members and countywide elected officials.
"This is pretty historic," Rutledge said before the inauguration ceremony in Wheaton. "It's also overwhelming for me. I'm trying to get through this night without too much emotion."
Sitting representatives who began new terms on the county board are Democrat Elizabeth Chaplin of Downers Grove and Republicans Pete DiCianni of Elmhurst, Grant Eckhoff of Wheaton, Greg Hart of Hinsdale, Sam Tornatore of Roselle and Jim Zay of Carol Stream.
Countywide elected officials who participated in the inauguration were county board Chairman Dan Cronin, Sheriff Jim Mendrick, County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek, Treasurer Gwen Henry and Darlene Ruscitti, the regional superintendent of schools.
"I'm going to work very hard for the citizens of DuPage County," said Kaczmarek, who is the first Democratic woman to serve as county clerk in DuPage. "Although it takes a political apparatus to elect someone to public office, my job is nonpartisan."
Also on Monday, Democrat Daniel Hebreard was sworn in as the president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve Commission. The Woodridge resident replaced Joseph Cantore, who served as president for four years.
Cronin, meanwhile, delivered his third inaugural address during the county's ceremony.
"As we begin our new chapter in governing, I'm energized both by our achievements and by the challenges that lie ahead," said Cronin, who has served as chairman since 2010.
He said DuPage officials have the opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner to solve problems and draft policies "that work for those who need help the most."
"I believe we can serve as a beacon of good government in a state that sorely needs a compelling example of county government that is responsive and responsible," Cronin said.
He said he will seek compromise.
"We must demonstrate what happens when leaders listen, collaborate and negotiate to arrive at thoughtful, creative solutions," Cronin said.