Batavia Republicans endorse city, school candidates in nonpartisan election

  • One side of a flyer sent out by the Batavia Township Republican Organization, announcing candidates it has endorsed in Batavia school and city council elections.

    One side of a flyer sent out by the Batavia Township Republican Organization, announcing candidates it has endorsed in Batavia school and city council elections.


The Batavia Township Republican Organization is throwing its support behind several candidates in nonpartisan Batavia city and school board elections, saying the candidates share GOP values.

In a half-page mailer this week to Republican voters, the group announced it endorsed Christopher Solfa and Davie Niekamp for the school board. It also endorsed Leonard Solfa for Ward 2 alderman, Susan Alderson for Ward 4 and Michael Woerner for Ward 5.

It calls for electing candidates who:

• Are "accountable to the community, both informing and listening."

• "Distinguish between needs and wants, recognizing resources are limited."

• "Create an optimal learning environment for every student, including single-sex locker room and bathroom facilities as permitted under federal and Illinois law."

Several parents of Batavia schoolchildren were critical last year when the district allowed a sixth-grade student who was biologically a boy but identified as a girl to use a girls' locker room at Rotolo Middle School.

The Republican organization's mailer also tells people that just because there are three openings on the school board, voters don't have to vote for three people.

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"When the ballot says, 'Vote for 3,' it really means, 'Vote for UP TO 3,'" the mailer states.

"Voting for a candidate that you really don't want, just to make 3, may help that candidate win, pushing out your preferred candidate."

Six people are running for school board. The other candidates are incumbents Cathy Dremel and Christopher Lowe, and Scott Naylor and Erin Meitzler.

The Batavia Township Republican Organization is made up of elected and appointed committeemen. Its website lists committeemen for three of the township's precincts. The Kane County clerk's website indicates there are four Republican committeemen.

Its chairman is Sylvia Keppel, founder of Batavians for Responsible Government.

In particular, she unsuccessfully campaigned for the school district not to install artificial turf at Batavia High School. She also urged the district to use $6 million it received upon the expiration of the tax-increment financing district for the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall area, in which property taxes above a certain point were kept for redevelopment. That would have kept the school district's property tax levy flat, or at least not increase it as much as it was allowed to, and substantially lowered tax bills on other properties in the district, Keppel argued.

The flyer lists lower taxes, personal responsibility, prudent spending, strong families, smaller government, accountability and respect for all human life as Republican values.


"This is the first time we have sent out postcards for a municipal election. Though technically a non-partisan election, municipal elections have a direct impact on quality of life and a family's finances, and we felt Republican voters deserved some insight into which candidates shared their values," Keppel said.

"Quite frankly, the 'non-partisan' nature of municipal elections has only helped to further advancement of Democrats in local government, so that now they are a majority in Batavia. The Progressives of Kane County have not been shy about endorsing candidates in Batavia's past local elections. It's time Republicans got in the game with a concerted effort to reach Republican voters city-wide."

Roughly 3,200 people cast Republican ballots in 2018 in Batavia Township, according to county records.

Keppel said eligible candidates could not have taken a Democratic ballot in a primary election. Candidates were invited to speak at an endorsement meeting in February, where committeemen and several members of the public asked questions.

Committeemen are elected to 2-year terms in primaries. In 2012, there were 18 Republican committeemen elected in Batavia Township. That dropped to seven in 2014, seven in 2016 and three in 2018. Vacancies can be filled by people appointed by the chairman of the party's county central committee.

The Democratic Party of Kane County has posted a list highlighting which candidates in all races are Democratic Party committeemen. The list also mentions that the Elgin Township Democrats have issued endorsements.

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