Tuesday's election: Key races in the Fox Valley
Voters in the Fox Valley will head to the polls on Election Day to settle heated races for mayor and school board seats. Here's a look at the key contests on Tuesday's ballot.
Elgin mayor and city council
• Incumbent Dave Kaptain and Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger are running for mayor in Elgin.
Rauschenberger said she wants to focus on the city's pension obligations, bring businesses -- especially young, local and small -- and higher residential density downtown, particularly market-rate rental units.
Kaptain said the city has to encourage converting existing buildings into residential units, but it's up to developers to tell the city what ventures they believe will be successful. The two most important issues facing Elgin are the education of youth and the upcoming renegotiation of the city's solid waste contract, he said.
• Seven candidates are running for four, 4-year seats on the Elgin City Council: incumbents John Steffen, Rose Martinez, Tish Powell and Toby Shaw, and challengers Dustin Good, Anthony Ortiz and Fred Moulton.
Baldemar Lopez, Steve Thoren and Jerri McCue are running for a vacant 2-year seat.
The candidates offered different positions on the most important issues facing Elgin.
Steffen said the city needs to maintain adequate services while keeping taxes and fees as low as possible and looking for ways to innovate.
Martinez pointed to a state mandate to fund pensions at 90 percent by 2040. She also wants to expand the Elgin Sports Complex and make the city a destination for sports events and tournaments.
Powell said she wants to address Elgin's negative image with a comprehensive campaign, and continue to address panhandling and homelessness.
Shaw said the city needs a five- to 10-year plan to address infrastructure needs, and needs to use technology to apply consistent code enforcement.
Good said he wants the city to create a civilian review panel for police complaints, and wants to improve transparency of how tax dollars are used with benchmarking comparison with other communities. The city also needs fiber-optic data networks, he said.
Ortiz wants to focus on youth, and pledged to donate his first year's councilman salary to a nonprofit organization he plans to start. He also wants to work with community organizations on college readiness for youth.
Moulton said he wants to ensure the fire department is properly staffed. He also believes Elgin's city hall is suffering from a "talent drain" from people leaving, and attributed that to high-level leadership.
Lopez said he wants to attract businesses to grow the commercial tax base, increase staffing levels at the fire department, and increase investment in after-school programs and neighborhood police patrols.
Thoren said he wants to make sure the city doesn't increase the tax burden on property owners.
He strongly supports continuing the city's historic preservation efforts.
McCue wants to attract a diverse tax base, develop a small business, revolving low-interest loan program, and address mental health needs.
Elgin Area School District U-46
Incumbents Jeanette Ward, Sue Kerr and John Devereux, and newcomers Tina Rio, Kathleen Thomme, Eva Porter, Daniel Hancock and Ina Silva-Sobolewski are vying for four, 4-year seats on the Elgin Area School District U-46 board.
Ward, Rio, Silva-Sobolewski and Hancock were unequivocal about not raising taxes, while the other four candidates said they would have to weigh that decision based on needs.
Devereux, Kerr, Porter and Thommes rejected the idea of arming school personnel, while Hancock, Silva-Sobolewski and Ward qualified their support as long as there is adequate training for employees.
Rio couldn't be reached for comment on this topic.
St. Charles Community Unit School District 303
Incumbent Kathleen Hewell and newcomers Jillian Barker, Michael Bryant, Rebecca McCabe and Garrett Seaman are running for three, 4-year seats in St. Charles School District 303.
Incumbent Nick Manheim is running for a two-year seat against newcomer Poonam Gupta-Krishnan.
The candidates had different thoughts on the fate of Haines Middle School, which will be shuttered at the end of this academic year.
Seaman says he wants to hold public forums, and any proposal should prioritize students.
Bryant said the district needs to have a long-term facilities plan to best determine how the space is used.
Hewell said the building could hold the special education transitions program and programs in partnership with the park district.
McCabe said the board can't let the building sit empty and wishes a decision had been made sooner out of courtesy to neighbors.
Barker supports creating more centralized administrative areas but is concerned about a proposal to use Medicaid money for renovations rather than for physical, speech and occupational therapy.
Gupta-Krishnan said she wants a more comprehensive evaluation of all options, including the sale, lease or renovation of the property.
Manheim said schools are community assets and anything done to the building must better the district.
To view candidate profiles, visit dailyherald.com/news/politics/election.