Endorsements: Berman, Davoust, Hanson, Starrett, Tepe, Thomas for Kane County Board seats

After a sometimes tumultuous and always frugal eight years under the guidance of County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, Kane County Board members in December will have a chance for a fresh start with new leadership and opportunities to build upon recent progress.

Vying for a seat on that new board in the March 17 primary are 13 candidates hoping to win their party's nomination in six board districts.

Dist. 2, Democrat: Berman

After more than a decade of leading a village, longtime North Aurora Mayor Dale Berman hopes to move from municipal to county government. He's facing former East Aurora School District 131 board member Richard Leonard of Aurora for the Democratic nomination for the board's District 2 seat. While Leonard touts his business experience and "common sense" approach to issues, he also expresses a little too much rigidity when it comes to maintaining the county's long-standing freeze on its property tax levy. Berman is more open to creative approaches to addressing the county's revenue needs and his experience overseeing municipal finances for 12 years as mayor should translate well to the county board. We endorse Berman.

Dist. 4, Democrat: Thomas

Incumbent Angela Clay Thomas of Aurora faces two challengers in the Democratic primary for her District 4 seat. Mavis Bates, a small-business owner from Aurora, radiates enthusiasm for public service and would bring a technological background and dedication to environmental causes to the board. However, she's also a member of the Fox Valley Park District board, a position she intends to maintain even if elected to the county board. We cannot endorse her for that reason. Candidate Nicholas C. Guillermo did not participate in the Daily Herald endorsement process. That leaves Thomas who, even without her challengers' disqualifiers, likely would earn our endorsement. She's shown dedication to addressing issues in her district and the county as a whole, has good ideas about revenue opportunities, and is thought highly of by her peers, who in 2018 unanimously elected her as the board's vice chairman. We endorse Thomas.

Dist. 6, GOP: Hanson

The Democratic primary in District 6 features two experienced, qualified and capable candidates. The seat's former holder, Ron Ford of Aurora, is seeking to win back the post. To do that, he'll first have to earn the party's nomination from incumbent Matt Hanson, also an Aurora resident.

Ford is a strong candidate. He has deep community roots, an understanding of the issues and in his previous tenure showed an admirable willingness to work across party aisles when it served the county's interests. But we're impressed by Hanson's work on the board since he defeated Ford write-in candidacy in the 2018 election.

He's been at the forefront of public safety efforts, such as the resumption of the sheriff's electronic monitoring program, and has shown a commitment to upgrading the county's infrastructure. We endorse Hanson.

Dist. 10, GOP: Starrett

Former Batavia alderman David Brown is challenging incumbent Susan Starrett of North Aurora for the Republican nomination in District 10. Brown would bring more than 20 years of local government experience to the board, along with a commitment to addressing safety issues like the intersection of Route 31 and Fabyan Parkway and maintaining the forest preserves.

Starrett's experience and track record of accomplishment on the board, however, make her the stronger candidate. A fiscal conservative, Starrett has been a champion for mental health and juvenile justice reforms, and her expertise in medical billing to helped guide the county board through difficult discussions about employee health insurance. We endorse Starrett.

Dist. 14, GOP: Davoust

Longtime incumbent Mark Davoust of St. Charles faces a challenge from political newcomer Steven Oscarson for the Republican nomination in District 14. Oscarson, a CPA for a large law firm, is a worthy candidate with a strong financial background, firm grasp of the issues and welcome enthusiasm to serve his community. But he faces an experienced and accomplished incumbent in Davoust, a hardworking, pragmatic board member who's been especially effective on forest preserve matters. We endorse Davoust.

Dist. 22, Democrat: Tepe

Randy Hopp and Vern Tepe, a pair of familiar faces in Elgin-area politics, are seeking the Democratic nomination for the District 22 seat. Hopp, who served a contentious term on the Gail Borden Library District board, undoubtedly is knowledgeable on issues facing the county. But his troubling history - including a 2017 conviction for stealing campaign signs and a ban from the Borden library over frequent clashes with staff - leaves us unable to endorse his candidacy. We can enthusiastically endorse Tepe, an Elgin Township trustee who successfully pushed for a formal investment policy and more transparency from the township. We're especially impressed by Tepe's advocacy for mental health initiatives. We endorse Tepe.

Angela Clay Thomas
Matt Hanson
Susan Starrett
Mark Davoust
Vern Tepe
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