Algonquin Township Republican primary set for Feb. 23 will decide new supervisor
In the Republican primary set for Feb. 23, voters will decide who will serve as Algonquin Township's next supervisor, one of only two races for the township -- the second being highway commissioner -- that are actually contested out of the five races on the ballot this spring.
Primary voters will be asked to choose between three Republican candidates for supervisor: Elaine Ramesh, Randolph "Randy" Funk and Kirk Cole. The winner will appear on the April ballot where they are set to run uncontested.
"These days, a lot of people are discouraged with the national political situation and everything else," Ramesh said. "I think good people have to stand up and try and say, 'OK, I'll run for office, I think I could do a good job so let it be me.'"
Ramesh is a current Algonquin Township trustee and secretary of the McHenry County Republican Women's Club. She also previously served on the Barrington Hills Village Board. She said she is running for supervisor as a continuation of this service and to bring more female representation to township leadership.
Cole said he was motivated to run because he feels his background in the military and as a federal law enforcement officer makes him well-suited to bring more transparency and integrity to the township.
"I'm just a normal, everyday person, and I'm just out here to make a difference and make a better township for all of us," Cole said.
Funk has been working as the township's insurance agent for many years. He has never held public office but has for many years held a leadership role with the Crystal Lake Lions Club, which he said he is very passionate about.
After seeing not many new candidates running for township seats, Funk said he decided to give it a go because he feels more can be done to provide great services to residents in a fiscally responsible way.
One major issue at play in Algonquin Township is the question of whether it should exist in the first place, which all three supervisor candidates said they think it should.
In December, a petition was filed to add a question to the April 6 ballot asking voters whether they would like to abolish the local government unit in favor of a potential reduction on their property tax bills.
At the end of the year, Funk was at the center of an objection to the validity of that petition on the grounds that some of its signatures are allegedly invalid. When the Algonquin Township electoral board upheld Funk's objection and removed the question from the ballot, the petitioner responded with a lawsuit.
All three candidates for supervisor agreed that more public outreach is necessary to help township residents understand why the services it provides are worth having one more line on their property tax bill.
Cole said he thinks that upping transparency measures, such as offering a livestream of board meetings for easy viewing by the public, would allow residents to see the township as an asset rather than a burden.
The main services overseen by the township supervisor are financial aid services, snow removal and other highway and road maintenance, recycling services and social programs.
If elected, Funk said he would utilize his experience with the Lions Club and his connections within the community to take a more comprehensive approach to offering financial support services to residents who may be struggling right now.
Cole said he would lead with honesty and would have an "open-door policy" that would allow him to build his priorities off of what residents want out of the township.
Ramesh said she would like to do a better job at getting the word out about the financial aid available to residents, something that Funk and Cole echoed in their statements. She also stressed the value of the township's social programs like the bridge club in bringing the community together.