Democrats have primary races in four Kane County Board districts
Kane County Democrats have four contested races for county board seats in the primary election.
Incumbents in three districts face primary challengers. The retirement of one county board member has prompted primary races among Republicans and Democrats hoping to be District 11's new board member.
Here's a look at the Democratic candidates:
Incumbent Anita Marie Lewis is seeking her second term representing District 3, which includes part of Aurora.
Danny Perez, who at age 19 is one of the youngest candidates on the ballot, is challenging her.
No Republican candidate is currently seeking the District 3 seat.
Lewis, who lives in Aurora, said she is seeking reelection to continue work on economic development, mental health initiatives and the county's finances. She supports selling the property off Fabyan Parkway that once housed the Kane County sheriff's office and jail to help pay for other building needs.
In a candidate questionnaire, Lewis said she is opposed to increasing property taxes. She added the county will need to find ways to fund competitive salaries for county employees, maintain aging roads and bridges and fund new mandates passed along through the state's criminal reform bill.
Perez said he wants to "reinvigorate" his community. The Aurora resident identified mental health as one of his top concerns.
"I would like to tackle head-on the lack of attention of mental health in my district," he said, adding he wants to help bring an end to the stigma behind mental health. "Many issues like poverty, violence, substance abuse and more stem from not being able to handle ... mental health needs."
He said the county's finances are another priority. While he supports a proposed retail sales tax, he said the county also should look at "making not only small cuts but major and painful ones."
Geneva residents Leslie Juby, a substitute teacher, and Walter Lindwall, a teacher's aide and debate coach, are seeking their party's nomination in the June primary.
Incumbent John Martin, a Republican, is not seeking reelection. The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the GOP primary in the November election.
A former Geneva School District 304 board member, Leslie Juby said she is running because she wishes to serve her community.
"I believe strategic planning will allow the county to promote economic growth, protect our natural resources, upgrade our infrastructure and provide the services necessary to meet residents' needs," Juby wrote in a candidate questionnaire.
Juby said she supported using an anticipated surplus in the county's budget to help stave off the added expenses brought on by inflation. She suggested the county could also use some of that money to extend a property tax freeze and provide tax relief to residents.
Lindwall highlighted the need for younger people on the Kane County Board.
"I hope to give a voice to the over 46% of Kane County residents under the age of 35 that is sorely needed," the 25-year-old wrote in a candidate questionnaire.
He said he supports improving the county's public health and accessibility policies, increasing clean energy usage, ensuring fair labor practices and ensuring voter access to elections.
Lindwall said the county should take a "long lens" look at cost-saving measures. He supports progressive tax plans, such as a countywide sales tax, to generate funds to help cover county expenses and services to residents.
Incumbent Deborah Allan, an Elgin Democrat who was first elected to the county board in 2002, faces a primary challenge from fellow Democrat Franklin Ramirez, also of Elgin.
There is no Republican currently running to represent District 17.
"I have enjoyed being part of a government that is generous rather than punitive and is always looking for the best practices we can use to solve the problems we face," Allan responded in a candidate questionnaire. "My sole agenda is to keep leading Kane County in those directions that make our lives here a little easier and happier."
Allan said she would support a retail sales tax to help the county maintain a balanced budget as it deals with record inflation, works to improve salaries and help retain employees and addresses the needs of the county's aging buildings.
Ramirez said he would support "reasonable and responsible tax increases," but stressed it should be paired with a sensible spending plan that prioritizes and addresses short- and long-term needs.
"I am running for county board because we are one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and it feels as though we do not have a road map for the future," Ramirez wrote in his candidate questionnaire.
Incumbent Vern Tepe faces challenger Randy Hopp in the Democratic primary for District 22. Both are from Elgin.
The winner of the primary will face Jeffrey Meyer, of Elgin, in the November general election.
Tepe, first elected to the county board in 2020, said the county has been "kicking the can down the road" for too long as it relates to funding the county's budget and future needs related to inflation, employee salaries and mandated court changes.
"We must deal with funding," Tepe said. "My pledge will be to see that the residents of Kane County get the most value for the property, sales and gas taxes that they pay."
He said mental health, retention of county employees and inflation are among some of his top concerns. He also believes the county needs to address its issues with aging county buildings.
Hopp did not respond to the Daily Herald questionnaire.