Nobody had a clue about one question asked by an audience member, so, before jotting down a few notes about what the three candidates said at the McHenry County Young Republicans Candidates’ Night, let me share the topic:
“the corruption in Burton’s Bridge”
Burton’s Bridge is a little community straddling the Fox River between Prairie Grove and Island Lake on Route 176. It is unincorporated.
The biggest controversy I can remember was in the 1990′s when a strip joint opened for a while at a bar in a residential neighborhood. Limos bringing men in at least the first night. That sort of place.
Since then, I haven’t heard complaint one.
Needless to say, none of the candidates had a clue about the topic either and no audience members seems to have approached the two candidates who stayed more than a little while to talk to potential or, in Kent Gaffney’s case, actual constituents.
Besides Gaffney, appointed to fill out Mark Beaubien’s term, sate with challengers David McSweeney and Danielle Rowe on the McHenry County College stage.
Gaffney’s theme was his value as having headed the budget staff for the ten years before he was appointed State Rep. by a committee of McHenry, Lake and Cook County Republican officials.
In a word, “experience.” Experience in the area that virtually everyone agrees is the biggest problem in state government.
McSweeney emphasized his independence from current Republican House leadership…read Gaffney’s former employer and ardent supporter Tom Cross.
In a blow to the revolving door relationship of lobbyists to legislators, McSweeney said he would push for an absolute ban on ex-legislators being legislative lobbyists.
[Perhaps you noticed that Kevin McCarthy, one of the sponsors of the ComEd/Ameren rate hike bill just quit the Illinois House and has been hired as a ComEd lobbyist. "Isn't that special?," as the Church Lady would say.]
And from his attacks on township and county government, I’d have to say I see a theme of independence from local politicians as well.
He also struck out against township government…and McHenry County government. He charged both had “bloated” budgets.
Tea leaf reading is what I attempt to do and I can think of several potential incentives besides running with the theme that Illinois has too, too many units of local government for his attacks on the local partisan governments controlled by Republicans.
Gaffney is supported by Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller’s family in Cary. Just today, I’ve been told, his mailing featured the endorsement of Miller’s daughter Rebecca Lee in her role as head of the Algonquin Township Republican Central Committee. Miller’s wife Anna is a member of the McHenry County Board. You can find some other township and county officials endorsing Gaffney here.
So maybe township government run by supporters of your opponent are an easy target.
Just a theory, but hard to see how McSweeney could get hurt much politically.
The third candidate, Danielle Rowe, also stressed her independence, pointing out her “people’s endorsement” from the Illinois Tea Party.
Gaffney told of the committee that had been formed to study consolidation of governments. I think that is the committee Democratic Party State Rep. Jack Franks sponsored after he had not too much success in taking over townships in his legislative district. No luck in Greenwood Township, for instance, where he put on a full-court press using his campaign fund’s resources.
At the Marengo Expo Marengo Township Supervisor Steven Weskerna told of discussing the subject with Franks on Saturday, as he asked my opinion. Weskerna was on one of the Marengo-area grade school boards when three of the four districts consolidated.
He said all of the savings were eaten up as they equalized the lower salary schedules upward to that of the highest paid teachers.
I suggested that townships needed to develop cost-benefit data which would show, for instance, what road district employee costs are now and what the employees would be paid under the union contract covering county road workers. It’s hard to believe that the total cost would be less under county control.
Another issue proponents on getting rid of township government ignore is how much subsidy that taxpayers in the developed townships would pay in order to bring up the most rural townships’ roads and bridges up to acceptable standards.
And, that’s not even addressing the point of whether county snow trucks would leave the most rural roads until last, much as side streets in Chicago are at the end of the line during a major snow storm.
Finally, Rowe defended townships as better because they are more local that county government would be.
= = = = =