Here’s the five-minute talk that Republican County Board Chairman candidate Mike Walkup gave Monday at the League of Women Voters event that Democrat Jack Franks refused to attend:
Mike Walkup’s Address to the League of Women Voter’s Forum
This is the first time in our history that the McHenry County board chairman will be elected by all of the people of McHenry County instead of being appointed by the board members.
It is therefore very important that both candidates have a chance to talk about the race and respond to questions posed to both of them with opportunities for mutual responses.
But where is Jack?
It should come as no surprise that Rep. Franks is not at this forum.
He also ducked this same forum two years ago when he was running for his 9th term as state representative.
Perhaps he didn’t want to have to explain then how he was supposed to have retired after 3 terms as promised before his razor thin victory in 1998.
Were he to show up this year, he would have to explain in addition how he was quoted by the Northwest Herald as saying, in response to a question about whether his campaign to have the county board chairman elected at large was because he wanted to run for the position;
“I will not run for county chairman in 2016.”
And they were not inconsequential lies because the first enabled Mr. Franks to eek out a 130 vote election victory to put him in Springfield where he has remained ever since, and the second enabled the referendum to pass which has allowed him to run for county board chairman this year.
He has continued along the same vein in this election by distorting what the position is all about and what he would be able to do if elected.
That is the same as a lie.
Unlike Mr. Franks, I am running for Chairman of the McHenry County Board.
He is running for dictator of McHenry County.
We know this because he told WGN radio in an interview earlier that he was seeking the office because he “wants to run McHenry County”.
McHenry county government does not ‘run McHenry County’ and the county board chairman does not run McHenry county government.
We have a professional county administrator for the latter.
No unit of government ‘runs McHenry County’.
We have over 100 separate and independent units of local government, most with their own taxing authority.
By state statute, the county board chairman merely chairs the meetings of the full county board and performs any other functions solely at the pleasure of the county board.
That’s why the county board chairman needs to be someone who has or can quickly forge a good working relationship with the board.
We will not get anywhere by having four years of ‘board wars’ similar to what we saw in Chicago during the terms of Jayne Byrne and Harold Washington.
It will paralyze county government.
We have, in McHenry county government, one of the best functioning governments anywhere around, certainly much better than the state government of which Mr Franks has been a part for 18 years.
We do not need a Springfield in Woodstock.
We do not need a Mike Madigan in McHenry County.
We need someone who recognizes that he is a facilitator, not a dictator.
As for myself, I have been on the county board for the past 3+ years.
During that time county government has reduced it’s budget by over ten percent, a savings of more than $20 million per year.
We were also the first local government of which I am aware that did not take the allowed cost of living increases, which is a permanent reduction of about $2.5 million per year amounting to over $10 million so far.
Last year I spearheaded the effort to take a temporary pass on the valley hi special tax levy, saving $3 million or 4.6% of the property tax bill attributable to county government, and am pushing for that to become a permanent elimination this year.
Despite all of that, the county retains a triple A bond rating and our financial director received a major award this year, one of several the county has received over the past few years.
Compare that with the situation in Springfield.
County government is doing its part to reduce property taxes. Other units of government now need to follow its example.
If elected the first ever county board chairman, I hope to continue with the good work we have started by recommending to the board further reductions in a responsible fashion that do not impair vital services on which our county residents depend.
Furthermore, I will not serve more than two terms as chairman, will not to seek any other offices during that time, and I will not back down from that pledge for any reason.