Republican candidates, officials and citizens gathered at Huntley’s Parkside Pub outdoor area on Wednesday evening.
There was a good deal of informal mixing before Coroner candidate Michael Rein starting introducing candidates.
The first to speak was newcomer Damon Hill.
He is running for the County Board in District 5, which covers most of Dorr Township and much of Grafton Township.
He told of being interviewed at the Farm Bureau.\
“Why are you running?” was the first question.
“It was either that or leave the state,” he replied.
“There’s a point you reach and you just bail,” he continued.
Damon and his wife Michele, a Registered Nurse, live on the little farm just north of Route 176 on Dean Street, the place with an old caboose next to a pond.
They raise pigs, sheep, chickens and market them from their property.
“I’m looking forward to making some big changes on the Board and standing up to Jack Franks.”
That brought a hearty round of applause.
Circuit Clerk Kathy Keefe was next.
She told of having worked in the office for thirty-three years and having been the elected Circuit Clerk for twelve years.
Though automation she has cut the staff by twenty-one, a twenty-seven percent decrease.
The annual savings is $1.2 million.
“We’ve done more with less,” Keefe said, pointing out that the office had become more transparent in the process with records now online.
“Jack Franks likes to take credit [for savings], but it’s departments like our own and the State’s Attorney and the Sheriff that made the cuts.”
McHenry County Board member Jim Kearns spoke next.
“If Mike Buehler wins this election [against Jack Franks], every Republican is in,” he stated.
“The one thing Jack Franks never takes any credit for is the sexual allegations in Springfield,” the Huntley native continued.
“If he doesn’t like you, he tries to destroy you.”
Kearns told of Franks’ efforts to get rid of the independently-elected offices of Coroner and Auditor.
“We give him too much credit.
“We just need to stand up to him.
“He is nobody.
“How can you vote for a gentleman who you don’t trust around your wife , your daughter, your granddaughter?”
County Auditor Shannon Teresi followed Kearns.
“I am running on crushing corruption.”
She told of challenging Franks recently for spending $32,000 on on a mailing, “basically a political mailing.”
The CPA told of her training in forensic accounting and that she now had an assistant with the same background as a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Teresi was accompanied by her four-year old son to whom she explained her job this way:
“I catch the bad guys at work.”
Teresi reported she now reviews purchase requests to see if department heads have to obtain County Board approval before proceding.
“All invoices come electronically.”
She emphasized how important it was to elect Mike Buehler County Board Chairman.
The Auditor also praised Kathy Keefe for reaching o”to be sure that the internal controls in the Circuit Clerk’s office” were strong enough.
“Take a sign.
“My husband wants them out of the house,” she concluded.
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