McHenry County Highway Contractor Contributions

A major change that motorists will notice is the curve east of McHenry Avenue will be made gentler. The shift will also open up new commercial space for Crystal Lake as Material Service, owner of the land on both sides of the present curve, ends up with a much larger parcel of property to market. Click to enlarge.

The tradition of highway contractors contributing to political campaigns undoubtedly goes back decades, probably to the building of the first roads like the construction of Route 47 north of Huntley that Henry Marlow told me was built with horses.

Is it evil for a company doing work for county government contribute to campaigns of those in power?

Are there untoward implications?

Campaigns obviously cost money and not many significant ones are run on small contributions.

Even ones with significant volunteer effort, such as 8th Congressional District Congressman Joe Walsh’s, required well over $100,000.

You can make the value judgments, if you wish.

And, if you do, please think of how campaigns costing tens of thousands of dollars and growing each year the Post Office raises the cost of direct mail, should be financed.

You know that adequate space is not available in local newspapers to allow candidates to send out press releases and expect them to get published. Those days of when newspapers were willing to publish such campaign material ended shortly after my campaign for McHenry County Treasurer in 1966.

With big money being spent in McHenry County on Rakow Road’s widening and the Western Bypass’ construction, I thought it might be interesting to look up campaign contributions from those doing the work on the projects.

Today we look at contributions from Rakow Road contractors.

My original intention was to look at recent contributions, but so many older ones popped up in my search of the Illinois State Board of Elections

What you see is the plan for the Pyott Road intersection with the new six-lane Rakow Road. Those coming from the north from Pyott will be able to enter Rakow Road without stopping.

I started with Rakow Road. After all, it had a rainy, everyone-under-the-tent commencement ceremony recently.

The McHenry County Transportation Department send me documents for three contractors on Radow Road:

  • Patrick Engineering of Lisle
  • Mathewson Right of Way Company from Frankfort
  • Jorgensen & Associates of Lake Villa

Surveying company Jorgensen made no contributions I could find.

Mathewson Right of Way Company, whose job seems to be to work through the land acquisition process for road projects, made the following political donations.

Here’s the $5,500 given to Ken Koehler’s campaign fund:

  • 1-19-7 $550
  • 2-11-8 $500
  • 4-8-9 $500
  • 11-27-9 $500
  • 4-10-10 $1,000
  • 9-20-10 $1,000
  • 3-14-11 $1,000

In addition, State Rep. Mike Tryon received $250 on 8-4-10.

Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller’s campaign fund also received a 10-17-10 check for $500. His campaign committee filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections filing notes that his wife, County Board member Anna May Miller, is financed by the PAC. Miller is head of the County Board’s Transportation Committee.

Patrick Engineering’s donations are grouped below by recipient.

The McHenry County Republican Central Committee received regular contributions during the middle of the last decade:

  • 7-1-4 $1,000
  • 7-10-5 $1,000
  • 7-1-6 4 $1,000
  • 7-23-7 $1,000

My search found McHenry County Board member Ken Koehler got $3,300:

  • 1-19-7 $550
  • 2-11-8 $500
  • 4-27-9 $500
  • 11-27-9 $500
  • 8-24-10 $250
  • 9-20-10 $1,000

Former McHenry County Board Chairman, now-State Rep. Mike Tryon was another recipient:

  • 12-11-3 $250
  • 6-22-4 $500

So was State Senator Dan Duffy. He got $250 May 28, 2008.

McHenry County Recorder of Deeds Phyllis Walters was the wife of the man Rakow Road is named. Jim Rakow used to be McHenry County Highway Superintendent, although he was not when these contributions were made:

  • 10-4-99 $160
  • 10-5-2000 $240
  • 9-26-1 $250


McHenry County Highway Contractor Contributions — 1 Comment

  1. Jorgensen & Associates prepared the statutory plat highways and legal descriptions that were used by Mathewson Right of Way Company to purchase the proposed right of way for the project.

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