Republicans nearly sweep DuPage County Board races
Republican candidates for the DuPage County Board swept most of the seats, with only one Democratic holdover, Liz Chaplin of District 2, retaining her seat, making DuPage County a GOP haven on the county government level.
DuPage County Board Member Brian Krajewski (R-District 3), who was re-elected for another term, said the county had very qualified Republican candidates and that the county's voters elected whom they felt were the most competent choices for the seats.
Their local votes contrasted with whom they voted for on the national level, as a majority of DuPage voters chose Hillary Clinton for president and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for Senate. Chaplin kept her seat against challenger Richard Blass by only 50 votes. She will be the only Democrat on the 18-member county board.
“I think the voters of DuPage are very intelligent,” Krajewski told the DuPage Policy Journal. “They look at each race, especially each candidate and the qualifications of each candidate and whom they feel they would support.”
Krajewski said DuPage voters had differing opinions at the national level, but were in agreement at the local and state level because of the problems plaguing Illinois.
“They recognized that Illinois....is near the bottom of every statistical category you look at," Krajewski said. “The state has junk-bond status, and we’re toward the bottom for economic growth. People are fleeing the state. Clearly, there is a problem at the state level. They realize that the one constant for the last 40 years has been (House Speaker) Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who is the Democratic leader. I think the voters realize that.”
Republicans have done an excellent job in protecting DuPage residents, Krajewski said.
“You look at the county, and clearly, DuPage County has been a leader in efficiency and consolidation of government -- efficiency with regard to operations,” he said. “(The county) hasn’t raised taxes in the six years since I’ve been on board. In the last eight years, they froze the property taxes. We have two credit agencies that rated us triple A. That’s been run by, at the time, 16 Republicans and two Democrats. I think that people realize that the Republicans have been doing a really good job.”
Krajewski said DuPage is a leader in government efficiency, especially with its Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency Initiative (ACT), which Krajewski said ironed out inefficiencies.
“It’s worked so well that now McHenry County and Lake County have gone down to Springfield and got that same legislation,” he said. “Clearly, it is a model that you will start seeing replicated throughout the state to help streamline the government and make it more efficient. The voters in DuPage see that (the initiative) has been run by Republicans, and they like that.”
When asked if having a mostly Republican county board would create an echo chamber of consenting ideas and opinions, Krajewski said it would not be a problem.
“Even within our own Republican members on the board, we have diverse opinions,” he said. “That’s never been an issue with the few Democrats we had on board…Chairman (Dan) Cronin does not have people just saying 'yes' to everything he wants. He has been a very good leader and wanted a team approach. He listens to what board members have (to say), and sometimes they may be different than his opinion, but he goes with what the majority of the board wants.”
Krajewski said the board is a collaborative effort, with differing opinions, and that the results will reflect these efforts.
Looking to the future, Krajewski said he believes the board will continue to work on ACT and consolidate what it can. He said the board also will look at doing what it can to help the state, especially in regard to passing a balanced budget.
“We can continue to do what we are doing, but in order to really make a difference, not only in DuPage, but in the state as a whole, we need reform at the state level, and we need a budget passed,” Krajewski said.
Organizations in this Story
421 N County Farm Rd
Wheaton, IL 60187
421 N County Farm Rd
Wheaton, IL 60187