DuPage GOP hopes to keep converting Democrats through common-sense policies
The DuPage County Republican Party sees opportunities to expand the party’s influence in 2017 since the blue tide that gave Democrat Hillary Clinton a 15-point margin of victory in the county’s polling numbers petered out down the ballot.
“We’re pretty optimistic that Republicans are going to continue being elected,” county GOP Chairman Brian Krajewski told the DuPage Policy Journal. The party will be looking to build its base as it focuses on electing Republicans running in elections in nine townships in the spring, Krajewski said. Those offices include trustees, highway commissioner, clerk and supervisor.
Generally, Illinois townships are responsible for maintaining roads and bridges, assessing local property taxes, and aiding the indigent. The DuPage townships consist of Wayne, Bloomingdale, Addison, Winfield, Milton, York, Naperville, Lisle and Downers Grove.
Krajewski pointed to the county GOP’s showing in the November vote, when the party picked up another seat on the county governing board. Now the board is made up of 17 Republican members vs. one Democrat.
“Residents here in DuPage are comfortable with the way things are being run,” Krajewski said.
Though in county voting Republican Donald Trump finished behind Clinton in the November presidential race, a majority of county voters supported the GOP candidate for state controller, Leslie Geissler Munger, over Democrat Susana Mendoza, who won the statewide race.
Republicans also prevailed in county offices – state’s attorney, circuit court clerk, county auditor, coroner and recorder – Krajewski said. Indeed, Democrats did not even field candidate in the state’s attorney and coroner race in DuPage, which is adjacent to Democrat-dominated Cook County.
DuPage County’s success can also be seen in the population flow from the Chicago region into the county, according to Krajewski. People are drawn by the county’s low property taxes, good schools, low crime rate and emphasis on law enforcement, he said..
“A lot of Democrats switch to the Republican Party once they move here,” Krajewski said.
The county GOP will focus on getting its message out in the coming year while stressing that the state’s problems are long-term and did not start when a Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected two years ago.
The GOP-dominated county board has also put out its governing priorities in the coming year. These priorities include cutting the size and cost of local government by merging the Elections Department and the County Clerk’s Office and keeping the DuPage Convalescent Center operating so it can continue to serve 350 county residents. Fighting heroin addiction will also be a top priority.
In 2016, the county Coroner’s Office reported that opioid-related deaths in the county numbered 78 – a 53 percent increase over the number of deaths reported in the previous year. The deaths involved heroin, fentanyl and mixtures of the two.
The county will also lobby to restore state funding in support of county probation costs as well focusing on easing traffic congestion and protection against flooding. In addition, county board members want to extend surcharges on wireless services, which had been set to phase out on July 1. The surcharge helps to fund 911 responses countywide.