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McHenry County Board to vote on term-limit referendum for November ballot

Board expected to debate resolution at July 31 meeting

McHenry County Board Member Jeffrey Thorsen speaks about a proposed solar farm during a McHenry County Board Meeting Tuesday, July 17, 2018.
McHenry County Board Member Jeffrey Thorsen speaks about a proposed solar farm during a McHenry County Board Meeting Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

The McHenry County Board will discuss putting a binding referendum to voters in the November election asking whether the government should impose term limits.

Those limits would be two four-year terms for the chairman and three four-year terms for board members, said McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, who is drafting a resolution to bring to the board’s July 31 meeting.

“I want to be a leader in this state,” Franks told the Northwest Herald. “We really need to lead by example. We are serious about reforming our government.”

The chairman said term limits would curtail career politicians, improve resident access to local politics and create more competitive elections.

McHenry County Board member Chris Christensen, who represents District 3 residents, said he supports term limits.

“There is fine line between serving your community, to which I have always believed its citizenry have an obligation, and to where serving too long the community begins to serve you,” Christensen told the Northwest Herald. “I 100 percent believe in term limits and, being an admirer of Thomas Jefferson, he wrote of the need for rotation of offices and how this was our Founding Fathers’ original intent.”

A lack of term limits creates an environment where interest in local government becomes stale, District 2 representative Donna Kurtz said.

“I think they should be implemented across the board for every position out there,” Kurtz said. “Every time you have somebody new who runs, it creates all this excitement. When the same people keep running all the time, people lose interest.”

But Kurtz said there’s a trade-off.

“When you don’t have people in for an extended period of time, you lose institutional knowledge,” she said.

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