In 2014, voters passed a referendum to change the way the McHenry County Board chairman is elected.
Up until now, every two years after an election, the 24 members of the County Board would meet and vote on a chairman from among their own.
For the first time Nov. 8, county voters will popularly elect their chairman when they go to the polls.
Voters must decide between current County Board member Michael Walkup, a Republican, and longtime state Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat.
Franks has served McHenry County residents in the Illinois House since 1999. He is a fiscal conservative and outspoken advocate for taxpayers.
Serving under powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, Franks has been an independent voice in Springfield who has opposed the speaker’s attempts to pass a progressive income tax, a millionaire’s tax and other tax increases. He also opposed the middle-of-the-night, 67-percent income tax increase that Madigan, Gov. Pat Quinn and a lame-duck General Assembly foisted on taxpayers in 2011.
Franks championed legislation to eliminate retirement benefits for part-time members of county boards and transit agency boards.
If elected, Franks said he will continue to fight for taxpayers.
“The only way to reduce taxes is for government to spend less – that is what I will fight for,” Franks said in response to a Northwest Herald questionnaire. “I will require a ‘zero based budget.’ This means that – instead of using last year’s budget numbers as a starting point, we start from scratch and justify every penny that government agencies claim to need. We will scrutinize every expenditure.”
Franks promises to reduce the county’s levy by 10 percent and use his bully pulpit to persuade other local taxing bodies to reduce their levies. He also supports reducing the size of the County Board from 24 members to 12 and changing to single-member districts.
Franks has earned the endorsements of most of the county’s Republican mayors and village presidents.
Walkup, of Crystal Lake, has been a County Board member since 2012. He previously served on the Crystal Lake Park District Board.
We endorse Franks.