As numbing as election cycles can be, between the predictable partisan sniping and the barrage of radio and TV advertisements, there is something invigorating about a fresh start for government, be it at the local, state or federal levels.
On Tuesday, the public had its say. While we congratulate each of the victors on their Election Day triumphs, we also urge them to maximize their new opportunities by being every bit as motivated to follow through on their campaign promises as they were in making them.
Tuesday’s results were emphatic in most of the higher-profile local races. Republican candidates such as Chris Lauzen (Kane County Board chairman’s race), Randy Hultgren (14th Congressional District), Jim Oberweis (25th state Senate District) and Rob Russell (Kane County coroner) won by substantial margins, which should embolden each of the men to vigorously pursue their agendas.
Lauzen ran on a platform of freezing the county’s tax levy, bringing what he describes as “best practices to county administration,” and forging respectful relationships with board members, even those who disagree with him. The latter objective would be refreshing after an occasionally contentious atmosphere in county government that devolved into wasteful litigation during the Karen McConnaughay regime. We also urge Lauzen to engage the public in an open, thoughtful dialogue about any county services that could be in jeopardy resulting from freezing the levy.
Oberweis, meanwhile, demonstrated an above-and-beyond zeal for serving, shrugging off the sting of five previous political defeats. The Sugar Grove dairy businessman made working toward a more business-friendly mindset in Springfield the centerpiece of his state Senate campaign, and we are eager to see how his decades of private-sector experience translate to job creation at the state level.
While Hultgren’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act is unlikely to yield results now that Obama has been re-elected, we remain optimistic Hultgren and the rest of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives can be impassioned advocates for deficit reduction and strike the appropriate balance when it comes to serving as a check-and-balance to the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House without being reflexively obstructionist.
The coroner’s race generated more attention than that office ordinarily might on the heels of a controversial tenure for the late Chuck West and a spirited campaign between Russell and Democrat Tao Martinez. In addition to his pledge to improve relationships among the coroner’s office and various community and law enforcement groups, Russell intends to embark upon an ambitious accreditation process that he contends will create valuable efficiencies in the long run.
It will be fascinating to watch each of the freshly elected officeholders strive to enact their agendas in the months and years ahead. While none of them can guarantee results, a conscientious effort to make headway is within their control.
We expect nothing less, and we’ll be watching.