AURORA – Speaking to a crowd of about 70 supporters, Kane County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Willie Mayes formally kicked off his campaign for Kane County sheriff May 12 at Gaslight Manor Banquets in Aurora.
It is his second time running for the post, as he lost to current Sheriff Donald Kramer, a Republican, in 2014 by about 30,000 votes, records show.
Mayes said he wants to serve as sheriff because his entire family and extended family have all served, either in the military, in law enforcement or as public school teachers.
“My family legacy is service,” Mayes said. “And that is what I am purposed for, and that’s what I’m called to. … I desire to make a difference. I desire to serve my community. I have the energy. I have the passion, and I have the will. And I’m motivated. I’m motivated to pursue the elusive American dream of equality for all.”
Mayes acknowledged the unrest of the current time, often marked by violence and death.
“Our Kane County community is fortunate because we have been proactive in establishing local community groups – neighborhood groups – and have open dialogue to enrich relationships with law enforcement,” Mayes said. “As law enforcement, we need to hear [the community’s] voice. We need to hear what is important to them, not just what we believe is important to us. At some point, though, we all have to come together and stop pointing fingers and start working together … and we will be able to further benefit our community.”
In short, Mayes said community members need to see the police when they are not being policed.
“Race relations is still problematic in the country,” Mayes said. “I believe racism is a condition of the heart. And the only thing that removes it is love for your fellow man or woman, being our brother’s keeper. When we are inclusive of all ethnic cultures – Asians, African-Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, Indians – we can then achieve equality.”
Mayes said it is time to embrace each other’s differences and be inclusive of others.
“It is vital to our country’s advancement,” Mayes said. “Diversity brings new ideas, perspectives and understanding. I am a leader who believes in a team philosophy. Many hands make light work.”
As a 25-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, Mayes said – as sheriff – he would change the culture to facilitate a team-centered environment.
“I intend to optimize resources and staffing to ensure efficiency,” Mayes said. “I intend to implement a process that encourages staff to engage the community in different approaches and ideas to establish public trust. I intend and I will insist on due process for all inquiries. I intend [to] pursue nonadversarial approaches and industry standards to property and adequately fund the sheriff’s office and mandates.”
Mayes said he just finished earning a MBA from Aurora University, with a concentration in leadership.
His wife, Sharron Mayes, also addressed the crowd.
“This is going to be a journey, but I’m looking forward to it,” Sharron Mayes said. “And I’m looking forward to being back here November of 2018 for the victory.”
Mayes will have competition in the March 20, 2018, Democratic primary, as another deputy, Sgt. Ron Hain, has signaled he, too, will run for sheriff. Hain plans to make his formal announcement May 18.
Information about Willie Mayes and his campaign is available by visiting www.mayesforsheriff.org.