The new chairman of the Kane County Republican Party is Kenneth Shepro of Wayne, former attorney for the Kane County Board and an unsuccessful candidate in the GOP primary in 2016 for county board chairman.
Shepro said he was elected Dec. 5 after Thomas Hartwell resigned his position Dec. 2 as party chairman in order to run for judge in the March 20 primary. Hartwell was re-elected Kane County Circuit Clerk in November 2016.
“I am certainly honored and humbled to be the unanimous choice of all the other township chairmen and officers,” Shepro said. “I was gratified there was such a degree of unity and unanimity in their actions.”
Shepro said one of the things he wants to do as leader is to bring more young people into the Republican Party in positions of leadership.
“The average age of precinct committeeman is 59,” Shepro said. “Clearly, the Kane County Republican Party needs to bring more young people into the party.”
Toward that goal, Shepro said he reconstituted the Young Republicans as an avenue for bringing younger Kane County residents on board for the GOP.
A young Republican is someone age 18 to 40 years old, Shepro said.
One way to bring younger people on board is to use social media and engage them in issues that matter to the younger generation, Shepro said.
“One of the things I learned was that many of the younger people are not interested in the same issues as us older folks,” Shepro said. “Not a lot of them are buying houses, so they don’t get as concerned about high property taxes as older folks. We have to find a way to interest them in issues that we care about, but have a different emphasis.”
Shepro said he was elected to finish out Hartwell’s term, which will go until the GOP county convention April 18.
The convention is set after the votes from the primary are canvassed, new precinct committeemen are elected and new officers are elected for the next two years, Shepro said.
“It is my hope and expectation that I will be one of them,” Shepro said. “I intend to seek a full two-year term as party chairman at the convention.”
Hartwell said he had to resign his position as an officer of the party because it is a legal requirement to run for judge. Hartwell said he plans to be on the March 20 primary ballot.
“I see running for judge as an opportunity to serve the people of Kane County in a different way,” Hartwell said. “And because it’s required for me to resign my position, I did.”
So far, Hartwell said he will face two associate judges, Elizabeth Flood and David Kliment, on the primary ballot. The filing deadline for primary candidates is Dec. 18 through 26.