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GENEVA – Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen officially announced today that he would not run for a third term, but instead endorsed Kane County Treasurer David Rickert to win the post in the Nov. 3 general election.
Speaking briefly today at Fiora’s restaurant in Geneva to a group of about a dozen elected officials, Lauzen pledged that he would “enthusiastically work for (Rickert’s) election.”
“In the end, it is OK to give someone else a turn to lead,” Lauzen said.
Lauzen also presented Rickert with a check for $5,000 for his campaign.
“Where I come from in Aurora, $5,000 is an enormous amount of money,” Lauzen said. “Where Dave comes from in Elgin, it’s a huge amount of money. But when you think about it, that is what Dave Rickert gave me and our whole team eight years ago when I first ran. So I guess I’m returning the money.”
Rickert, who has served as county treasurer for 20 years, said he would need the elected officials’ support if he is voted in as board chairman.
Those attending included Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt, Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, Kane County Circuit Clerk Thomas Hartwell, County Board members Barb Wojnicki, R-Campton Hills, Bill Lenert, R-Sugar Grove, Debra Allen, D-Elgin and Clifford Surges, R-Gilberts.
“I appreciate your advice, your wisdom and support,” Rickert said. “I would need that as chairman. … Chris has been a dedicated public servant and an accomplished legislator in the Illinois Senate, doing wonderful things down there. Most people would be happy and satisfied with that, but not Chris.”
Instead, Rickert said, Lauzen came home and served his county as board chairman for the last seven years.
“He’s accomplished a lot as you can see by keeping a lean and efficient government while still providing all the services necessary for our growing county,” Rickert said. “Chris has established a standard of accomplishment for the next chairman to follow.”
Rickert said keeping a frozen levy for the county has been a “great challenge.”
“It’s going to be a real challenge,” Rickert said. “I can’t formally make any commitments to freeze the levy, but we’re going to try very hard to do what we can to reduce costs at the county.”
The biggest challenge facing the county, Rickert said, is financial.
“We spend an inordinate amount of time … going through the budget, making sure we’re doing everything we can to protect taxpayers and reduce costs where we can,” Rickert said. “That’s going to continue to be a challenge. Which is why we need a strong financial background to serve as chairman. Without those tools, it makes it very difficult to serve to protect taxpayers.”
Lauzen said he would remain politically active after serving his last year as chairman, choosing to support the best candidates – regardless of party.
“I’ll fund raise for them. I’ll walk neighborhoods for them,” Lauzen said. “I’ll try to put networks of our friends – Sarah maintains a database we’ve built up over nearly three decades (and) works tirelessly at that – and we want to put that at the disposal of good folks.”
Lauzen said he would formally file papers at the Kane County Clerk to withdraw his name from the March 17 primary ballot.