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Our endorsements in next Tuesday's balloting : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Our endorsements in next Tuesday's balloting

Over the past several weeks the Ledger-Sentinel has been publishing letters to the editor from our readers each week concerning next Tuesday's election. We appreciate the many letters we have received and the opportunity to provide a public forum for our readers to express their views on the candidates and the issues. Now, on this page for our readers' consideration, our editorial staff offers its collective opinion on next week's Congressional, state and local races.

Please note that we are not making endorsements in all of the races. We are continuing our policy of withholding endorsements in the event we do not feel strongly enough about the candidates in a given race.

Kendall County offices

County board

In the race for 10 open seats on the Kendall County Board, we endorse Judy Gilmour, a Republican, and Amy Cesich, a Democrat, in the board's district one race, and Scott Gryder and Lynn Cullick, both Republicans, in the board's district two.

We believe that these four candidates would provide the board with a much-needed infusion of new, constructive viewpoints and deserve your vote.

All have prior local governmental experience and could help usher in a new era of cooperation between county government and other local governmental agencies.

Gilmour, a retired Oswego School District teacher, has served on the county's mental health advisory board, while Cesich has been a member of the City of Yorkville's Parks and Recreation Board. Cullick has served as a member of the Oswego School District Board and Gryder, an attorney, has been a member of the Oswego Public Library District Board and is past chairman of the Oswego Plan Commission.

All four candidates are fiscal conservatives and we note that Cesich, Gryder and Cullick have indicated they do not plan to accept county taxpayer-provided health insurance. That will provide an immediate savings to county taxpayers.

County coroner

This race pits long-time Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy against Mike Dabney, an independent candidate and Oswego Fire Protection District paramedic/firefighter.

As we have reported and editorialized many times over the past several years, we have significant concerns with the manner in which Toftoy has operated the coroner's office. However, we also have been disappointed that despite Dabney's claims of independence, he has aligned his campaign with some individuals with personal vendettas against some county staffers and board members. No endorsement.

Circuit clerk

In the circuit clerk's race, we endorse incumbent Becky Morganegg, a Republican. Morganegg has earned your vote based on her performance over the past eight years. She has put in place an efficient staff that serves the public well. Equally as important, Morganegg has upgraded technology in the office to expedite the handling of court records. Morganegg is endorsed.

General Assembly, Congress

State Senate 25th District

Jim Oberweis, a Republican, business owner and perennial candidate for state office from Sugar Grove, and Corinne Pierog, a business owner member of the St. Charles School District Board. No endorsement.

State Senate 38th District

Democrat Christine Benson of Ottawa is challenging incumbent Republican Sue Rezin of Morris. No endorsement.

State Senate 42nd District

In this race six-year incumbent Linda Holmes, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from a Republican newcomer, Peter Hurtado. We endorse Holmes in this race based on her ability to work effectively with both Republicans and Democrats. This skill is vital if state lawmakers are going to find a solution to the state's pension funding crisis.

State Senate 49th District

This race pits two first time candidates for state office, Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Republican Garrett Peck. Bertino-Tarrant is current Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools, while Peck is a member of the Plainfield Village Board. No endorsement.

State Representative 50th District

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, a Republican seeking election to her third term in the General Assembly, has earned your vote. As a Kendall County resident for more than 40 years and former member of the Kendall County and Oswego School District boards, Hatcher understands the challenges facing the 50th district and its residents. Perhaps most importantly, Hatcher is a fiscal conservative who is also a consensus builder. The General Assembly will need Hatcher and more like her if they are to successfully resolve the state's pension crisis and reduce the state's staggering debt. Hatcher is endorsed.

Andrew Bernard challenges Hatcher. He is a thoughtful 24 year-old Geneva Democrat making his first bid for election to the General Assembly. Bernard was impressive at a recent candidate forum and we would encourage him to continue his interest in state government.

State Representative 75th District

Incumbent State Rep. Pam Roth, a Republican from Morris, is a fiscal conservative who served on the Saratoga School District Board prior to her election to the General Assembly. With a degree in accounting and her prior school board experience, Roth is well versed in the financial challenges facing local school districts. Even more importantly, Roth-though staunchly Republican-has shown a willingness to work with others in her party and even on the Democratic side of the aisle to achieve consensus on important issues. Roth is endorsed.

State Representative 84th District

Stephanie Kifowit, an alderman on the Aurora City Council and a Democrat is facing Republican Patricia Fee of Naperville in this contest. Fee is making her first bid for elective, public office. No endorsement.

Congress 11th District

We lean towards incumbent U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert over former one-term U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in this race. The 75 year-old Biggert has been around in Congress a long time and has earned a reputation as a fiscal conservative and somewhat of a social moderate. She's also shown she can work with the folks on the Democratic side of the aisle. In other words, she's what we like to call an 'old school' Republican. Foster has much to commend him, but he was all but invisible in Kendall County during his prior two years in Congress. He also opposed the construction of the much-needed Prairie Parkway and failed to continue former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert's aggressive push to extend Metra commuter rail service to the county.

Congress 14th District

Dennis Anderson, a Democrat and first-time candidate for public office is challenging incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Republican. Hultgren has been supportive of efforts to extend Metra commuter rail service to Kendall County, but incredibly his staff notified us that he preferred not to answer a simple question on a questionnaire we sent him: Do you believe in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. No endorsement.


'No' on KenCom

KenCom, Kendall County's emergency 911 dispatching service, is once again asking voters to approve a 75 cent increase in the surcharge on all land line phones in the county. KenCom officials have said they need the extra revenue to upgrade the service's equipment. However, no one has come forward to press for the referendum's passage. In fact, county board members are, at best, indifferent to the request. They seem content to let the referendum fail and then pass along the expense of purchasing the new equipment to county municipalities under terms of an agreement reached through a court settlement. County voters should vote "No" on the referendum and hope things change between the county and the municipalities.

'Yes' for electric aggregation

Residents of unincorporated Kendall County-including the 8,100 people living in the Boulder Hill Subdivision-will be able to save on their monthly electric bills if they vote to approve this referendum. Passage of the referendum will allow the county to seek competitive bids on the electric power portion of residents' electric bills. Over 200 municipalities in Illinois-including Oswego, Montgomery and Yorkville-have already passed aggregation referendums and residents in those communities are saving approximately $20 to $30 each month on their electric bills, depending upon their electric usage.

'No' on pension amendment

Voters across Illinois will be asked to cast ballots on a referendum to amend the state constitution to require a three-fifths favorable vote by any local governmental body to raise a pension or retirement benefit for their employees. In considering their votes on the amendment, voters should first remember that it was crafted by House Speaker Michael Madigan-Illinois' de facto ruler-and his crony, Senate President John Cullerton. The 700 word amendment is loaded down with confusing language and may even contain a paragraph that would allow Madigan & Co. to circumvent the pension protection clause in the state constitution. The clause states that public works' benefits "shall not be diminished or impaired."

Don't fall for Madigan's bait and switch. Vote "No" on his amendment.

Advisory referendum

Would you like all local governmental agencies to cut their property tax levies by 20 percent over the amount they collected this year? Of course you would. That's why an advisory referendum placed on Tuesday's ballot by a citizens' group asking for the 20 percent reduction will pass by a wide margin. Who doesn't want to pay less in property taxes? In the real world, of course, it will never happen.

But if you want to send yet another message to local governmental officials that you're mad as heck about high property taxes and don't want to take it anymore, here's your chance.

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