Ending months of speculation, Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks announced his candidacy for McHenry County Board Chairman, setting up what is sure to be a fierce race for the first-ever election for the seat.
But while the move gives the McHenry County Republican Party a hard fight for what was an uncontested race, it also gives the GOP a chance to reclaim the 63rd Illinois House District seat that Franks said he is relinquishing to run for chairman instead.
Franks, of Marengo, made the announcement Sunday morning, shortly after the Democratic Party of McHenry County voted to slate him to run against Republican nominee Michael Walkup. Walkup, a County Board member from Crystal Lake, narrowly defeated incumbent Chairman Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, in the March 15 primary.
Franks, who has few friends on the County Board after years of butting heads with them – most recently instigating a state investigation into members’ pension eligibility – said running for chairman is the best way to get the board to clean up what he calls its fiscal and ethical shortcomings.
“The population of our county is declining because of poor leadership in the county that relies too much on raising our taxes and too little on making the tough choices to consolidate overlapping and duplicative government services. I have decided to enter the County Board Chairman’s race because McHenry County deserves a proven tax fighter as chairman. I have spent my public career fighting all tax increases, and it’s that commitment that I will take to the county,” Franks said.