Republicans Battle for County Board Seats

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Sanchez Daily Herald Staff Writer

Republican voters will choose from four contested GOP races for the DuPage County Board. Here is a look at the top issues.

District 1

DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom this week said he has no regrets about his decision to appoint Don Puchalski to the board.

But as Puchalski is campaigning to convince voters to elect him to the District 1 seat, one of his Republican opponents is trying to use the Schillerstrom endorsement against him.

Richard "Chip" Collis claims Puchalski was picked to finish the term of former board member William Maio for one reason: to be a yes man. In fact, the 43-year-old Elmhurst resident said that's part of what's wrong with the existing board.

"They have the tendency to be rubber stamps or yes men - not enough of a tendency to think outside the box or to ask the hard questions," Collis said.

Puchalski called Collis' remark "ridiculous"

The 51-year-old Addison resident Thursday said he always has - and always will be - an independent thinker.

"I never had Bob Schillerstrom come to me and tell me how to vote," he said.

Puchalski said the board simply works together. And the absence of controversy is a good thing.

"Are the citizens complaining? No," he said. "Are needed services being provided? Yes. DuPage County is a great place to live."

The third candidate in the race, Paul DeMichele, said he agrees with Puchalski.

DeMichele, 62, of Bensenville, called Schillerstrom an effective leader. "I would welcome the opportunity to work with him," he said.

Meanwhile, DeMichele, Puchalski and Collis see eye-to-eye on the long-sought western entrance into O'Hare International Airport.

All three oppose airport expansion. But if it's going to happen, the county must work to ensure the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway is extended into the airport.

"The only benefit that I can see to taking people's homes away is, perhaps, replacing it with some sort of economic engine which would help the area," Collis said. "Western access would be key to that."

District 2

Jeff Redick, a 37-year-old attorney from Elmhurst, is making incumbent Irene Stone's attendance the issue.

Redick says Stone has missed nearly 20 percent of the regular board meetings since November 1999.

"That's roughly the equivalent to not showing up for work one day out of the work week if we were running a business," Redick said.

Stone doesn't deny that she's missed meetings. Last year, she said, she missed four.

But the 77-year-old Lombard resident said that when she goes away on vacation, she takes her work with her.

"The fact that I am not there a couple times doesn't mean I haven't been working," said Stone, adding that she devotes more than 50 hours a week to county business.

Still, Redick said energetic representation is "sorely lacking" for the district.

"It's imperative that you be there engaged in the process - engaged in the debate," Redick said. "It's something that I'm going to offer."

But Stone hasn't lost an election since capturing her seat in 1986. And she has the backing of Chairman Schillerstrom and state Sen. Kirk Dillard, the chairman of the DuPage GOP.

And she didn't mince words describing how she feels about Redick's attacks on her commitment to the taxpayers. …