A special “Candidates Night” event was held Wednesday evening at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb.
After an hour of meet and greet and glad-handing, the candidates entered the theater to get a chance to share views and ideas.
This event was hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and carried live on WLBK.
County Board candidates David Rathke and Jim Luebke spoke, while their opponents were both no shows. Rathke feels the County Board is doing a good job but some areas like roads can be improved. Luebke feels the County Board needs to assure the taxpayers they are getting their value from the board. The three county and state office candidates were given a 1½-minute introduction and two-minute closing remarks. This gave each person time to give a brief dossier and “vote for me,” with little time to state issues.
Candidates for County Treasurer, Christine Johnson and Liliana Orozco, both got to speak on the role of treasurer, with incumbent Johnson giving more details of current duties. Both candidates spoke on giving the county residents more information on the current and future role of the office.
County Clerk candidates, Doug Johnson and Carolyn Morris, spoke on how the Clerk’s office must serve the people of the county. Both spoke on early voting and questions from the audience were not very challenging, compared to what was asked of other candidates. Doug Johnson did talk about the voting process and its cost.
The candidates for Illinois State Representative from District 70 were given additional questions and each candidate seemed passionate with their answers. Being a university town, both Paul Stoddard and Jeff Keicher spoke on the importance of the university and helping students with MAP Grants. Stoddard, a former professor at NIU, and Keicher, an NIU graduate, feel the state needs to revise funding for all state colleges.
When the topic of term limits was brought up, Jeff Keicher felt it is important to have some type of term limits to prevent people like Mike Madigan from controlling committees and funding patterns for 30-plus years. Stoddard favors term limits for leadership positions, but not for people serving, as he believes that districts have the right to elect whomever they want to represent them.
The pension issue was limited to the candidates’ own feelings and not to the economics that is creating major funding issues within the State of Illinois.
Jeff Keicher was very committed to his first vote after the new year being to not confirm Mike Madigan as Speaker of the House.
The post Meet and Greet yielded some interesting comments. Local DeKalb resident, Howard Solomon, said he would continue to vote along his party lines, but considered both candidates for County Treasurer and County Clerk to be formidable.
Dave ‘DK’ Kolars from DeKalb said the event was worth his time and that his attitude toward some of the candidates has changed.
The Meet and Greet had approximately 175 people in attendance, but if you took away the reporters, photographers and people directly related to the candidates, the audience would be meager, even for an off-year election.