There are two Republican parties in Kane County

Every summer, the Kane County Western Township Republicans put on their annual soiree on the spacious grounds of county board member Drew Frasz’ Brundige Road estate. With all due deference to Chris Lauzen and his Porky Picnic, it’s probably my favorite fundraising event.

The great thing about it is, WTR secretary Denny Ryan and I always hang out and debate the merits – or lack thereof – of the various speakers, and, despite my propensity to harbor some socially progressive thoughts, Denny and I always end up laughing because we have so much more in common. We’re both raging fiscal conservatives who want nothing but the best for Kane County.

But as I looked around at this year’s gathering and noticed who wasn’t there, it struck me. There are two Kane County Republican parties.

One faction is ruled by iron-fisted board chairman Karen McConnaughay with her lackey and political mastermind, St. Charles Township GOP Chairman, always close behind.  Then there’s former KC GOP chairman Mike Kenyon, KC Republican Women’s Organization heads Connie von Keudell and Susan Secondi, Geneva Township Highway Commissioner Mark Wissing, failed auditor candidate Laura Wallett, and Ellen Nottke. Even Jim Oberweis and Randy Hultgren have been known to fall in with this sad group.

Until former Beacon-News reporter Dan Campana started digging, they pretty much held sway over and treated Kane County – and our money – like their own personal playground. But despite being shut out of most of it,  the folks on the other side always made an effort to keep up public appearances for the good of the party.

But now that the political shoe is on the other foot and this group is fading, only Randy Hultgren managed to make it to the WTR event. Their too-obvious theory is, if they can’t be on top,  then they’ll take their ball and go home. This way, they can continue to operate under the delusion that they’re still the ones in control.

I’m especially disappointed in Kenyon and Wissing. I had high hopes that they could rise above their own egos and do what’s best for the party.  Ah well! It would appear that some folks never do graduate from high school!

Mike Kenyon

Karen McConnaughay

One thought on “There are two Republican parties in Kane County

  1. There are “two Republican Parties in Kane County” because there are two Kane Counties:
    One consists of the six urbanized, mostly incorporated and self-governing townships along the Fox River, and the “other” Kane County made up of the ten mostly rural, largely unincorporated townships west of Randall Road, the two-thirds of Kane County represented by only four members of the County Board.

    The six “river townships” being largely incorporated within city boundaries, have their own police, fire, street, water and sewer departments, services most of us living in the western ten townships must provide for ourselves or through special taxing districts or, in the case of policing, must rely on the office of the Kane County Sheriff.

    The Sheriff’s budget battle with the County Board was of great interest to the rural residents of western Kane County because of this. Reduction of the Sheriff’s budget equals fewer Sheriff’s patrols equals less police protection. Pretty simple, really.

    What it comes down to: ten western townships of Kane County, consisting of two-thirds of the county’s land area, are represented by only four County Board members, about one-fifth of those
    seated on the Board. The other eighty per cent of the Board represent the six eastern townships
    of which only small fragments remain outside of the cities and in direct County control.
    Yet, that majority of the Board can make rules that directly affect the lives, rights and property
    of residents, families and businesses in places they do not know and will never visit.
    What is worse, they cannot be held responsible for their actions by the voters most affected by the ordinances they enact.

    Kane County government wasn’t always like this. About fifty years ago, the Board was called
    “The Kane County Board of Supervisors,” and was composed of the Township Supervisors of the
    sixteen parts of this county. A change to a County Board divided according to population density
    brought us to the situation we face today. Which system is better? When I consider the amount
    of land area in each township directly under County Board control, I think the old way was best.

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