Village president may run for Senate seat

By on October 23, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels has collected 760 of the 1,000 signatures he needs to make a run for the 25th District State Senate seat, currently held by Chris Lauzen (R). Michels said he will decide whether or not to run after the filing date of Oct. 26.

For now, he is still “testing the waters,” he said.

He said the process of collecting signatures has been humbling, approaching people at train stations and in front of the Jewel-Osco Food Store, as well as going door-to-door.

“It’s a huge district,” he said.

He said the idea to run came about after Sugar Grove’s recent dealings with Springfield regarding road construction and maintenance dollars. He said that state Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-50) was instrumental in obtaining the money to fix Route 56 prior to the Solheim Cup event in Sugar Grove.

Michels, a Republican, said that, on the other hand, Sugar Grove has not been able to get very far with its requests for a full interchange at Interstate 88 and Route 47, or with the widening of Route 47.

“Tim Schmitz and Kay Hatcher have done the lion’s share for the area,” Michels said. “But we need a voice on the Senate side.”

According to Michels, Lauzen has not been able to accomplish a great deal for the region in terms of funding for roads during the time he has been in office. Michels said that with so much regional traffic coming through the Fox Valley area, more money is needed to maintain the roads.

“We deserve our fair share of state funds to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure,” he said. “After 17 years, maybe it’s time for a change.”

Lauzen, who recently announced his intent to run for re-election, said that when Michels criticizes him, he should have something to back it up. Lauzen said that the 25th District has received a record $193 million in infrastructure funding, the most of any district outside of the Chicago area.

“He hasn’t fully researched his position,” Lauzen said.

Lauzen also pointed to his opposition to the Prairie Parkway and his support instead of the Route 47-Plus Plan, as another way that he supports funding the local roads.

“For every dollar spent on the Prairie Parkway, that’s another dollar you can’t spend on the current highways,” he said.

Lauzen said he welcomes the competition, and said it will sharpen his game during the election process. However, he said that it is too bad Michels feels he has to define himself by what is wrong with someone else.

“That’s what is unappealing about politics these days,” he said.

Michels said he has not given a lot of thought as of yet about what he might do about his current office of Village President of Sugar Grove, if he were elected to the Senate seat.

“There is a lot of work to be done before I would have to think about that,” he said.