Smith challenges Kudlicki for seat on KC Board
by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republicans, incumbent Bob Kudlicki and challenger Thomas (T.R.) Smith, are running against each other to represent District 25 on the Kane County Board in the primary on Tuesday, Feb. 2. There is no Democrat running for this seat.
With eight years of experience representing the 25th District on the Kane County Board and two terms as the mayor of Hampshire, Ill., Bob Kudlicki said he has the knowledge and experience necessary to help the county through the current economic difficulties without having to raise taxes.
Kudlicki, of Hampshire, has served on eight different committees during his time on the board, something he said has been very important in helping him understand what needs to be done in the future.
â€œThis has provided me with a great appreciation for, and knowledge of, the many county services and how to put these services towards the best interests of the 25th district,â€ he said.
In addition to his experience on the board, he has owned his own dry cleaning business for the past 50 years. He also has worked with various community-focused organizations, including his service as treasurer of the Hampshire Boy Scouts, his 50-year membership of the American Legionâ€”including the past eight years as treasurer of American Legion Post 680, member of the Lions Club for the past 50 years, service as Past Commandant of the Marine Corps Leagueâ€”having served two tours in the U.S. Marine Corpsâ€”as well as member of the Hampshire Historical Society.
Kudlicki said his focus will be on advancing economic development and job creation within the communities that make up the 25th District. In addition, he plans on putting the 25th District in the forefront of transportation funding, listing a Route 47 interchange, Brier Hill on and off ramps, and an extension of French Road as his primary projects. He said he plans to continue working with his fellow County Board members to maintain the level of services without having to raise taxes.
â€œWe are all concerned by the current economic downturn in our country, the loss of employment and home foreclosures throughout Kane County. This puts a considerable strain on how to provide the necessary and required services to county residents,â€ Kudlicki said. â€œWhen the county has only so much funding to work with, it affects all department budgets. Each of us County Board officials and department heads need to put ourselves in the othersâ€™ shoes, realize that we are all in the same situation and are working toward the same goals.â€
While he intends to continue working with the other leaders within Kane County government, he will remain focused on building relationships with the residents within his district.
â€œI will continue my personal commitment to remain accessible to the residents of the 25th District, available for in person or phone contact, respectful and thoughtful consideration of ideas, and do my level best to provide true and forthright answers to any and all questions put to me.â€
Thomas (T.R.) Smith
For Thomas (T.R.) Smith, of Maple Park, the race boils down to the economic challenges faced by the board and his desire and ability to help resolve them.
He said that while two of his top three campaign issues relate to the countyâ€™s finances, his number-one priority would be his constituents.
â€œ(My number-one campaign issue is) representing my district and addressing the concerns of my constituents,â€ Smith said. â€œI will always be accessible for public input and consider the needs of my district and how they will be impacted when voting on county issues.â€
Smith is the owner and operator of the Golden Acres Farm, and prior to that, he served as a Senior Criminal Investigations Detective in the Cook County Sheriffâ€™s Department, as well as the Chief Investigator for the Kane County Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office.
Smith served in the U.S. Army as a member of a military police unit in the Panama Canal Zone, and after his enlistment, is a Past Commander and Senior Vice Commander for the Hampshire American Legion Post No. 680. His further community service includes being a charter member of the St. Charles Borromeo, Knights of Columbus No. 13034, member of the Burlington Lions Club, member of the Legislative Committee of the Kane County Farm Bureau, and chapter director for the GW Motorcycle Riders Association.
Politically, Smith serves on the Kane County GOP Central Committee, is chairman of the Western Kane County Township GOP, and is a Republican Precinct Committeeman in Burlington Township. He has served on the Burlington Township Park Board since 1995, serving as vice president and president, and served on the Burlington Drainage Ditch Board since 1985, including service as the secretary and treasurer.
He said he plans to use the knowledge gained from his variety of experience and community service to help resolve the economic difficulties faced at the County Board level. He said the board needs to balance its budget and prioritize its spending, which includes downsizing the layers of upper management and addressing the salary structure of those management positions.
In addition, Smith said the County Board should â€œeliminate any future spending projects, other than additional police coverage for the unincorporated areas, until property taxes are reduced, and revenue streams are stabilized at the same numbers prior to the economic downturn,â€ he said.