Election: Kane County Clerk
Two candidates on March 18 will vie to become the Republican nominee for Kane County Clerk.
Jack Cunningham has served three terms as Kane County Clerk since 2002. He considers himself as a public servant at heart and would like the opportunity to finish the job he began 12 years ago.
“While we’ve certainly brought the Clerk’s Office into the 21st century, there’s more to be done,” he said.
According to Cunningham, the Clerk’s Office motto of “You’re always welcome at the County Clerk’s Office” can’t just be words on paper. And whether it’s a first-time candidate, someone seeking a marriage license or death certificate, or a citizen redeeming his property taxes, they must be welcomed with competence, faithfully served and treated with respect.
“Since all of Kane County eventually comes through the Clerk’s Office, this is very important to me,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham believes experience is why he’s the best candidate for the County Clerk position. In addition to 20 years as a public administrator, he has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in business and public service, two jurisprudence doctorates, and he’s served as chairman of the board for three banks.
“My law background has been instrumental in interpreting and implementing the various state statutes and mandates that regularly impact our office,” he said. “Serving on the bank board taught me about finance and the importance of teamwork. And as you might imagine, I’ve learned quite a bit serving in the clerk’s capacity for 11 years.”
According to Cunningham, to be truly effective, the county clerk has to work with people of all political persuasions, and he’s proud to say he’s done exactly that for the last decade.
“In fact, it was this very experience that helped me broker the recent budget accord between the county chairman and coroner,” he said. “A good county clerk uses his or her experience to make the office run smoothly and bring people together.”
Should he win re-election, Cunningham’s priorities will include satellite offices in Aurora and Elgin, Ill., expansion of early voting and continuing to maintain the lowest per capita clerk’s budget in the collar counties.
“Should the Kane County Clerk assume the Aurora Election Commission’s responsibilities, it would be in the best interest of our constituents to establish (satellite) offices in Illinois’ second and eighth largest cities,” he said.
In terms of early voting expansion, Cunningham said the Clerk’s Office is looking at increasing the number of sites, the available hours at those sites, and strategic use of its mobile voting unit, the “Votemobile.” And he’d maintain a fiscally sound budget through the “prudent use of technological innovation, applying for grants whenever possible and adding new efficiencies to the election process.
“We will continue to keep the Kane County taxpayers’ best fiscal interest in mind,” he said.
Cunningham also noted that the Clerk’s Office has brought in $3.7 million in HAVA (Help America Vote Act) and other grants to help modernize voting equipment at no cost to Kane County taxpayers since 2002. And all birth, death and marriage records from 1836 to present have been scanned and will soon be available for genealogical research.
“In addition to performing these functions, I believe that the clerk should take a pro-active role in educating voters and working to include more voters in the electoral process,” he said.
A graduate of Naperville North High School, Davoust is the vice president of Brasel Products, Inc., where he began working in 1981. He’s also served as a commissioner for Kane County Board District 14 and the Kane County Forest Preserve since 2004. He holds an associates degree from Waubonsee Community College, and completed additional coursework at Western Illinois University and Aurora University.
In terms of community involvement, Davoust is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business and Illinois Manufacturer’s Association. He’s a former coach of youth softball and soccer, a former director of the Illinois Bar Foundation and a former member of the Downtown Batavia Task Force.
Davoust said he seeks the Republican nomination for Kane County clerk because he “witnessed a downward spiral in the number of participating voters and recognized a need within the Clerk’s Office to reach out to voters.”
“With voter turnout hovering at around 10 percent, we can and should do a better job of educating and engaging voters,” he said. “We need to remind voters of the importance of local government.”
Davoust considers himself the best candidate for the county clerk position because he will “bring a new energy and a fresh perspective to the office.”
“I bring a record of accomplishment from my time on the Kane County Board and from running a successful small business, in Kane County, to the table,” he said. “I will be a better steward of taxpayer’s dollars and work to save taxpayers money.”
If elected, Davoust’s top three priorities as county clerk will include working to combine the offices of clerk and recorder to increase efficiencies and save taxpayers money; working to identify effective polling places and secure long-term commitments to those locations; and developing a consistent message to be delivered to the schools and communities, year-round, to educate and encourage voter participation.
To achieve those goals, Davoust said he plans to work closely with his current colleagues on the Kane County Board, taking advantage of their local knowledge of each of their respective districts.
“I plan to approach the Regional Office of Education and school superintendants throughout the county in order to begin a program designed to raise awareness of the importance of local government and thereby increase voter participation,” Davoust said.