by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”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 â€œtesting the waters,â€ 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.
â€œIt’s a huge district,â€ 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.
â€œTim Schmitz and Kay Hatcher have done the lion’s share for the area,â€ Michels said. â€œBut we need a voice on the Senate side.â€
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.
â€œWe deserve our fair share of state funds to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure,â€ he said. â€œAfter 17 years, maybe it’s time for a change.â€
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.
â€œHe hasn’t fully researched his position,â€ 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.
â€œFor every dollar spent on the Prairie Parkway, that’s another dollar you can’t spend on the current highways,â€ 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.
â€œThat’s what is unappealing about politics these days,â€ 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.
â€œThere is a lot of work to be done before I would have to think about that,â€ he said.