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Our picks for DuPage County Board
Daily Herald Editorial Board
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Published: 10/27/2008 12:03 AM

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District 1

Paul Fichtner provides a good example of how the county board is anything but a rubber stamp these days. The Elmhurst Republican, seeking his second term on the county board, brings a questioning approach, particularly on financial matters, to the table. His overarching goal is to make sure the county does not find itself in another financial crisis that promised layoffs and other drastic cuts until the state legislature bailed out collar counties with a sales tax increase. Fichtner also chairs the Cook-DuPage Transportation Corridor Committee, a key group looking at such big-picture issues as widening of the Eisenhower Expressway. Fichtner is a thoughtful voice on the board and is recommended for re-election. We also think board member Yolanda Campuzano of Addison, a Republican, deserves re-election. She has been a champion for the poor and the elderly, working on providing more health care and assisted living for those in need. Challengers in the race include Democrats Rita Gonzalez of Addison and Rifat Sivisoglu of Elmhurst.

District 2

GOP incumbents Brien Sheahan of Elmhurst and Pat O'Shea of Lombard make good cases for re-election. Sheahan has been a champion for the taxpayer, returning some of his own salary. He's also fought to make county government more accessible through Internet access. O'Shea, a board member since 1990, chairs the pivotal finance committee. He also has proposed the study to determine if jail space can be better utilized to avoid having to add on again. Democratic challengers are Max Havlick and Barbara J. Dahl, both of Villa Park. Havlick is a thoughtful candidate, not afraid to buck his own party, but the experience and expertise of O'Shea and Sheahan is impossible to ignore.

District 4

Republican incumbent Debra Olson of Wheaton is a clear-cut choice for endorsement. She is a fiscal conservative who has turned down stipends and pay raises, but makes the job a full-time commitment. Fellow GOP incumbent Grant Eckhoff is endorsed, too. A former Wheaton City Council member, he brings a nice municipal perspective to the county board. We also are impressed by the feisty campaign waged by Democrat Richard Dunn of Glen Ellyn. Dunn clearly has researched the issues well and isn't shy at jabbing the Republicans on issues of pay, taxes and other costs. Also running are Democratic challenger Dan Bailey of Wheaton and Green Party candidate William Edgar of Wheaton.

District 5

Republican incumbent James Healy of Naperville is an outspoken, thoughtful and well-informed board member, deserving of our endorsement. Newcomer Gerry Cassioppi of Naperville, a former member of the Naperville Unit District 203 school board, makes his first bid for county board. Cassioppi has done his homework well. He's running as a Republican but we like his nonpartisan view of county government, and we endorse him. Democratic challenger Tony Michelassi of Aurora, a 23-year-old newcomer to politics, is well-versed, but the qualifications of Healy and Cassioppi cannot be ignored.

District 6

Republican incumbent James Zay of Carol Stream makes a good case for endorsement. He's a diligent worker on issues ranging from cracking down on alcohol consumption at a strip club to getting safe drinking water to residents in unincorporated areas with contaminated wells. GOP challenger Robert Larsen of Wheaton is well-versed on the issues. A Marine reservist, Larsen wants to ensure the county's new sales tax funds will be appropriately allocated for law enforcement purposes. The third challenger is Democrat Dirk Enger of Winfield.