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Lauzen explains call for Republican Party reform; Kenyon lashes back
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff

Chris Lauzen


Mike Kenyon


Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/12/2010 12:00 AM | Updated: 3/12/2010 9:03 AM

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State Sen. Chris Lauzen said Thursday he wished his letter to the editor in Thursday's editions of the Daily Herald ran before the recent party elections, but that the substance of his call for reforming the Republican Party remains relevant.

Not everyone is happy with the way Lauzen chose to call for that reform.

The letter noted six key points for "upheaval and reformation of the Republican Party." The points included the direct election of party leadership, a call for the resignation of Kane County Republican Party Chairman Mike Kenyon, and the return of the associated perks Dennis Hastert receives as a retired former Speaker of the House.

Thursday afternoon, Lauzen said these days he identifies himself as an "independent Republican" because the days of "going along to get along" must end.

"Really, things couldn't be much worse for Republicans as far as what we have in the status quo in Illinois," Lauzen said. "I know that there are people within my own party that are angry that I won't shut up about people enriching themselves in public office."

Lauzen's letter indicates Hastert's perks as one such example. "The whole idea that we need to pay him anything is outrageous," Lauzen said. "People say, 'Chris, you shouldn't say that.' Sorry, then you show me who's saying it. You show me the people who are supposed to clean up our party."

Hastert's spokesman, Brad Hahn, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Kenyon responded by saying Lauzen's letter is the result of lingering grudges over his loss to Jim Oberweis in the 14th Congressional District Republican primary a couple of years ago. Oberweis also recently won a spot on the Illinois Republican State Central Committee during a vote where Lauzen wasn't allowed in the room.

"What Mr. Lauzen does is he takes everything to the personal level," Kenyon said. "That's his greatest flaw. I don't think he likes me, but don't ask me to get into his head because it would be uncomfortable, even though he's got a small brain.

"He would never come on board and say, 'Congratulations, Jim (Oberweis). I support you.' If he could just put all his energy in a positive direction, he'd be great. It's got to be some sort of a mental problem. He's stuck in the fourth grade and needs to get out of it. I really do want to get along with him."

On that note, Lauzen said he respects the will of the people in recently re-electing Kenyon to another term as Kane County GOP chairman. As far as Oberweis?

"That's ancient history," Lauzen said. "I believe that all of us have moved on from that a long time ago."