Two views of the vote
By Joe Baker, Senior Editor
The Nov. 5 election is slowly receding into history, but it is recent enough that some players are still reflecting on its meaning.
Randal Olson won a seat on the Winnebago County Board representing District 1, the area around Pecatonica. Olson sees a new day dawning for the county.
The makeup of the board didnt change too much, he said. The biggest thing on both the Democrat and Republican sides is that we lost a lot of incumbents.
I think every issue in the past is now up for reconsideration. Its a whole new look at everything. The major issues, like Perryville Road, really didnt affect District 1. I will try to support the people of the district around Roscoe. Not all the members of the board want the whole road, some dont want to build the middle part. Theres a lot of different looks at it, Olson said.
Did the electorate send a message to the county through its ballots? Its pretty obvious, Olson said. Ive been involved in local politics for 30 years and Ive never seen the turnover of so many incumbents. I think they sent a strong message that theres a trust problem. They (voters) want new things. They want a board they can trust he said.
Former county treasurer and veteran politician Doug Aurand also expects things to be done differently in the county than they formerly were done.
This will be a board of coalitions, he said. I hope the Democrats are more united. We can have a positive influence on the future of the county.
Statewide, the Republicans disarray was proven by the voters. Were gonna see some positive changes in Illinois. I think the minimum wage will be raised and other actions will be positive, Aurand said.
Noting the inclusion of former Gov. Jim Thompson in the Blagojevich transition team, Aurand said: I think Blagojevich is reaching out to the Republicans. He will need their help. Weve got problems in Illinois. We are in a very serious financial position. We cant keep raising taxes.
Aurand said he hopes to play an important role in dealing with some of the tough decisions facing the county in the next couple of years.
He also promised to be a watchdog for the public and pointed to the newly passed public safety referendum.
I want to insure that every penny goes to public safety, Aurand said. The public safety referendum was for one purposeto provide good public safety. I will be a watchdog to see that the leadership does not divert those funds.
Aurand was instrumental in getting an advisory referendum on the extension of Perryville Road on the ballot in Harlem Township. Some observers suspected that Aurand had made a quid pro quo arrangement with the Republican leadership on that issue; a charge he denied flatly.
That was put on the ballot for one reason: I wanted the voters of Harlem Township to have a say, Aurand said. They spoke clearly. I did not campaign for it. I made it clear that if the referendum passed, I would support the extension of Perryville Road through Harlem Township. In no way do I support the extension of Perryville through Roscoe Township. I hope they would allow (an advisory) vote on it at some time.
An advisory referendum is a good way to judge public opinion, he added. Aurand said he would like to see a countywide referendum on the Perryville issue.