WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks announced Tuesday that he will not run for Illinois attorney general and instead will focus on reforming county government.
In a statement released Tuesday – less than one month after the County Board chairman claimed that he was "seriously considering" running for attorney general – Franks said he'd rather focus on his work in McHenry County.
“My experience as a lawyer, businessman and reform-minded lawmaker makes me uniquely qualified to be a candidate for the office of Illinois attorney general,” Franks said in the statement. “I am grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support for this possibility, and I was very tempted to enter the race. But something really special is beginning to happen in McHenry County.”
Franks said he and the County Board are reducing the tax level and bringing reform and efficiency to the government.
“I have therefore decided to pass on the opportunity to run for attorney general in favor of fulfilling my commitment to the taxpayers of McHenry County to reduce property taxes and reform county government,” Franks said.
In September, after Lisa Madigan announced that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term, Franks said he was interested in running for attorney general.
Madigan’s announcement went against her previous statements that she would run again in 2018.
After serving in the Illinois Senate, Madigan was elected as Illinois’ first female attorney general in a tight race in 2002. She handily won re-election each of the next three elections.
Franks, who was a state representative before winning the first race for McHenry County chairman in November, said in September that his biggest concern is McHenry County, and a move to run for attorney general would have to be best for the people he represents.
In November, Franks defeated Republican candidate Michael Walkup, marking the first time since 1978 that county voters elected a Democrat to a countywide office.
The Marengo lawyer, who stepped down from the state representative seat he held for 18 years, pledged after his victory that he would aggressively pursue the ambitious platform of property tax relief and accountability that he ran on, and said he wanted the county to be "a model for good government."
Franks now is pushing a resolution to ax pensions for all countywide elected officials.
If passed by the County Board, the resolution will remove Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund eligibility for the offices of County Board chairman, state’s attorney, county clerk, circuit clerk, treasurer, auditor, recorder, coroner and sheriff.
As McHenry County taxpayers shoulder one of the heaviest property tax burdens in the country, Franks said the resolution is a way to cut costs and save money.
The County Board is expected to discuss the resolution at its next Committee of the Whole meeting, which will be at 9 a.m. Thursday at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.