Greg Hart launches bid for DuPage County Board chairman’s seat

Two days after Dan Cronin announced he won’t run for reelection as DuPage County Board chairman, the first Republican contender formally launched his campaign for the seat.

Greg Hart, a sitting board member from Hinsdale, will seek the GOP nomination for the chairman’s position in 2022.

Hart released a campaign video Thursday focusing on his business acumen and roots in DuPage. He holds an MBA and co-owns a management consulting firm. He’s now in his first full term on the board.

“We’re making DuPage a great place to live and work,” Hart says in the video. “We also need to make sure that we encourage a diverse workforce and allow everyone to do business with the county.”

Hart will try to keep the office in Republican hands after historic gains by Democrats in the 2020 election.

For the first time since the Great Depression, Democrats took control of the county board, a show of strength that spilled over to forest preserve races.

Liz Chaplin, who had been the party’s sole county board member, also is running to lead it. The Downers Grove Democrat was first elected in 2012. Other board members are flirting with a bid.

Hart is seen in some GOP circles as the future of the party. In 2018, when he won his first full term, Hart received 29,904 votes, more than any other Republican county board candidate. The year prior, he was appointed to the board’s District 3 seat.

Cronin, who is stepping aside instead of running for a fourth term, has not yet formally endorsed a successor. But Hart received $10,000 from Cronin’s campaign fund during the year’s second quarter, state records show. Hart’s campaign had $267,627 on hand at the end of June.

“I don’t think it’s a big secret that I have a particular respect for Greg Hart,” Cronin said.

Hart has chaired a county task force formed in response to the opioid crisis. The Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce, or HOPE, a joint effort by the county board and DuPage health department, helped launch a specialty drug court for first-time offenders.

Hart also has touted his decision to decline taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Individual board members can sign up to receive health and dental insurance through the county.

Hart went to Fenwick High School, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his MBA from the University of Chicago.

As a result of redistricting, all 18 board seats will be up for election in 2022.

District 3 now includes all or parts of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Naperville, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.