The first time Lynn LaPlante ran to lead the DuPage County Board, the Glen Ellyn Democrat faced no primary opponent and came within 7,314 votes of upsetting longtime Republican incumbent Dan Cronin.
LaPlante won a board seat two years later, helping Democrats cement their majority in a one-time Republican stronghold. But her 2018 campaign for the county’s top seat left LaPlante with unfinished business.
“I want to go back and finish what I started,” LaPlante said.
The first-term board member has decided to run again for the chairmanship, and this time around, LaPlante won’t have a clear path to the general election. LaPlante is gearing up for a primary race against Liz Chaplin, the longest-serving Democrat on the county board.
LaPlante, a violist with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, said she was spurred to run in part because of “a real deficit of leadership on the board and in our party.”
“This opportunity was here in 2018 when I ran for this position the first time because no one else was stepping up to do that,” LaPlante said. “So that does speak volumes to me. The opportunity for leadership was there. I took it then, and I’m doing it again now.”
When asked to respond to LaPlante’s campaign announcement, Chaplin pointed to her credentials. The Downers Grove Democrat was first elected in 2012. She currently chairs the board’s finance committee.
“My 20 years of experience as a community organizer, appointed member of the DuPage Water Commission and a decadelong elected member of the DuPage County Board gives me the institutional knowledge and understanding of county government needed to be prepared to take the helm starting on day one,” Chaplin said in a statement.
“I’m building a strong team of local elected officials and community leaders that support my candidacy for DuPage County Board chairman and together we will work to build a better DuPage.”
LaPlante sits on the county’s environmental committee and said she would make efforts to combat climate change a priority if elected to lead the board.
“DuPage County should lead the collar counties on reaching carbon-free power before Cook or the state of Illinois,” she said. “We cannot be the leading place to work, live and raise a family and not also lead with the values that have attracted so many families to us.”
Cronin announced last month he won’t seek a fourth term next year. On the Republican side, county board members Pete DiCianni and Greg Hart are running to succeed him.