September 26, 2022
Election


Election

Election 2022: Republicans running for McHenry County Board District 5 cite transparency, broadband as priorities

The Republican candidates running for the McHenry County Board in District 5 include, from left to right, Terri Greeno, Justin Franzke and Stephen Doherty.

This is the seventh in a series of articles outlining competitive races in McHenry County ahead of the June 28 primary. Check out nwherald.com/election for more election coverage.

Read about the McHenry County Board District 2 candidates running in the Democratic primary here, Republicans running in District 3 here, Republicans running in District 4 here, Democratic candidates for county clerk here and Democrats running for the Illinois Supreme Court here and Republicans here.

Transparency, broadband and an emphasis on the process are priorities of the Republican candidates running in the primary for the McHenry County Board’s District 5 seat.

The primary features three Republicans – a business owner, an incumbent board member and a former Nunda Township trustee – vying for two spots in November’s general election.

Terri Greeno of Crystal Lake is a former stay-at-home mother who started a human resources business almost two decades ago. Stephen Doherty of McHenry is a current board member representing District 4 but now is running for District 5 after the county’s redistricting process. Justin Franzke of Lakemoor is a real estate agent and former contractor who served on the Nunda Township Board of Trustees.

All three are running to represent District 5, which sits on the far east side of the county and includes all or parts of Cary, Holiday Hills, Lakemoor, McHenry, Oakwood Hills, Port Barrington and Prairie Grove.

The newly redrawn McHenry County Board District 5 sits on the far east side of the county and includes all or parts of Cary, Crystal Lake, Holiday Hills, Lakemoor, McHenry and Prairie Grove.

The County Board’s districts were redrawn this past year as part of the decennial redistricting process, which also included transforming the county’s six four-member districts into nine two-member districts as part of an effort to reduce the County Board’s size.

In total, 36 candidates have filed to run for the County Board, with four running in District 5. The fourth candidate, current board member Kelli Wegener, D-Crystal Lake, is running unopposed in her primary.

Issues

With both affordable housing and assisted living becoming larger issues in the county, Doherty said he feels he’s been able to effect positive change in that realm.

He’s done so through the Valley Hi Nursing Home Operating Committee and helping establish a plan for creating a memory care unit for the facility, he said.

“The most vulnerable in our county we really have to take care of,” Doherty said.

As a real estate agent, Franzke said he works on issues around senior living and affordable housing every day.

“People need an affordable place to live,” he said.

Broadband infrastructure is something Greeno would like to see the County Board address, as a significant portion of the county still doesn’t have service, she said.

“This is the type of thing the government can and should be addressing,” she said.

Franzke agreed that it was something the county should work on, and Doherty said he thinks the county is working to address the need for broadband through various programs and it should continue to work on it.

Transparency and educating residents about the government were issues each candidate emphasized in recent interviews. Doherty said he wants to make sure constituents understand what entities their taxes are going to.

“To me, that’s key – being transparent and above board on what people’s money is going to,” he said.

Greeno said it’s important to deal with issues as they come up and avoid leaving questions unanswered. She cited various legal issues politicians in Illinois have had, including ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan being charged for bribery.

It’s important to deal with those kinds of issues head-on and hold people accountable, she said.

“We have things like that in our history, and we can never have things like that,” Greeno said.

Franzke said oversight not just at the County Board level but also across all government entities is important.

“If there was one thing I wanted to accomplish, it would be to be objective and transparent,” he said. “For people excited about something, look into it, see what’s going on.”

As far as changes the board could make, both Greeno and Franzke paused on levying specific criticisms. It’s hard to critique a body that you haven’t been a part of and aren’t in on the inner workings of, they both said.

One item Franzke raised concerns about was efficiency. He said he thought there was an opportunity to reassess various processes across all entities during the COVID-19 pandemic but, instead, things are returning to how they were, he said.

“I haven’t read, seen or heard one thing of how we can use this time of flux to fix anything and cut the fat,” he said. “I think it’s wrong when people look at things not in a holistic or objective way.”

During her campaign, Greeno said she has heard people saying the County Board needs to be strong, acting as a “calm in the storm” against a variety of issues coming from the state, such as unfunded mandates and the law that stopped the McHenry County Jail from signing a contract with the federal government to house immigration detainees.

Safety also has been a priority for residents, she said.

The county is currently on a strong fiscal path, Greeno said. Part of her objective would be to maintain that path, she said, adding it is “critically important.”

Doherty said he wants to help businesses in the area, noting he thinks he has a good feel for the challenges they’re facing. Work through entities like the county’s economic development corporation are key to helping promote the economy and keeping taxes down, he said.

Background

Greeno was a stay-at-home mother for 17 years and raised three children before starting a human resources business that helps companies fill positions and provides training and other insights, she said. She also has a passion for helping people develop into leaders, she said.

Greeno said when the district map was redrawn last year, she looked at it as her “duty and responsibility” to provide service given her experience.

“This community is as good as we make it,” she said. “Any problems that arise here, well, it’s our problem. Whatever we tolerate is what we will be.”

Doherty was appointed to the County Board in late 2018 to finish out Craig Wilcox’s term, who left the spot to fill the Illinois 32nd Senate District seat. Two years later, Doherty ran in an uncontested race.

Before he was on the board, Doherty was not involved in politics, although he said he always had been active in the community.

It was when retirement from his job as a controller at Sherman Mechanical in Cary started creeping up that he thought he had time to dedicate to local government, he said. He’d also worked as the assistant vice president of finance at McHenry County College.

“My experience makes me unique,” Doherty said. “I think the county does a lot of great things already.”

Franzke has run in the past for the Nunda Township assessor, losing the race, but later was appointed to the Nunda Township Board of Trustees. He also has served as a precinct committeeman in the county.

Professionally, Franzke has been a real estate agent and was a longtime contractor. He said his background has provided him the skills to work and talk with people.

Like Greeno, Franzke opted to run after seeing the new redistricting map. It was almost entirely what he called his neighborhood, as friends and family all lived in the district and it was an area he’d grown up around, he said.

“It just seemed like a sign to me,” he said. “I thought it was the right thing to do.”

James Norman

James T. Norman

James also goes by Jake and became a journalist to pursue a love of writing. He originally joined the ranks to be involved with football, but over time fell in love with community reporting and explaining policies. You can catch him at his computer or your local meeting.