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Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns

Part 5 of a series: Geneva Patch takes a look at 10 fascinating people who played roles in the top stories of 2012, culminating with the announcement of Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."

  • Editor's note: This is the fifth of a 10-part countdown of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."

 

"Honestly," you're saying to yourself, "Kevin Burns is only fifth on Patch's list of top Geneva newsmakers in 2012? He doesn't even make the top five?"

And to be equally honest, Geneva's mayor could be No. 1 on the newsmaker list every year. He is a fascinating guy, and whether you love him or hate him, he keeps the conversation lively, to say the least.

2012 was no exception.

One of Geneva Patch's top stories of 2012 was the GOP primary battle between Burns and former state Sen. Chris Lauzen for the chance to become the next Kane County Board chairman.

Burns came out swinging in the early rounds, making an announcement in front of the Kane County Government Center that didn't name Lauzen specifically, but might as well called him out for a first debate. The contenders then traded press releases, lambasting each other on various positions and accusing each other of distortions and misrepresentations along the way.

The two met face to face during a candidates forum in January, when Burns characterized Lauzen as close-minded and Lauzen tied Burns to "pay to play" politics.

Lauzen brought out the heavy artillery in February, when he called a press conference in Burns' hometown to announce his disfavor with red-light cameras, which Lauzen promised to lobby against if elected. In that same month, Lauzen campaign activist Jon Zahm landed what might have been the knockout punch, attaining the mayor's city cellphone records and revealing some less-than-complimentary dialogue that was both unintended for public consumption and a possible violation of campaign ethics laws, which say an office holder can't use government property to conduct campaign business.

The mayor's giant-economy-sized campaign bus and his countercharges that Lauzen had "misrepresented, misused and misdirected" voters weren't enough to tip the scales, and Lauzen won the primary as well as the General Election handily.

Along the way, the mayor dealt with the usual slate of controversies that go hand in hand with the city's top spot—from the revelation that former Streets Superintendent Steve LeMaire had bought more than $28,000 in personal items on his city credit card to a vote that upheld existing ordinances that prevent liquor-license holders from becoming aldermen.

Burns announced in April that he would be seeking a fourth term as Geneva's mayor. He is challenged by TaxFACTS co-founder Bob McQuillan, which, along with everything else on the city's plate, is likely to keep the mayor at the top of the list of stories of 2013.

 

The Series

  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 10: Jenny McCarthy
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 9: Pam Broviak
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 8: Todd Searcy
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 7: Steve LeMaire
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 5: Nicole Wiesner
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 4: Joe Stanton
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 2: Carol Young
  • Geneva Patch Person of the Year 2012: Mark Grosso

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