State Sen. Chris Lauzen was nowhere to be seen Tuesday on the front lawn of the Kane County Government Center, where Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns announced he'll seek the GOP nomination to become the next chairman of the Kane County Board.
But Burns left little doubt that he is prepared to face Lauzen in a race for the county's top spot, if Lauzen decides to run. Lauzen has said in several media accounts that he is interested in pursuing the position.
"The experience as CEO is critical—absolutely critical to this job," he said in an interview after the noon announcement.
With 10-plus years' experience as mayor of Geneva, Burns has what he believes to be the apples-to-apples skills—the budget management, staff direction and consensus-building experience—that Lauzen does not have as a state legislator.
In his speech, Burns name-dropped state Republican Chair Pat Brady, who Burns described as "perhaps one of my closest friends and I trust a strong ally."
Brady could not attend the announcement because of a business commitment, Burns said, but after the speech, Burns said Brady's encouragement could be interpreted as "nothing less" than an endorsement.
Burns said the issues facing Kane County are maintaining the financial strength—which he says is "in excellent shape"—enhancing the county's public-safety presence and "working with municipal leaders" to get things done.
The two themes he repeated frequently are his municipal government leadership and his ability to play well with others.
"I think these will be the top qualities for the office—whoever runs," he said after the announcement.
Burns, however, has had his own run-ins with the County Board on Geneva's behalf at various times in his tenure as mayor. As recently as November, Burns said county officials " pure and simple," for not continuing to allow red-light cameras on Randall Road.
"I understand that there can be difference of opinion without being disrespectful of those who serve," he said Tuesday.
Burns promised to be the same kind of leader for Kane County as he has been for Geneva: "visible and accessible—to be present," he said.
"As candidate for Kane County Board chairman—an applicant for the job now posted—I am the best-qualified candidate and respectfully ask for your support and help to build on the success already achieved and help write the next chapter of Kane County’s extraordinary history."
You can read the full text of Burns' announcement on Patch.