A long-time suburban state representative is leaving Springfield to throw his hat into a new ring.
State Representative Jack Franks (D-63) announced Sunday his plans to enter the race for McHenry County Board Chairman. The 63rd District includes all or parts of Alden, Greenwood, Harvard, Hebron, Johnsburg, Marengo, McCullom Lake, McHenry, Pistakee Highlands, Richmond, Ringwood, Union, Wonder Lake, and Woodstock.
"McHenry County deserves a proven tax fighter as Chairman," Franks said in a release. "I have spent my public career fighting all tax increases, and it’s that commitment that I will take to the county.”
Franks, of Marengo, was first elected to the General Assembly in 1998. He has often been viewed as an independent voice in the House, breaking with members of his party at times, and introducing several pieces of legislation aimed at consolidating units of government.
"It's just broken," he told NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern. "I got into public service to help people. I don't see that happening in Springfield at this time."
He was an outspoken critic of Gov. Rod Blagojevich during the state's budget gridlock in 2007, and has continued to be vocal in the negotiation process of Illinois' current 10-month budget stalemate.
"Government at both the state and county level is not functioning," Franks said in the statement. "As I look at where I can do the most good, I have concluded that it’s time to leave Springfield and come home to lead the County Board."
Franks was selected Sunday by the McHenry County Democratic Party to fill the ballot vacancy, and will face Republican nominee Mike Walkup in the November general election. The Democratic Party has until late August to identify a replacement candidate for state representative in the 63rd district.