Farm Bureau endorses Hulten for county executive

Farm Bureau endorses Hulten for county executive

CHAMPAIGN — Just as the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce did a month ago, the county Farm Bureau's political involvement committee has endorsed Republican Gordy Hulten to become the first county executive.

Hulten, currently the county clerk, is unopposed in the March 20 Republican primary for the county executive nomination. Darlene Kloeppel of Urbana is the lone Democratic candidate for the position.

It's likely that Kloeppel and Hulten will face off in November to become county executive, a position that county voters approved by referendum in November 2016.

"We have a long and outstanding working relationship with Gordy," said Chris Murray, chair of the Farm Bureau's political involvement committee. "He understands the issues that matter to our membership and is a committed partner. We agree with the priorities he's identified for county government and are excited to support his campaign."

When the Chamber of Commerce announced its support for Hulten in December, the group said its political fund would provide the Hulten campaign with at least $5,000. His campaign received a $5,000 check a few days later.

Brad Uken, the manager of the county Farm Bureau, said Thursday that campaign money may be coming from his organization as well.

"Is there a plan for it? Not necessarily a plan, but it could be an option," Uken said. "As of today, we're starting with the first step, which is the announcement of our endorsement."

Uken said the political involvement committee made the endorsement without interviewing the candidates.

"Our committee met several times and discussed what our visional and goals were for the position and came to the conclusion that Gordy probably was the best fit to meet that vision," he said.

Uken said the Farm Bureau intends to hold meetings throughout the county, beginning later this month in Rantoul, "to talk about the county exec to make sure that people fully understand what the roles and responsibilities are as they are laid out in statute."

The Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce worked with Hulten and state Sen. Chapin Rose in 2016 to get the county executive question on the ballot.

"Since we were part of the group behind it, we want to make sure that voters, going into the election and when it's actually in place next December, have a good understanding of what this position is going to be," Uken said. "We think that that's part of our responsibility."

Hulten said he was "honored and grateful" to get the Farm Bureau endorsement.

"I look forward to working with them and their members in partnership as Champaign County's first county executive," he said.

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EdRyan wrote on January 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

In Illinois, we have an excess of political offices and politicians.  Our counties, for example, would be just fine with 5 or 7 county board members, with one being chair, and a professional administrator hired as manager in the more populous urban counties.  Several of the elected county offices could be combined as well, or their functions made part of the county administration.

rsp wrote on January 12, 2018 at 11:01 am

Really don't understand why we are adding positions like this instead of fixing the county board. Make it smaller, nonpartisan, with an administrator. Start consolidating some of those offices.

People need to stop worrying about giving their friends jobs and how much they can pay them, think about the taxpayers' money.

With the money spent on this position they could have hired a person to work on the blight in Scottswood and the other areas. Funny that there wasn't money for that. Talking about laying people off but there's money to double the original suggested starting salary.

But Gordy is a friend. I guess we are just supposed to vote for him, he needs the job, the money, the promotion? What are we getting out of this?

Pointblank wrote on January 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm
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 "What are we getting out of this?"

A brand new $20 million dollar expansion at the Satellite Jail, featuring 70 more beds and 25 more isolation cells for the mentally ill.