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Naperville selects two Aurorans for DuPage board

Updated: December 8, 2012 6:27AM

Voters in the district that covers most of Naperville again chose two Republicans and one Democrat for the DuPage County Board when they weighed in Tuesday — but not all of the same people as last time.

Unofficial resuts showed the Democrat now representing District 5, Aurora resident Tony Michelassi, held onto a thin lead over fellow incumbent John Zediker, a Naperville Republican, as the returns came in. Topping the four candidates in District 5 was Republican political activist and elected-office newcomer Tonia J. Khouri, also from Aurora.

Khouri said she is ready to join the board, and is particularly eager to get to work on the in-process initiatives aimed at consolidating governmental agencies and streamlining processes.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the team and just keep moving DuPage County forward,” she said. “I’m just very humbled and honored by the support that I got from the citizens of District 5.”

Michelassi was taking nothing for granted as the early numbers came in.

“I’ll keep my expectations low, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and see how things go,” said Michelassi, 27, who became the youngest person ever to serve on the board when he was elected in 2008.

Jim Healy of Naperville was pleased with his fourth board win.

“People recognize that we’ve done a really good job at the county all these years. I was very proud to have John as a seatmate, and I’m really excited to have Tonia on board,” Healy said. “She’s going through the budget, she’s asking questions.”

Zediker said he would have more opportunity to reflect on his narrow defeat in the coming days.

“It was a tough one,” he said. “I wish everybody well. It was a great race, a good campaign.”

After last year’s redrawing of electoral boundaries, Districts 2 and 3 now include small portions of Naperville.

With all of the last election’s winners taking a pass on new terms, District 2 had no incumbents on the ticket. Former DuPage Water Commission member Liz Chaplin held a slim lead throughout the evening. Acknowledging her “three good opponents,” all Republicans, she was cautiously optimistic as the counting went on.

“I think if the people look at what I’ve done in DuPage over the last ten years ... I’ll get a seat,” the Downers Grove Democrat said before coming out on top in the four-way race.

Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni finished second to Chaplin. Sean Noonan drew just 90 votes more than Elaine Zannis to take the third board seat.

DiCianni said in a press release Wednesday that he was “honored and humbled” by the confidence shown by the voters, and he thanked the residents of Elmhurst for allowing him to be their mayor for the past four years.

Chaplin reported hearing encouragement from people on both sides of the political aisle during her campaign.

“I was hearing a lot of positive feedback, people saying I have the right ideas. A lot of the issues had to do with the salary and benefits of the county board,” she said. “People said even if you don’t win, keep speaking truth to power, because that’s what we value.”

In District 3, Bolingbrook Democrat Sharon Bryant came up short by a razor-thin thin margin against her three Republican opponents, two of whom are incumbents.

Former Downers Grove mayor Brian Krajewski was glad to be headed into a second term on the board, along with Republicans John Curran, an incumbent who also got the nod for a second term, and Gary Grasso, now mayor of Burr Ridge, who bested Bryant by just nine votes.

“When I talked to people, I think they were pretty happy with where the county’s going,” Krajewski said.

He noted that the county’s financial ratings are far superior to the state’s.

“Springfield’s run by the Democrats,” he said. “I think people understand that the county’s run by the Republicans and we’re doing a good job.”

Voters came out decisively against the idea of elected officials serving in two positions at the same time. The countywide advisory proposition was approved by a ratio of nine to one against multiple office holders.

Also appearing on track for a win were propositions in Lisle Township and Warrenville that both found nearly two-thirds of the voters in favor of a federal amendment specifying that only people, not corporations or other organizations, are entitled to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The measure is taking aim at the U.S. Supreme Court decision that did away with limits on campaign contributions by businesses, unions and other groups.

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