Robert Davidson Jr.
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:25AM
YORKVILLE – Bob Davidson was done watching election returns before 10 p.m. election day.
He left the watch party he was at, and was up by 3 a.m. the next morning, pulling coho salmon out of Lake Michigan.
“By 9:30 or so I knew I was beat,” the 14-year veteran of the Kendall County Board said. “But the people voted. I thank everyone for letting me serve them for (all those) years on the County Board.”
Davidson, 66, a seasoned veteran of Kendall County’s political scene, is no stranger to losing. But he’s much more accustomed to winning, so it came as a bit of a surprise that he finished last in the six-candidate race for the County Board’s District 1, where he served 12 consecutive years, and 14 total. He also served as mayor of Yorkville from 1983 to 1991.
He was first elected to the County Board in 1994 but left after two years because the job was taking too much time away from his business. He ran again and was elected in 2000 and had won every time since then – until Tuesday.
While he wanted to return to the board for another term, he admitted after one of his last board meetings that he had mixed feelings.
“Maybe I’m happy,” he said, deferring to his wife of seven years, Dolores. “She always said we only got along because I was never home. So we’ll see if she’s right.”
Davidson spent a long time as chairman of the Highway Committee, and as such points with pride to the fact the department’s workload is somewhat planned out to 2018. He deflects the credit more to Highway Director and County Engineer Fran Klaas, whom Davidson also had as engineer when he served as Yorkville mayor.
But Davidson has worked hard to help the department get plans, right-of-way and engineering underway for such big projects as the extension of Grove and Ridge roads, and the expansion of Eldamain Road with the possibility of a bridge being built over the Fox River.
Davidson hinted that the county right now is working with U.S. Rep Randy Hultgren to see if it would be possible to take money that was set aside for the segment of the Prairie Parkway that would have crossed the river and put it toward the Eldamain Road bridge.
“Things like that I would have liked to have seen through,” he said.
As he spoke to reporters this week, his good friend and fellow board member John Shaw walked by, gripped his arm and smiled.
“Love this guy,” he said.
Davidson responded by saying he thinks Shaw might make a good successor to him as Highway Committee chairman.
“He’s been my right hand man,” he said.
Davidson pointed out that with him leaving, along with Anne Vickery, who lost her re-election bid during the primary this year, and long-time board members Jesse Hafenrichter and Nancy Martin, who declined to run again after years on the board, the board is “losing a lot of experience.”
It was a softening of his somewhat curmudgeonly attitude that sometimes came out at board meetings.
“Well, that’s a family,” he said. “We all fight, but for the most part, we have the respect of the office and job we do. I’m going to miss these guys.”
His advice to the new board, with half the members on for their first time, was to “be prepared to spend 30 to 35 hours a month.” He also said not to worry about who likes you, or who doesn’t.
“You can only do what you think is right, today,” he said.