Two Republican candidates, in front of a small crowd gathered near the steps of the courthouse Thursday in downtown Morris, announced their intents to run for positions in Grundy County government.
Lori Werden threw her hat into the ring for the treasurer’s seat and Mary Michael Roth joined the candidates for county clerk.
Roth will be seeking the Republican nomination for a chance to run, potentially, against current Chief Deputy Clerk Kay Olson, who is serving under County Clerk Lana Phillips and is vying for the Democratic nomination.
Phillips will not seek re-election after her current term expires. She is the county’s longest-serving clerk, elected to the office 10 times.
Roth, who said she is not a politician and has not run for office previously, cites her experience in both her professional career and volunteerism as a strong background for the position of county clerk.
Roth intends to use her background in management and human resources, for companies like Hyatt and Kraft General Foods, to bring the county into the 21st Century, she said. She is currently a broker for Advantage Realty.
Three components make up the foundation of her campaign, Roth said. They are e-government, creating an interactive Internet portal to file county records; transparency with the county board to make documents more easily available to the public; and staff development, ensuring employees are trained in new technology to streamline the clerk and recorder office.
“This will lead to potential savings for taxpayers,” Roth said.
“I am running for office because I believe I can do better here and I know I can help make a difference,” Roth said. “I am not a politician, but I am willing to try something new to help make a difference in our community.”
If she wins her party’s nomination, Werden will likely be running against incumbent Marcy Miller, who has been the county treasurer since 1998. Miller served under previous treasurer Betty J. Olson for almost 13 years.
Werden ran a close campaign for Fourth Ward alderman in Morris in February, losing against incumbent Bill Martin by only 17 votes.
On Thursday, Werden said federal, state and local governments have forgotten about the people for too long. She is committed to returning accountability and professionalism to the treasurer’s office, she said.
“I can no longer sit and watch the void in leadership continue to benefit a select few at the expense of many,” Werden said. “The taxpayers are demanding accountability from their elected officials.”
Her 20-plus years in the private sector, in office management, accounting, banking and customer service “absolutely” qualifies her for the position of county treasurer, Werden said.
The old ways of doing business are changing, she said. Using the same approach to the same problems is getting the county nowhere.
“The most important improvement needed in the treasurer’s office is leadership,” Werden said.
The policies she intends to employ are a direct reflection of the respect she has of the hard earned money of the taxpayers.
“Please join me in this fight to restore honesty, effectiveness and accountability, from a leadership who puts the taxpayers first and not the politicians,” Werden said.