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Rival criticizes Lee County treasurer

Whiteside, Lee candidates file paperwork

Lee County Treasurer John Fritts has competition for the first time since the 1990s.

County Board member Wes Morrissey of Amboy filed this week as a Democrat for treasurer. Fritts, a Republican, has held the post for 19 years. 

The Democratic and Republican primaries will be March 18, with the general election next November. County candidates have until Monday to file.

"I like John, but the job has passed him by," Morrissey said Tuesday. "He is not involved in the budget process."

Morrissey, who took office as a board member last December, proposes an investment plan for the county, which he said would increase the county's interest income from $3,000 a year to $37,000.

"I have been on the board for less than a year, and I found that out," Morrissey said. "That's John's job. He should have been looking for that for the last 20 years.

“I showed him the plan. At first, he was a little confused. After I explained it to him, he liked the idea. I think I can give the taxpayers a better return on their investment."

Morrissey said the money still would be held in FDIC-insured accounts, so his plan would involve "zero risk."

Fritts defended his office's performance.

"The interest rates are terrible right now," he said. “That's the way life is. I don't care who you are; it's impossible to make money right now."

As for the county budget, he said the County Board's finance chairman takes charge of that.

"It's the treasurer's job to manage the money," Fritts said.

In the race for sheriff, incumbent John Varga and John Simonton, a retired state police lieutenant and a current Dixon police officer, have filed their candidacies as Republicans. Both candidates already have posted campaign signs around town. 

On the Lee County Board, seven of the 13 incumbents up for election have filed their paperwork. Dick Binder, R-Compton, and Ryan Marshall, R-Dixon, have announced they won't seek re-election.

The four other incumbents – Vern Gottel of rural Sterling, Bernie Buckley of Dixon, Tom Kitson of Dixon, and Isaac Mercer of Dixon – hadn't filed as of mid-Tuesday afternoon. All but Mercer are Republicans.

Lisa Zeimetz, R-Paw Paw, is vying for the seat she lost last year, and Doug Farster, R-Dixon, a former County Board member, is looking to get back his old job.

No one has filed to run against County Clerk Cathy Myers, who is seeking a second term.

A daughter-mother pair in Whiteside?

In Whiteside County, eight of 13 County Board members had filed for re-election as of mid-Tuesday afternoon.

One high-profile departure next year will be Tony Arduini, D-Rock Falls, a former board chairman who recently announced that he was leaving after nearly a half century. 

To fill help fill that gap in the Democrats' ranks, Katherine Nelson has submitted her paperwork. She is the daughter of board member Karen Nelson, whose term will expire in 2016.

The two women live across from each other on New High Street in Rock Falls.

Katherine Nelson, her mother said, has been involved in politics for a while. 

"With Tony Arduini not running again, that left an opening," Karen Nelson said. "Some of us leaned on her."

Whiteside County Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi could go unopposed next year. At this point, he is the only candidate who has filed for that office. In the 2010 race, Wilhelmi beat John Booker, who said recently he didn't plan to be a candidate next year.

County Clerk Dana Nelson and County Treasurer Darlene Hook are seeking re-election. They have not drawn opponents so far.

Candidates so far

Here's who has filed for public offices in Whiteside and Lee counties as of mid-Tuesday afternoon. People have until Monday to file their candidacies.



• John Varga, R

• John Simonton, R


• John Fritts, R

• Wes Morrissey, D


• Cathy Myers, R

County Board

District 1 (3 seats)

• David Gusse, R-Dixon

• Marilyn Shippert, R-Dixon

District 2 (3 seats)

• Gerald Leffelman, R-Sublette

• Allyn Buhrow, R-Ashton

• Lisa Zeimetz, R-Paw Paw

District 3 (3 seats)

• Doug Farster, R-Dixon

District 4 (4 seats)

• Jim Wentling, R-Dixon

• Bill Palen, R-Dixon

• Marvin Williams, R-Dixon



• Kelly Wilhelmi, R


• Darlene Hook, R


• Dana Nelson, R

County Board 

District 1 (4 seats)

• Kurt Glazier, R-Sterling

• James Jaeger, D-Sterling

• Ruth Stanley, R-Sterling

District 2 (5 seats)

• Paul Cunniff, D-Rock Falls

• Kathie Donahue, R-Sterling

• Bill Milby, D-Rock Falls

• Linda Pennell, R-Rock Falls

• Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls

• Katherine Nelson, D-Rock Falls

• Doug Wetzell, R-Deer Grove

District 3 (4 seats)

• Sue Britt, D-Morrison

• Kurt Dreger, D-Fulton

• Martin Koster, R-Morrison

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