Kern to seek fourth term as St. Clair County Board chairman

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said Friday he will seek re-election
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said Friday he will seek re-election tvizer@bnd.com

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern confirmed on Friday he plans to seek re-election in 2016.

He said petitions to run, which need to be filed between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, are being prepared.

Kern, who has been County Board chairman since 2004, would be seeking a fourth term.

Kern wouldn’t speculate on whether he would have any challengers in the election.

When Kern was first elected in 2004, he defeated Republican and current County Board member Steve Reeb. They were vying to succeed John Baricevic, who is now a judge.

In 2008 he was unopposed in the general election, and in 2012 he defeated a challenge from Republican Jon McLean.

Mark Kern was first elected St. Clair County Board chairman in 2004, after serving as Belleville mayor for seven years.

“There’s a lot of good things going on in St. Clair County,” Kern said. “I look forward to continuing to push to create jobs and commerce for St. Clair County.”

Kern pointed to the development of Boeing and North Bay at MidAmerica Airport, as well as planned projects including reconstruction of Front Street in East St. Louis and improvements along Frank Scott Parkway.

He added the county has done hiring freezes, and evaluates positions when they open up and consolidates jobs in order to save money.

“We just need to continue to provide good service to the county, without raising taxes,” Kern said.

Kern said property taxes have been close to the same level they were in 2008, as the county made a decision not to increase property taxes as it weathered the recession.

Before becoming chairman, Kern was mayor of Belleville from 1997 to 2004.

In order to run, established party candidates for countywide offices have been allowed to collect signatures on their petitions since Sept. 1. The petitions must be submitted to the county clerk’s office between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30. The primary is scheduled for March 15, and the election is scheduled for Nov. 8, 2016.

Based upon state law, countywide candidates in St. Clair County need to collect 291 signatures to be on the ballot if they run as a Democrat and 197 if they are Republican.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter