About Karen

Karen McConnaughay has an unmatched track record in bringing common-sense, fiscally conservative principles to local government.  She has achieved remarkable success in lowering spending, reducing government headcount and making government more efficient, transparent and accountable.


This no-nonsense approach to government is rooted in nearly three decades of experience as a county resident, parent, small businesswoman and grassroots activist. Since moving to the Fox Valley in 1979, she has raised three children who attended area schools, owned and operated a pair of local small businesses, organized a grassroots movement with her neighbors served on the County Board and volunteered for numerous local organizations.


As County Board Chairman since 2004, McConnaughay has worked to bring community leaders together to identify challenges and enact solutions. Under her leadership, Kane County invested in improving public transportation and safety, completed the construction of the Stearns Road Bridge, a new county jail and sheriff’s office, initiated the strengthening of emergency response services and replaced the county finance system to increase accountability.


Just as important, McConnaughay has made fiscal responsibility a top priority and refused to add to the property tax burden facing county residents. In fact, today the County receives less than 5-cents of every property tax dollar – down from 7-cents per dollar a decade ago.


McConnaughay demanded cost cutting at the county, imposing a hiring freeze and requiring county departments and offices to trim their budgets by 1.5 percent without sacrificing services. Under her stewardship Kane has improved their bond rating and reduced the size of the county board.


Facing the fastest growing home foreclosure rate in Chicagoland, McConnaughay led Kane County in launching Help for Homeowners, a comprehensive public information campaign aimed at getting homeowners vital help– including free emergency home foreclosure counseling. Paid for through Riverboat Grant dollars, the campaign and the services highlighted, come at no cost to Kane County taxpayers.

McConnaughay is a recognized leader in crafting regional planning solutions. She serves on the Executive Committee for Metropolis 2020 and The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning appointed her in 2005 to Chair the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group. She has worked with local, state and federal officials to improve the management of regional transit agencies and has called for sweeping reforms in the management of area transportation.


McConnaughay’s commitment to the community has included volunteer work for the PTO, Girl Scouts, Young Mothers Club, Delnor Hospital Auxiliary as well as service on the Board of the American Red Cross, Fox River Chapter.


Karen and her husband John live in St. Charles where you will often find her three adult children: Courtney, Garrett, Kate, son-in-law Mitch and granddaughters Abigail  (3) and newborn Elizabeth Marguerite joining them for family gatherings.

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