Aurora mayor, a Democrat, endorses Cross’ GOP bid for treasurer

SHARE Aurora mayor, a Democrat, endorses Cross’ GOP bid for treasurer

SPRINGFIELD — The former top House Republican, state Rep. Tom Cross, has picked up a key Fox Valley endorsement from the other side of the partisan divide in his bid for state treasurer.

Three-term Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, a 2012 delegate for President Barack Obama and a donor to Gov. Pat Quinn, has endorsed Cross in his campaign against state Sen. Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign.

“I’m a fiscal conservative. I think Tom is also. I’ve known him for a number of years. He’s always been trustworthy as far as my experience went. I think he’s a down-to-earth individual, serious about public service, and will certainly do well,” Weisner told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times political portal.

“I have the advantage of having gotten to know him so this isn’t a reflection on his opponent,” Weisner said. “I know Tom. He’s from the area. I think he serves people well.”

Weisner praised Cross for helping Aurora, the state’s second largest city, secure state funding to help stabilize the historic Grand Army of the Republic Hall, which had shown signs of settlement. The two also have paired up to work on school and transportation-related projects.

“Over the years, Mayor Weisner and Rep. Cross have worked on key issues, included education initiatives in Aurora and transportation projects, demonstrating the ability to work in a bi-partisan manner to achieve results,” Cross spokesman Kevin Artl said.

The latest polling in the treasurer’s race has Cross ahead of Frerichs. A Sept. 4 We Ask America poll commissioned by Reboot Illinois had Cross ahead 43 to 37 percent, with 6 percent of the vote going to Libertarian Matthew Skopek.

A spokesman for Frerichs questioned whether the Weisner endorsement amounted to a conflict of interest since the city of Aurora is listed with other municipalities as clients on the website of Cross’ Joliet law firm, Mahoney, Silverman and Cross.

“Mayor Weisner is free to endorse Tom Cross. But if Tom Cross wants to be treasurer, he owes the public a full disclosure of how much money his law firm has pocketed over the years from clients like the city of Aurora with legislation before the General Assembly, particularly the more than two dozen units of local government, and whether or not he voted on any legislation impacting them,” said Zach Koutsky, Frerichs’ campaign manager.

Artl responded that during the last 12 months, Cross’ law firm billed the city of Aurora $250 for work with their auditor, and the firm is not retained or on contract with the city but rather used on a “case by case basis.”

Asked if the relationship between the law firm and city had any bearing on Weisner’s endorsement, Artl said, “In terms of the role it played, I would say none and that they both have a professional and personal respect for each other that transcends party lines and has overcome partisan gridlock to get things done.”

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