OSWEGO – A Democrat has entered the race for Kendall County Circuit Clerk.
Ryan Kauffman, 39, of Oswego announced on Friday, Sept. 6 that he will be a candidate for the office in the Democratic Party primary election March 17, 2020. He said he will no longer run for office as Illinois State Representative for the 97th district in pursuit of the county seat.
Kauffman said he wanted to pursue the circuit clerk seat instead because someone once told him that the office was woefully far behind, technologically speaking.
“Which immediately sort of perked my ears up, because that’s one of the things that I do for a living,” Kauffman said.
Kauffman said it would also work out that he could not only continue to serve the community that he loves, but he could also be closer to home with his family to drive his children Dylan, 4, and Kennedy, 3, to daycare every morning, for example.
Kauffman said his initial ideas for enhancing the office's operations, should he be elected, include building an Alexa app – or smart speaker applications that operate on vocal commands – for the office, building several text message chatbots for residents to ask routine questions related to the office and to otherwise help automate office operations.
“It's almost the year 2020," Kauffman said. "The fact that these things don’t exist already is kind of crazy to me.”
Kauffman said the Alexa app would help residents who have impaired vision and might not be able to readily search for information through a search engine. He also said chatbots would help free up employees to help with other office processes as opposed to having to answer the same question for residents over and over again.
Kauffman served a four year term on the Oswego Village Board, but lost his bid to retain his board seat in the April 2 election.
Kauffman's announcement comes as Yorkville resident Michelle Halbesma formally announced her candidacy for the office on Friday, Sept. 6. Emily Carlson, also a Republican and Yorkville resident, is also running for the seat.
Kauffman said he's the only Democrat running for the office as far as he's aware.
"But time will tell," Kauffman said.