By Adam Poulisse
Posted May 13, 2016 at 12:01 AM
Updated May 13, 2016 at 1:50 AM
BELVIDERE — Craig Schultz, District 3 Boone County Board member and its lone Democrat, died unexpectedly Thursday. He was 58 years old.
Schultz's death was announced by County Board Chairman Bob Walberg at the beginning of a County Board retreat focused on the Great Lakes Basin Railroad. Two moments of silence were observed.
"I think it's very sad," Walberg said after the meeting. "He was a good board member and a good person. He very much tried to do what was best for the community."
Schultz received 1,210 votes in the March primary as an uncontested Democrat for the District 3 seat. He served with three other District 3 board members, all Republicans: Sherry Branson, Kenny Freeman and Brad Stark.
Stark said Schultz's death is "a big loss."
"He didn't let party lines get in the way of things," Stark said. "He was always on the (correct) side of the issue — whatever was good for the people. On a board that was predominately Republican, he wasn't always staunchly opposed to things."
Schultz was chairman of the county's Finance Committee. While seeking re-election for a second term in the primary, he said bringing wind mills to Boone County is a major issue.
"I can't understand why we can't get it pushed through," he told the Register Star. "I'm on the Finance Committee and we struggled so hard to get our budget in line that we ignored the chance that we could add additional revenue to the county and make it more valuable."
It's up to the Boone County Democratic Central Committee to lead a search for Schultz's replacement. That will be done "as soon as possible," Committee Chairman John Gedney said.
"I'm so shocked for the family and my heart aches for them," he said. "I'm keeping all of them in my thoughts."