County Board Chairman
6903 South Grant Hwy.
Marengo, IL 60152
Current Term Ends: Dec. 2020
Jack D. Franks is the first directly elected Chairman of the McHenry County Board. Franks was first elected in 1998 as a state representative, and served the citizens of McHenry County in the Illinois General Assembly for 18 years before his 2016 election as Chairman.
In his first two years as McHenry County Board Chairman, Franks has supervised reducing the county’s property-tax levy by more than $18 million, and rebating another $15 million in unnecessary budget surpluses directly back to homeowners. He successfully fought to reduce the size of the County Board by 25 percent, halved its number of standing committees, and led a successful campaign to approve a referendum to impose term limits on himself and County Board members. Franks introduced video streaming of meetings of the County Board and its committees, and implemented electronic voting so that constituents can better track how their elected members vote on the issues.
Franks has been an independent voice throughout his political career, taking on the status quo of inefficient government and wasteful spending in Springfield, and in the county seat of Woodstock. He has earned a reputation as a leader who speaks truth to power and holds lawmakers and other elected officials accountable. As Chairman of the State Government Administration Committee, despite resistance from his own party, Franks initiated and spearheaded the effort to impeach disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Franks chaired the Local Government Consolidation Commission and co-chaired the Subcommittee on Tax Policy. He helped pass landmark ethics reforms to change the pay-to-play culture in Springfield and increasing transparency in state and local government.
During his time in Springfield, Franks was chairman of the International Trade and Commerce Committee, charged with promoting international investment in Illinois and finding markets for exports from the state. He has led trade missions to Turkey and Cuba and was part of an official delegation to Ireland to advise on trade policy.
Franks is a regular guest on local, national and international media outlets, where he is known for his strongly ethical and fiscally hawkish views. He has contributed op-eds to local, state and national publications, and has been featured in Newsweek, Kiplinger’s, Forbes and various other national publications on budgetary and corruption issues facing the State of Illinois.
Franks is a partner in the law firm of Franks Gerkin McKenna, founded by his father, Herb. He has a background in multinational and commercial litigation as well as extensive federal court experience, both of which support his practice in personal injury law, complex commercial litigation, and general business law. Franks also serves as chairman of the State Bank Group, which consists of eight community banks in McHenry County.
Franks received his law degree, with honors, from the American University Washington College of Law. As an undergraduate, he studied international relations and political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, and spent a post-graduate year at the London School of Economics. Franks is heavily involved with civic, business and philanthropic organizations.
Franks is a third-generation resident of McHenry County and lives on the family farm in Marengo with his wife, Debby - they have two grown sons, Sam and Henry. Franks is fluent in Portuguese and conversational Spanish, and enjoys reading about American history and watching all Chicago sports teams.