Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips’ chief deputy, Kay Olson, has announced she is looking to replace Phillips after the current clerk retires and will, therefore, run in the 2014 election.
“When Lana told me her plans to retire, and asked me to consider running, I gave it much thought. I felt very strongly that someone from the office had to step up and run, because there’s no doubt we’ve all learned from the best,” said Olson during her press conference announcing her candidacy Thursday evening on the steps of the Grundy County Courthouse.
Olson was welcomed to the steps by loud applause from the crowd of supporters on the lawn before her, which included elected officials such as Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick, Sheriff Kevin Callahan, and 79th District State Rep. Kate Cloonen.
Phillips announced last week she will retire at the end of her term in December 2014 after what will then be 38 years as clerk.
Olson began with the clerk’s office in 2003 in the recorders division before taking the front desk job in the clerk’s office. She became Phillips’ chief deputy in 2009.
“When my longtime chief deputy, Kathy Vignocchi, retired in 2009, after 34 years, I tapped Kay to take her place,” said Phillips before introducing Olson. “This proved to be the very best choice that I could have made.”
“Kay embodies the qualities that you would like to see in an elected official,” Phillips continued. “She is dedicated, honest and professional, and she brings a wealth of hands-on experience to this most important county office.”
Olson is the Vital Records Clerk for the county, and she is the Site Registration Authority for the Illinois Vital Records System. She also works with tax redemption and works hands on with the elections department.
Having worked in various aspects in the office, Olson said she is a qualified candidate for the position.
“I believe that my 10 years of experience and knowledge make me a very qualified candidate, and I would be honored to be given the opportunity to continue the tradition of excellence that this office and the residents of Grundy County deserve,” she said.
Republican David Welter, Grundy County Board vice chairman, has said he intends to run for the office as well, and will make his official announcement in September, also on the courthouse lawn.
“I congratulate Mrs. Olson for deciding to run for public office,” said Welter in a phone call. “There is a lot to be accomplished in that office and I look forward to the election.”
Olson was born and raised in Morris. Her parents are Jack and the late Marianne Kutches.
She graduated from Immaculate Conception School and Morris Community High School.
She also attended Joliet Junior College before taking a full-time position with the Public Relations Office at JJC.
In 1986, she married Rick Olson and they have three children — Maggie (Matt) Blaine, an elementary teacher and graduate of North Central College; Ben, a college football coach and recent graduate of Eastern Illinois University; and Jake, a current student of Eastern Illinois University.
Before working for the clerk’s office, she worked as an office assistant for Willareth Clinic of Chiropractic and Standard Bank. She also owned and operated a small business in Morris with her sister.
Olson is planning a kickoff fundraiser for her campaign on Sunday, Sept. 8, at Carbon Hill Village Park. For more information find Olson on her Facebook page by searching “Kay Olson County Clerk,” or email firstname.lastname@example.org.