Angela Byrnes is among two other candidates vying for the position of McHenry County coroner in the upcoming republican primary.
However, Byrnes, along with Michael Rein and Mark Justen, are all running for an office that could move to an appointed position — not an elected one. There are currently no democratic challengers to the three republican candidates.
A referendum on the ballot in November will ask voters in McHenry County to abolish the elected coroner position, instead making it an appointed medical examiner position.
Some argue that making the coroner an appointed position could lead to conflicts of interest and other issues when it comes to investigating a death.
Byrnes has 20 years of healthcare experience — 12 of those as a registered nurse. She currently serves as a vice president at the largest non-profit hospice organization in Illinois, who role she would leave if elected.
Byrnes also has training in forensic nursing, which has allowed her to care for and collect evidence from sexual assault victims. She says this has taught her the importance of evidence collection, proper evidence handling and objective reporting.
Byrnes routinely worked with patients and families regarding terminal disease progression and would discuss end of life care with them. We believe this experience is crucial when it comes to being coroner, a person who has to work delicately on a daily basis with families after they lose loved ones.
A report was published in late 2019 by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office regarding the state of the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. That report outlined numerous issues after Anne Majewski resigned as coroner for health reasons in March 2019.
Some of those issues included lack of security measures, evidence and records not being properly maintained, and lack of experience after several employees left the office.
Byrnes said that she has reviewed the report and her priority, if elected, would be to fix those issues. She will also make it a priority to ensure the office obtains accreditation from the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.
Byrnes says she will bring transparency to the coroner’s office — an issue that has plagued the office since Anne Majewski retired.
We find Byrnes to be the most qualified candidate, and she is endorsed.