Padilla graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a degree in dental hygiene, and worked as a dental hygienist for 28 years. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and has been the executive director at Home of Hope Cancer Wellness Center in Dixon for eight years. She is married to Tom Padilla and together they have four children.

When Padilla announced her candidacy in July 2019, she vowed to take a different, more strategic path from her 2018 campaign.

“My passion for my community didn’t end just because of my loss in 2018,” she said. “I’m running to improve the lives of the families of the 71st District. We’ve had four years of Ms. McCombie’s representation and I feel our voice has not been heard in the District. We deserve a seat at the table down in Springfield.”

If elected, Padilla said her focus will be on education and making sure school districts have the resources they need to be successful. She would like to relieve the over-reliance on property taxes for school funding. 

Economic development will be another priority for Padilla, who said incorporating hemp crops into the agriculture industry in Illinois could be a financial success.

“I’ve been doing a lot of research on hemp and there’s a lot of interest in it, but farmers are reticent to jump into it as a third or fourth crop,” she said. “They don’t have the capabilities to (farm.) They’d have to retrofit their existing machinery for planting and harvesting hemp. And once the crop is harvested, there is literally nowhere for it to be taken to for production of textiles or medicinal CBD.

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October 5, 2020 at 05:10PM