With so many new members of the General Assembly this spring, we thought we should take some time to introduce you to some of the new faces in Springfield.

With the possible exception of the handful of farmers in the Illinois General Assembly, there’s probably no lawmaker who gets his hands dirty more than Rep. Harry Benton (D-Plainfield).

Benton, 35, is a union ironworker who was working on a bridge project Monday and heads to Springfield this morning attempt to build political bridges. Benton believes that blue collar background will be a benefit.

“I come from a union. I believe in unions,” Benton said. “I believe in blue collar ethics and values and wages and benefits. That’s very representative of my new district.”

Benton ran for the House in 2020, failing to unseat then-Rep. Mark Batinick, but Democrats drew a safer district in 2022 allowing Benton to win the take the seat from the GOP. The district includes the southern tips Naperville and Aurora, most of Plainfield, and runs south to Shorewood in Will County. It also includes a portion of Oswego in Kendall County.

“Being a moderate, there are a lot of things we can agree on,” Benton said. “This is about helping people, making people’s day-to-day lives better.

Benton says he wants to prioritize access to affordable child care and educational opportunities for trade and vocational education, property tax relief, prescription drug affordability, and investing in infrastructure improvements.

“Good government should be like a good marriage,” he said. “If you aren’t willing to compromise, it’s never going to work.”

Benton grew up in Crest Hill and has spent 12 years in Plainfield. He and his wife have a 4-year-old and 2-year-old.

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February 7, 2023 at 04:58PM