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House Downstate Democrats work for the good people of Illinois



Yingling closes Round Lake Beach office

State Rep. Sam Yingling, a Grayslake Democrat, is closing his 62nd District office, 1919 Route 83, Suite 1 in Round Lake Beach, until further notice but will continue to be available remotely. Local families, seniors and small business owners who have concerns are encouraged to email Residents with concerns about COVID-19 can call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s hotline (800) 889-3931 or email


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March 18, 2020 at 06:29PM

Bristow Postpones Events, Offers Assistance to Businesses Affected During Closures |

To help maintain the health and well-being of the community, state Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, will be postponing all of her planned events for the month of March and is working to connect local small business owners with resources during the planned closures of restaurants and other establishments.

“With the concern surrounding COVID-19, my office will follow the guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Center for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health and discourage public gatherings,” said Bristow. “My priority is to keep our communities safe and healthy, including those who are already most vulnerable to this virus, like those with pre-existing conditions and our seniors. I want residents to know that I am in contact with our local health officials and IDPH to communicate accurate information to the public about this ongoing situation.”

The following events hosted by Bristow will be postponed for a later date:

Mar. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mar. 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mar. 28 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Mar. 30 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“If you are a small business owner and you have questions or need assistance during these closures of restaurants, bars and other establishments, please reach out to me at and I will send updates as soon as more information becomes available,” said Bristow. “This includes any information regarding small business loans, unemployment benefits for individuals, and any other resource that may emerge during this very difficult time for many.”

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March 17, 2020 at 07:31AM

Selle: State Rep. Rita Mayfield isn’t taking phantom primary opponent for granted

A sign outside a Lake County polling place on election day 2019.

A sign outside a Lake County polling place on election day 2019.(Dan Moran/News-Sun)

Voters in the 60th Illinois House District have found they have a new pen pal in the runup to next week’s primary elections. State Rep. Rita Mayfield has been filling up their mailboxes the past weeks with campaign literature.

The Waukegan Democrat is working hard to make sure she is nominated for another term in the General Assembly. She is the only incumbent Lake County legislator with primary opposition on March 17, which is one of the oddities of this election being conducted in our plague year.

So far, there is no Republican candidate for the seat in the November election, which means the primary is the election in the 60th District. Mayfield faced no primary or general election opposition two years ago.

Fellow Waukeganite Diana Burdette is seeking to upset the highly accessible incumbent in the Democrat primary. Mayfield has held the seat in the district — which includes Waukegan and North Chicago, along with parts of Beach Park, Gurnee and Park City — since being appointed in 2010 after Eddie Washington, the county’s first African American legislator, died while in office.

Burdette, who has lived in Waukegan since 2010 and is a member of Clean Power Lake County, decided to run for the office after getting involved in the drive to end cancer-causing ethylene oxide emissions from manufacturing plants in Waukegan and Gurnee. She has done little campaigning and even less spending in the contest.

Meanwhile, Mayfield, who served on the Waukegan Unit School District 60 board of education before being tapped for the legislative seat, has garnered newspaper endorsements. She also has the backing of area elected officials, state and county labor unions, Planned Parenthood, pro-choice Personal PAC and the Sierra Club, among others.

Overall, she is a formidable candidate, long known in the community and well-versed on the issues facing the district, county and state. It’s a bridge too far for political newcomer Burdette to overcome.

The incumbent has been sending out nearly a dozen of those slick and well-crafted mailers, because to become the next senator from the 30th Senate District, she needs to be re-elected to another two-year term. She would be a lock for the seat currently held by aging Terry Link of Indian Creek when he decides to retire, if she would want the post.

There also is the political adage of an incumbent not taking any opponent lightly. Additionally, there is the case years ago of the phantom candidate that still looms large in some Lake County political circles.

It was in the Democratic primary election of March 1976 when the rising political star of James Lumber was extinguished by a similar phantom opponent, James J. Cummings of Barrington.

Lumber, an original member of the College of Lake County board when it was constituted in 1967 and the mayor of Round Lake, was heavily favored in the party race.

Prize in the contest was being the Democrat standard-bearer in the general election to face off against incumbent Congressman Bob McClory of Lake Bluff in what was then the 13th Congressional District. Lumber was young and energetic; McClory a senior statesman elected to the U.S. House in 1972 who had been a state senator for 10 years prior.

Reporters and party folks couldn’t track down Cummings — he lived with his mother — to figure out where he stood on the issues. His campaign consisted of placing small “palm cards” proclaiming his pro-life stance — he turned out to be a one-issue candidate — on vehicle windshields during Sunday church services across the district.

The underdog campaign worked as Cummings edged out Lumber, who decided after the defeat to stick with his Grayslake law practice and leave his politics to local doings. Of course, Cummings went on to get creamed in the general election by McClory, who served another six years in Congress.

Which is one reason why Mayfield is spending freely from her substantial campaign-fund coffers. She doesn’t want to be taken out by this century’s phantom candidate.

Charles Selle is a former News-Sun reporter, political editor and editor.

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March 11, 2020 at 07:09PM

Illinois Legislative Offices Visit North Suburban YMCA

Staff members from local legislative offices stopped by The North Suburban YMCA on March 9th to give an update on Springfield, discuss local issues, and learn more about how the Y provides an array of services for children, families adults and seniors in its 15 local communities. In attendance were Jessica Sewell, Outreach Coordinator and Caseworker for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth; Mike Amarilio, Chief of Staff, State Representative Jonathan Carroll; Mira Franzen, Intern for State Representative Jonathan Carroll; Caryn Valdez, Chief of Staff, Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz; and Andrew Goczkowki, Grants Coordinator for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

The NSYMCA is a leading provider of services to 15 North Shore communities including Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highwood, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Northfield, Northbrook, Riverwoods, Wheeling, and Winnetka. For more information visit

About the North Suburban YMCA

The North Suburban YMCA services Northbrook and 14 surrounding communities with programs and tools that help its residents become healthier, more connected, and confident, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. The NSYMCA focuses on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility and is a charitable organization, inclusive and welcoming to all in our community. Learn more at

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March 10, 2020 at 03:36PM

Rep. Bristow and Citizens Utility Board Host Clinic

Two weeks from today State Representative Monica Bristow (D-Alton) and the Citizens Utility Board will co-host a utility bill clinic for residents.

The clinic will be focused on educating and assisting residents in cutting costs on their energy bills as well as valuable information on scams, helping you find the best utility rates and more.

Bristow tells the Big Z the CUB exists solely to help you.

click play for Bristow’s commentso

The free clinic will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 23nd at the Roxana Public Library located at 200 N. Central Avenue in Roxana. Registration is required. To register contact the CUB at 1-800-669-5556 ext. 111 or email


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March 9, 2020 at 05:00AM

Fox River Valley Initiative to host event on gun safety, mental health

Some of the topics that participants will be discussing is increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate at the state level to cover hospital-based crisis stabilization units, providing a place to go during a mental health crisis and how 48 units of affordable house broke ground at 1212 Larkin Ave. in Elgin.

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March 6, 2020 at 08:20PM

Should Schools Warn Students About Risks Of ‘Sexting’?

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether sex education teachers should have to warn students about the consequences of “sexting” — sharing or forwarding sexually explicit videos, pictures, and text messages.

After a recent visit to the private Rockford Lutheran School, state Rep. Maurice West, a Democrat from Rockford, said he learned the majority of disciplinary cases for high school students there was for sharing sexually explicit messages and media.

“As I talked to the children they said the only type of conversation they have in school about sex education is what is an STD, and what does it mean to have sex,” West said.

West said minors can face major consequences for sexting. They can be charged with child pornography, and might have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.

West cited studies that found between 2009 and 2016, 15% of people aged 12-17 sent sexts, 27% received sexts, and 12% forwarded them without consent. West and other lawmakers attribute the rise of sexting to the use of smartphones and other digital communication devices. The legislation would require information about sexting for students in grades 6 through 12.

It would also mandate instruction on internet safety, as predators and human traffickers use sexting to lure, groom and exploit children.

“Our children know a lot more about smartphones than we do,” West said. “It’s time for us to acknowledge that, and have conversations with them so they won’t mess up their lives legally, socially, and academically.”

Unlike the curriculum on internet safety and bullying, the legislation would not create specific guidelines on the content of anti-sexting instruction. Teachers would be allowed to develop their own lessons.

His legislation would only apply to schools that already have sexual education classes, and parents would still have the right to keep their children out.

The legislation is House Bill 4007.


Region: Bloomington,Feeds,News,City: Bloomington,Region: Central


March 4, 2020 at 06:22PM

111th House district race one of state’s most expensive

State Rep. Monica Bristow

Among all races for the Illinois General Assembly during this election cycle, Metro East’s 111th House of Representatives District has become the fifth most contested in the state, according to the campaign finance tracking website, Illinois Sunshine.

So far, contributors have donated a total of $756,500.79 to the two candidates in the district — with the bulk of that going to first-term incumbent Rep. Monica Bristow, a Democrat from Godfrey.

That’s likely because in 2018, Bristow won her first term by just 356 votes — making the 111th one of the most competitive districts in the state, according to Republican challenger Amy Elik of Fosterburg.

As of Feb. 21, Friends of Monica Bristow, the incumbent’s campaign organization, had raised some $639,864.64 for her reelection bid, according to Illinois Sunshine.

Citizens for Amy Elik, on the other hand, has raised just $31,583.00, since the campaign organization was formally established on Nov. 17 of last year. The Elik campaign currently has $22,078.40 in cash on hand; including $2,000 raised since the start of this year.

The Bristow campaign has no debt, according to campaign final reports filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE). Elik’s campaign has $2,050 in debts and obligations.

In addition, Bristow has also had the benefit of $85,053.15 in support, to date, from independent entities, outside her campaign. Elik so far has enjoyed no independent support.

GOP challenger Amy Elik

“Independent expenditures” are defined in election law as expenditures made, in support-of or opposition-to a declared candidate for office in an election, by a super PACs or similar organization, without direct coordination with any candidate running for that office .

Neither the Bristow or Elik campaigns have funds earning interest through investments. Neither has been the subject of independent opposition campaigning.

A self-described conservative Democrat, Rep. Bristow has been a leading advocate for economic development in the Riverbend area.

Before running for state representative, she was, from July 2003 to November 2017, president of the River Bend Growth Association, the chamber of commerce and economic development agency for 10 communities in Madison and Jersey counties.

Prior to that, she spent 22 years with Olin Corporation; working in various capacities including human resources, compensation and public relations.

Elik is a CPA and auditor, with two decades of experience with clients in both the public and private sectors, according to her campaign website.

She is also a longtime Foster Township Trustee and former board member at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Alton.

As a Fosterburg Township trustee, she has cut the township’s tax levy by 20 percent.

Elik cites education, wasteful, spending, Second Amendments rights, protection for the unborn, and taxes as her top campaign issues.

The 111th State House District covers all or parts of Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Edwardsville, Elsah, Godfrey, Granite City, Hartford, Madison, Pontoon Beach, Roxana, South Roxana, and Wood River.

In the 95th House District, incumbent Rep. Avery Bourne of Morrisonville will be challenged by Lawrence Oliver of Dorsey in the March 17 Republican primary.

State Rep. Avery Bourne

Rep. Bourne, the youngest person ever elected to the Illinois General Assembly, has to date raised $93,462.03 for her election bid; with $78,616.68 in cash currently available. She reports $53.15 in independent support.

Oliver, a chemical engineer with a background in environmental testing, reports no fundraising.

The Republican primary winner will face Democrat Chase Wilhelm of Coffeen, a Princeton Theological College graduate and Illinois Department of Corrections chaplain, who reports $2,810 in fundraising; all still in his campaign coffer.

The 95th State House District covers northeastern Madison County and areas to the northeast. It includes Benld, Brighton, Bunker Hill, Gillespie, Mt. Olive, New Douglas, Staunton, Piasa, and Worden

108TH State House

In the 108th State House District, incumbent Rep. Charles Meier of Okawville faces no opposition in the GOP primary, but has raised $115,218.23 so in his reelection bid. With $6,500.00 raised since the start of this year, Citizens for Charlie Meier still has $63,775.82 in its treasury for the fall general election campaign.

Rep. Meier is among a handful of Metro East candidates enjoying a bit of independent support — valued at $53.15 in state campaign finance reports.

He is one of only two Metro East area State House candidates encountering independent opposition efforts — valued at $3,040.69 in state campaign finance reports.

The 108th District includes all of Clinton County as well as parts of Madison, St. Clair, and Washington counties.

Lawrence Oliver of Dorsey

In the 112th State House District, first term Rep. Katie Stuart of Edwardsville faces no primary or general election opposition.

Nevertheless, the Democrat and former Southern Illinois University mathematics instructor has attracted $490,096.83 in campaign support during this election cycle. That includes $478,583.30 in campaign contributions and $11,513.53 in independent support.

Including $109,800 received since the start of this year, the Friends for Katie Stuart campaign committee currently has $446,458.46 in cash on hand.

The 112th District covers central Madison County and a section of north central St. Clair County.

In 113th House District, Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman of Swansea faces no primary or general election opposition but has drawn $1,152,268.22 in campaign support – the fifth highest total for any Illinois House candidate this year.

In addition to $1,152,215.07 in cash or in-kind contributions, the Committee to Elect Jay C Hoffman reports supporting independent expenditures of $53.15.

Including $13,000 in contributions this year, the former prosecutor has $803,840.06 in cash on hand in his reelection treasury.

The 114th District covers sections of central and northeastern St. Clair County and a small section of southeastern Madison County.

In the 114th Illinois State House District, incumbent LaToya Greenwood of East St. Louis also faces no challengers in either the Democratic primary or the fall general election

She reports $145,180.97 in campaign support, including $145,127.82 in cash or in-kind contributions to the Friends of LaToya N Greenwood and $53.15 in independent support. Her campaign has $97,731.51 in cash on hand and has reported no contributions since the close of the last ISBE quarterly reporting period on Dec. 31.

The 114th District cover central St. Clair County including Alorton, Belleville, Brooklyn, Cahokia, Centreville, East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, Mascoutah, Millstadt, O’Fallon, Sauget, Scott Air Force Base, Shiloh, Swansea and Washington Park.

In the 116th State House District, incumbent Rep. Nathan Reitz of Steeleville faces no opposition in next month’s Democratic primary. The Friends of Nathan Reitz have raised $141,544.13 to date with $78,448.95 in cash currently on hand.

On the Republican primary ballot in 116th district:

  • Kevin Schmidt of Millstadt, who has raised $22,200 during this campaign cycle. Including $20,000 raised since the start of this year, the Schmidt for Illinois campaign committee still has $20,942.24 in its treasury to spend.
  • David Holder of Baldwin, who has raised $8,869; all over recent weeks and still available to spend.
  • David Friess of Red Bud, who has raised $7,332.02, since declaring his candidacy, and still has $4,450.47 to spend.

Friess is the other Metro East State House candidate facing considerable independent opposition expenditures, so far totaling $15,769.69.

District 116 covers all of Monroe and Randolph counties, plus parts of St. Clair and Perry counties.




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March 4, 2020 at 04:13PM

Bristow to Host Property Tax Office Hours in Alton

ALTON, Ill. – To help local residents find property tax relief, state Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, is hosting Property Tax Office Hours for residents of Alton Township. The event will be held on March 12 at Senior Service Plus, located 2603 N. Rodgers Ave. Alton, IL, from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.

“This event will give residents the opportunity to learn about and take advantage of current tax exemptions and find tax relief,” said Bristow. “By sitting one-on-one with staff from the assessor’s office, residents will be able to learn more about what they can do to save on their property taxes”.

Bristow’s free property tax event will let residents engage with members of the Alton Assessor’s office to learn about exemptions and the property tax appeals process. Residents are encouraged to bring a copy of their most recent property tax bills and a valid state ID.

“It is important for homeowners to have the opportunity to come, ask questions, and learn from property tax experts,” continued Bristow. “This event will also educate attendees about new laws, proposals, and how to save money on property taxes to local homeowners.”

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March 3, 2020 at 10:03AM

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