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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

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

State lawmakers introduce bills to reform DCFS | Top Stories

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – Over the past year, the Department of Children and Family Services has been in the spotlight for neglecting cases of abuse. That’s why state lawmakers are working on bills to help better protect children in Illinois.

Rep. Anna Moeller (D)- Elgin, says she’s dedicated herself to working with the state to make sure vulnerable children are getting protected.

"I was 18 months old. My grandparents adopted me," Moeller says. "My biological mom was a single 19-year-old woman, who had some alcohol and drug problems."

Moeller introduced a bill that would give DCFS investigators the ability to interview children at school without parental notification if there is suspected abuse. 

"In some cases, parents have either refused to allow their children to be interviewed or they are coached or pressured to give certain answers," Moeller says. "We need to make sure children are in a place where they can speak openly and honestly about what’s happening in their homes."

On the other hand, Sen. Julie Morrison (D) – Deerfield wanted to come up with a way to protect children who are not yet in school.

"Children under six may only see a case worker once a week from DCFS," Morrison says.

That’s why she introduced a bill that would put an extra set of eyes on young children if their family has been suspected of abuse.

"Providing early education opportunity, a place where the child would go every week on a regular basis," Morrison says. "Professionals will see the child, interact with the child and probably with the family too."

Moeller says it will take more than a few bills to reform DCFS, she says it will take the entire state’s cooperation, but she believe these pieces of legislation are a good start.

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March 1, 2020 at 09:40PM

ELECTIONS 2020 ILLINOIS STATE REPIncumbent Yingling talks economy, LGBTQ issues

State representative Sam Yingling—the first openly gay person elected to the state legislature from outside of Chicago—sees economics as the driving issue in his re-election campaign in the Illinois House’s 62nd District.


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via Windy City Times

March 1, 2020 at 08:26AM

Bill introduced to let retired teachers act as substitutes to help with shortage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A new bill has been introduced in Illinois to allow retired teachers act as substitutes in school districts experiencing substitute teacher shortages.

State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) introduced the bill that would let retired teachers do this without jeopardizing their retirement benefits.

“Education is an issue that will need constant innovation to ensure it is as effective as possible,” said Scherer. “A more adaptable education system will only lead to more significantly positive results for teachers, students and their families.”


The legislation would give the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) the ability to grant return-to-work waivers to school districts where there are substitute teacher shortages.


If a school district is given a waiver, retired teachers can return to work as substitutes without putting their retirement annuity at risk.


Currently, a retired teacher can only return to work without jeopardizing their retirement benefits if they were to return at least one full school year after retirement and do not exceed a cap of 120 paid days or 600 hours.


“School districts need the appropriate resources to mold the future generations,” said Scherer “Providing the space for a quality and productive educational environment should not be hindered by personnel issues like these shortages.”

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February 28, 2020 at 11:28AM

Rep. Moeller: 2020 Session Opportunity to Help People

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Neighbor News

State Rep. Anna Moeller plans to pursue legislation this year that will help people overcome challenges in their lives.

By Cassie Calloway, Neighbor
Rep. Moeller: 2020 Session Opportunity to Help People

ELGIN — Feeling the stress of personal challenges in your life? State Rep. Anna Moeller just may have an answer.

Rep. Moeller, D-Elgin, is pursuing an active legislative agenda in Springfield this year aimed at helping resolve lingering problems, from health care for seniors to child protection for state wards.

Read more about her 2020 agenda here:

After a historic 2019 legislative session, State Rep. Anna Moeller is preparing for an equally productive session in 2020.

Rep. Moeller, D-Elgin, expects a number of critical initiatives to be debated in Springfield in the 2020 spring legislative session that has recently begun, led by another balanced, bi-partisan state budget; clean energy legislation; and ethics reform to restore faith in government.

Moeller will be working on a number of issues before the session ends at the end of May:

Affordable Medications and Access to Healthcare – Illinoisans pay too much for quality health care, especially prescription drug coverage. Moeller is introduced HB5340, which creates a pharmaceutical collaborative through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to reduce costs. She is also continuing efforts to create a system for the Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs from regulated Canadian suppliers to provide greater access to lower cost prescription drugs to consumers in Illinois. (HB4362)

Moeller serves as Chairwoman of the House Health Care Licenses Committee. She is proposing reforms to the professional licensing process for medical and other professions to ensure that consumers are protected, patients have access to healthcare and barriers to employment in licensed professions for minorities are removed. (HB5516)

Helping Seniors Stay in their Homes – Moeller believes Illinois can do more to keep seniors living longer in their homes, both to improve their quality of life and to save significant state dollars over nursing home care. She is proposing a $750 state income tax credit for Illinoisans who make modifications in their home to take care of their elderly parents. (HB4363) She also wants to increase the state-reimbursed pay to ensure that home health care workers who provide services to seniors in their homes are paid a living wage. (HB5051)

Protecting Vulnerable Children – Adopted as a baby by her maternal grandparents, Moeller is disheartened by the ongoing problems in the state’s foster care system. She is working with a group of dedicated lawmakers on reforms to the Department of Children and Family Services and has sponsored legislation to make positive changes in the state’s child welfare system.

One proposal would give investigators greater ability to investigate suspected abuse and neglect by interviewing children at school without parental notification if there is suspected abuse or neglect by the parent. (HB5614). Rep. Moeller is working with her Senate colleagues on a proposal to require children under kindergarten age to be enrolled in preschool if their family is under DCFS monitoring, so there is another set of eyes watching out for their safety and a proposal to address the high turnover of social workers through a proposal to provide a federally matched college tuition stipend for students who commit to getting a bachelor’s degree in social work and then work in the child welfare system for a set number of years.

"My goal as State Representative is to help people who often don’t have a voice and who are often left behind," Moeller said. "Lowering the cost of health care, supporting independent living by our seniors, protecting our vulnerable children: these are all ways I can make a difference in Springfield, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to make progress on these and other important issues this spring."


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via Elgin, IL Patch

February 25, 2020 at 09:30AM

Election 2020: Longtime state Rep. Rita Mayfield faces first-ever primary challenge

Diana Burdette, who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Rita Mayfield in the March primary, speaks at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency rules session about the ventilation system upgrades at Vantage Specialty Chemicals’ Gurnee facility. Ethylene oxide emissions were the catalyst for Burdette getting involved in local politics, she said. (Diana Burdette / HANDOUT)

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February 25, 2020 at 06:42AM

Gordon-Booth Spearheads Anti-Hairstyle Discrimination Effort

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) is sponsoring legislation that would ban discrimination based on someone’s hairstyle.

 The Crown Act would amend the Illinois Human Rights Act to ban discrimination against hairstyles such as locks. Gordon-Booth said the bill would help black and Latinx women disproportionately impacted by hairstyle discrimination in the workplace and their daily lives.

 She said the bill likely won’t come up for a vote until May. That’s because she’s planning a statewide media campaign called “The Politics of Hair” to build momentum.

 ”Policy doesn’t necessarily change minds. You really have to touch someone’s mind and their heart to really make a cultural change. And that’s what we’re really hoping for with this,” she said.

 Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx will participate, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also been asked. But the main goal is to gather the stories of average people.

 ”The real goal for me is to get the real stories of just everyday women. Not people with big titles and the like, but folks that have real stories that may not have ever had a voice,” Gordon-Booth said. “To give them that voice in this space is something that I’m really looking forward to doing.”

 The bill also has personal meaning for Gordon-Booth. Her mother altered her natural hairstyle to a perm to help advance her career. Her blood pressure medication affected her scalp, so she stopped taking it to prepare for her next perm appointment shortly before her death.

 Gordon-Booth plans photo shoots in Peoria, Springfield, and Chicago in the coming months.


Feeds,News,Region: Peoria,City: Peoria,Region: Central

via Peoria Public Radio News

February 22, 2020 at 01:50PM

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