Editor’s note: Gazette Chicago endorses only in contested races.
U.S. Senate (R)
The Republican establishment expects Democrat Tammy Duckworth to win this senate race in the fall, so when it put together a ticket it did not recruit a GOP opponent for Duckworth. This race is therefore wide open among eight candidates.
Casey Chlebek is a businessperson and Polish-American community activist. Unbelievably, his slogan is MASSA, which he says stands for Make America Safe and Secure Again. Matthew Dubiel is the owner of radio station WCKG-AM and seeks safer communities, better education, medical freedom, manufacturing in America, and legal paths to citizenship. Peggy Hubbard is a U.S. Navy veteran and former police officer. She describes herself as “a pro-God, pro-life, pro-Trump, pro-veteran, pro-first responder conservative.”
Maryann Mahlen is devoted to her “pursuit of bringing control of the land of the United States back to We The People by re-establishing the Constitution for the United States of America.” Bobby Piton wants a full nationwide audit of the 2020 elections and would hold new elections, and is allied with former Trump administration National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Kathy Salvi is an attorney who would work to restore civility in government and for energy independence, economic relief for families and businesses, and Ukrainian victory in that country’s war against Russia.
Jimmy Lee Tillman II saw the Trump presidency as a major step forward for the Black community and has called Democrats “slave masters.” Anthony W. Williams is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Berwyn whose top issue is fighting violence and believes the Jan. 6 insurrection was “a violent attack against the American government and the American people.”
For us, this election comes down to Salvi, a traditional mainstream Republican, and Pastor Anthony Williams. We are impressed by Williams’ boldness in going against Republican orthodoxy concerning the insurrection, and in his fight against violence. Anthony W. Williams is endorsed.
Congress, 1st District (D)
Longtime Congressman Bobby Rush’s retirement has attracted 17 Democrats looking to succeed him in the 1st District. For us, the race comes down to three candidates.
Jacqui Collins is an incumbent State Senator known for fighting for economic, social, and racial justice. She was one of the driving forces in banning ghost guns and fighting predatory lending in Illinois, understands that Chicago’s new curfew does not get at the root of crime, and realizes the State will have to deal with women coming to Illinois because they are fleeing states making abortion illegal.
Pat Dowell is the longtime 3rd Ward alderwoman, where she developed economic opportunities, passed the Vacant Land Ordinance, and was among the primary architects of the Restoring Bronzeville Plan. She chairs the City Council’s Budget Committee and as such is tasked with responsibly handling the City’s funds.
Charise Williams has great governmental credentials, having been responsible for a $500 million budget at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, and she is the rare candidate these days with a union background. Her ICJIA work makes her an expert on mental health and education. We also like her commitment to funding trade schools, which all too often are neglected by government.
Any of these three would be a fine Congressperson. We feel that Pat Dowell would be the best choice. We have covered her for years and have been impressed with her candor and with her hard work for the community. We like her idea about a registry of FOID cards and gun permits, her balanced view of Medicare for All plus private insurance, and her plans for Federal support of training in cutting-edge industries. She has a depth of understanding of governmental issues, and we look forward to her bringing that to Congress.
Congress, 1st District (R)
The four candidates for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 1st District are Eric Carlson, Jeff Regnier, Philanise White, and Geno Young.
Carlson wants the Department of Justice to investigate courts and state’s attorney’s offices—for what? He would work to dismantle teachers’ unions and prevent Americans from doing business with China—so much for Republicans’ supposed small government philosophy.
Regnier is the rare Republican who is pro-union and actually has protecting union pensions as one of his key issues. His construction company builds parks in low-income communities. Regnier also believes in support for single parents and seniors. Strongly pro-gun, he would eliminate even the Firearm Owners Identification Card.
White offers standard Republican positions—term limits for office holders, denial regarding voter suppression, and little to no government involvement in healthcare and education. She is the most experienced, having been the 2020 1st District GOP candidate, a ward committeeperson, and an official with Republican presidential campaigns.
Young also offers some standard Republican positions on border security and like White questions the existence of voter suppression. He would abolish the Department of Education, defund some Federal agencies, and believes Mexican drug cartels “are in cahoots with China.”
While in this era of mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and other places we are appalled with Regnier’s ultra-pro-gun stance, we support his pro-union and pro-low-income community stances. In a field of candidates that leaves much to be desired, Gazette Chicago endorses Jeffery T. Regnier.
Congress, 7th District (D)
The 7th District Democratic Congressional primary features three good candidates.
Kina Collins would use money spent on incarceration to reopen public schools and for food and housing. Incumbent Danny K. Davis passed the Second Chance Act, which has helped former criminals re-integrate into the community, and he supports Medicare for All. Denarvis Mendenhall would promote conflict resolution, community policing, and voter protection.
Voters cannot go wrong with any of these, but there is no need to switch from Davis, who has delivered for his district for a quarter century. In a strong field, Gazette Chicago endorses Danny K. Davis for another term in Congress.
In the Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor, incumbents JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton comprise one ticket, and Beverly Miles and Karla Shaw hope to unseat them.
Here are some accomplishments of the Pritzker/Stratton administration, by the numbers: More than 21 million COVID vaccine doses administered. More than one million children fed via the Illinois food relief program. Healthcare extended to 130,000 more Illinoisans. More than 12,000 businesses receiving State assistance during COVID. Minimum wage raised to $15 per hour. More than $4.1 billion in debt paid off.
As much as Pritzker’s opponents like to scream that his COVID response bankrupted the state, the fact is that Pritzker took the pandemic seriously and enacted measures that saved thousands, if not tens of thousands, of lives, while also enacting measures providing economic relief to both families and businesses. As for that “bankruptcy” allegation, Pritzker passed a balanced budget that even pays down old Illinois debts, including to pensions, and eliminated the State’s bill backlog, so the State is finally paying its bills on time, with a continually rising credit rating.
Miles, a nurse and retired U.S. Army officer, believes working people should hold the State’s top two offices, and believes more minorities should own cannabis dispensaries. Miles and Shaw have not made a case as to why they are better choices than Pritzker and Stratton.
JB Pritzker has perhaps been the most successful governor since Gazette Chicago started publishing, and the Pritzker/Stratton ticket deserves another term.
Republican voters have the choice of six tickets for governor and lieutenant governor.
State Senator Darren Bailey from downstate Xenia in 2019 co-sponsored a resolution calling for Chicago to secede from Illinois, and called the commission on investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection “nonsense.” At a May 24 debate, he called Chicago a “dysfunctional hellhole.” Running mate Stephanie Trussell is a former radio talk show host.
Richard Irvin is the mayor of Aurora, IL. If elected, he promises to be tough on crime and cut State spending and taxes. Irvin supports the death penalty. Billionaire Ken Griffin has poured $45 million into Irvin’s campaign. Running mate Avery Bourne is a State rep from Morrisonville, IL.
Millionaire suburban businessperson Gary Rabine owns a country club and is a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump who refuses to say if he believes President Joe Biden won in 2020. Running mate Aaron Del Mar is a businessperson.
Paul Schimpf is a former State senator from Waterloo, IL. His big issues are cleaning up corruption, increased funding for law enforcement training, and veterans’ rights. Running mate Carolyn Schofield is a McHenry County Board member.
Max Solomon is an attorney, minister, actor, and personal fitness trainer. He describes himself as a Christian conservative and is against public schools, believing their mission “is to usurp parents, fundamental rights and to pervert the minds of innocent children with sexual and sociopolitical ideologies.” Running mate Latasha Fields is a pastor, property manager, and parental rights activist.
Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan describes himself as an anti-politician and conservative outsider. He wants to cut taxes, corruption, and crime. Running mate Kathleen Murphy is a political consultant and former legislative aide.
Bailey’s views are bizarre and extreme and show that if he became governor, he would do nothing for Chicago. Irvin has few qualifications for governor other than the fact that billionaire Ken Griffin has donated $45 million to Irvin’s campaign. If Griffin wants to run the state so much, why doesn’t he run for governor himself? Schimpf has not gotten much publicity, but he has was a good State senator and would run a clean administration not beholden to right-wing extremists or billionaires. Gazette Chicago endorses Paul Schimpf for the Republican nomination for governor.
Attorney general (R)
The Republican race for attorney general features three candidates.
Thomas DeVore of Greeneville, IL, was the attorney behind several high-profile legal challenges to State rules protecting the public from COVID-19, fighting mask requirements, teacher vaccination rules, and rules prohibiting students exposed to COVID from coming to school. He has represented some of the Illinois General Assembly’s most conservative members, including State Senator Darren Bailey in a lawsuit against Governor JB Pritzker and Representative Blaine Wilhour, who refused to wear a mask in the State House.
Steve Kim is an attorney and has served on the State’s Human Rights Commission, the Rules Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, and the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. He also has been an advisor to former Governor Jim Edgar and former Senator Mark Kirk. He wants to fight crime and corruption, promote small business, and protect seniors and women in domestic and sexual assault cases.
David Shestokas earned his law degree locally at what now is the University of Illinois Chicago Law School. He is a former assistant Cook County state’s attorney. Shestokas has represented the Illinois Conservative Union and was part of the Pennsylvania lawyers for Trump team. He has said that he reached his decision to run after praying with a member of the Illinois Family Institute.
Kim is a moderate candidate with great credentials and a good record in public service. Gazette Chicago endorses Steve Kim for attorney general.
Secretary of state (D)
Four Democratic candidates are seeking to succeed retiring Secretary of State Jesse White.
Alexi Giannoulias is a former State treasurer and banker. He believes “government has prioritized the interests of the powerful and wealthy,” and would fight for “those with less means.” He would protect voting rights, toughen ethics laws, enhance libraries and business services, crack down on scam artists, work to make roads safer, and protect the environment.”
David Moore is alderman of the 17th Ward. He oversaw projects for redeveloping the South Loop, creating job training sites and identifying employment opportunities for low-income residents. Moore also worked on the Hilliard Homes redevelopment and the National Teachers Academy construction. He is endorsed by local Congressman Danny Davis and University of Illinois Chicago Professor Dick Simpson. Moore’s big issues are ethics reform and libraries.
Sidney Moore is the founder and executive director of Big Box Charities. He describes himself as an independent progressive leader. Moore’s big issues are identity theft, road safety, and long lines and high fees at the secretary of state’s office. Moore would increase kiosk and online access to the office, expand its hours of operation, and open more emissions testing locations around the state.
Anna Valencia is the Chicago city clerk, where she established the City Key Program to make ID cards available to all Chicagoans and improved access to City benefits. She has reformed the City’s fines and fees process as well. She would create an online portal and payment system for the Secretary of State’s office, establish a secure digital driver’s license option, improve data security, update Illinois libraries, and implement a voting access commission to expand and protect voter registration, voting, and vote counting.
Anna Valencia has done a great job as City clerk, and we believe she can expand on the good she has done for the city to the secretary of state’s post. We are disturbed by her ethical lapses in potential conflicts of interest concerning her lobbyist husband, but we do not believe these disqualify her from office and she gets our endorsement. However, for those who would like to see a person in the office who is conscientious and does not consider it a stepping stone to higher positions, Alderman David Moore is an excellent blue-ribbon alternative.
Secretary of state (R)
Two Republicans are running for secretary of state.
Dan Brady is deputy Republican leader in the Illinois General Assembly and the Republican caucus’s spokesperson on higher education and insurance. His top issues in the legislature have been insurance, law enforcement, and emergency medical services, He would increase organ and tissue donor registration, streamline Secretary of state services, enhance services for seniors, improve driver education, and promote
John Milhiser says he is “not a politician.” Milhiser is a former State and Federal prosecutor and was U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. He is running against what Milhiser calls the former House Speaker Michael Madigan “culture of corruption” and promises to “deliver results” and “safe, effective, and efficient services.”
Brady has a proven record in the Illinois General Assembly and more detailed plans for what he would work for as secretary of state. Gazette Chicago endorses Dan Brady in the Republican primary.
State representative, 6th District (D)
Incumbent Democratic representative Sonya M. Harper is facing Carolynn D. Crump in the 6th District State representative primary.
Crump is a Chicago Police officer, Chicago Ridge Park District officer, and Fraternal Order of Police union rep. She is a community volunteer and would fight for workers’ rights in the legislature.
Harper has been very effective during her seven years in the Illinois General Assembly. She was involved in the legislature passing crime fighting and ethics reform laws, and she advocates voter rights protection. She strongly supports healthcare for all Illinoisans no matter what their income as well as the balanced budget the legislature passed this year, which includes investments in education. Harper also is working to ensure fair property tax assessment.
There is no need to replace the effective Harper with the untested Crump. Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Sonya M. Harper for State rep in the 6th District.
Cook County Board president (D)
Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Cook County Board president.
Attorney Richard R. Boykin is a former 1st District Cook County commissioner who led the opposition to the controversial soda tax on soft drinks, which the board repealed after initially passing it. On the board he also led the efforts to repeal a tax on feminine hygiene products, passed legislation to increase the minimum wage, and sponsored legislation to ban assault weapons. His top issues are fairer property taxes; improving public health; expanding the County’s economy; and public safety through fighting gun violence, carjackings, and retail thefts. “High property, sales, and gas taxes are driving people out of Cook County,” Boykin said.
Incumbent Toni Preckwinkle has been president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners since 2011. Under her leadership the County has eliminated more than $2.8 billion in budget deficits and reduced unfunded pension liabilities by almost $2 billion. During her presidency the County created the healthcare program CountyCare. She expanded the scope of the Justice Advisory Council to implement juvenile justice reform and public safety improvements and created the Bureau of Economic Development to promote economic growth. She was a proponent of the soda tax.
West Side community activist Zerlina A. Smith-Members is a former chair of the Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy Local School Council, a former outreach coordinator for State Rep. LaShawn Ford, a former chair of the Head Start Policy Committee for the Chicago Public Schools and the Department of Children and Family Services, former secretary of the Columbus Park District Advisory Committee, a co-founder of Parents Across America, and a founder of InCrease the Harvest. She was the Illinois regional director for the Jill Stein 2016 Green Party presidential campaign. Her big issue is fighting crime. She also noted she does not “want to perpetuate an unfair property tax system.”
Conditions are not great in Cook County. Taxes are high and unfair, and crime is rampant. Preckwinkle has been in the board presidency for more than a decade, and it’s time for a change. Richard R. Boykin can provide that change. He never minded being a maverick and bucking the establishment when he was a commissioner, and he understands that taxes and crime are the public’s biggest concerns. Richard R. Boykin gets our endorsement.
County assessor (D)
The County assessor’s race features a clear choice between two candidates with differing philosophies.
Fritz Kaegi became assessor in 2019, defeating the incumbent, longtime Democratic machine stalwart Joe Berrios, who never met a special interest he didn’t love. Under Kaegi, property tax bills for most Chicagoans actually fell last year, halting a 20-year trend of tax bills increasing by a median of 4%. Homeowners have had a smaller share of the tax levy, and business a larger share, under Kaegi. Last year, the International Association of Assessing Officers presented Kaegi’s office with its outstanding public information and outreach award, while the National Association of Counties gave the office an award for its digital innovation efforts. Under Kaegi, the county now has an automatic senior exemption renewal and exemption auto-renewal for people with disabilities.
Kari K. Steele is president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, where she has overseen a billion-dollar budget and focused on innovation and efficiency. Now in her second term as a MWRD commissioner. Steele has worked as a chemist at both the MWRD and the Jardine Warter Purification Plant. As assessor, she said she would create a property tax system that is more equitable, assures stability for businesses, provides relief for homeowners, and funds public services.
Steele has received a $1 million contribution from the Fight Back Fund, affiliated with Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a union that benefits from building and development. Since Kaegi has rebalanced tax assessments to lower them on homeowners and raise them on commercial properties, commercial interests favor Steele. Her husband, Mazonne Jackson, has worked as a real estate lobbyist.
Kaegi is the reform candidate, and Steele is the commercial interests’ candidate. There is no need to go back to an assessor’s office that prefers big money interests instead of homeowners, so Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Fritz Kaegi for County assessor.
County sheriff (D)
Two candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to be the County’s top law-enforcement officer.
Tom Dart has been sheriff since first elected in 2006. After the economic crash of 2008, he made national news when he suspended foreclosure evictions to keep tenants, who had nothing to do with the foreclosures, in their homes. This people-friendly action aroused opposition from the Illinois Bankers Association. When his office does evict people, Dart initiated involvement of a social worker to connect families with services. He touts his “humane, compassionate, and intelligent approach to law enforcement” and supports unions and workers’ rights and a bill to fight carjacking through car tracking devices.
Noland Rivera is a Chicago police sergeant and has more than 30 years of Army and Air Force active, guard, and reserve experience. If elected, he would improve cooperation between the sheriff’s office and other local, State, and Federal agencies and would make sure sheriff’s units are fully staffed and trained. He promises to treat both detainees and the members of his department “respectfully and humanely.” He wants to introduce more inclusivity and community engagement in sheriff’s police processes. Rivera also wants to improve the overburdened electronic monitoring program.
Cook County’s crime problem is not the fault of Dart or his officers. Dart has been outspoken in his criticism of other officials such as State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, particularly her laxity in dealing with criminals with ankle monitors who commit more crimes. Tom Dart has run an efficient sheriff’s office and deserves another term.
County Board, 2nd District (D)
The Democratic race for County commissioner in the 2nd district features an incumbent and a challenger.
Dennis Deer is the incumbent who has worked successfully on the problem of criminal recidivism, understands the challenges presented by the pandemic and the roots of crime, and would expand healthcare while holding the line on property tax increases.
Andre Smith would invest in parenting, improving high-crime areas, economic development, and mental health services.
Dennis Deer has achieved a good record so far and deserves a chance to build on it in another term. He receives Gazette Chicago’s endorsement.
County Board of Review, 2nd District (D)
The County Board of Review oversees assessment reviews for all property in the county, property tax appeals, and exemptions. In the second district, two candidates are running in the Democratic primary.
First elected in 2010, Michael Cabonargi has worked to make the Board of Review more transparent, open, efficient, and effective. His office has contacted more than 1.5 million residents, and he has held more than 250 community outreach sessions. He further opened the board to the public by translating appeal forms into several languages including Chinese, Korean, Polish, and Spanish. He also helped institute the board’s digital appeals processing system. Cabonargi is a member of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.
Samantha Steele is a former assessor of Tippecanoe County in Indiana. She created the Leanor Group, a firm that specializes in training professionals in property assessment procedures. Steele hails from Bridgeport, having attended McClellan Elementary School. The Lafayette Journal and Courier editorial board called Steele’s tenure in Tippecanoe County “subpar” and complained of late tax bills. Steele’s successor, Linda Phillips, said, “I took a disaster and cleaned it up.”
Cabonargi has been open, transparent, and active on the Board of Review. We see no need for a change, and Steele has not made a compelling case. Michael Cabonargi gets our endorsement for the 2nd District nomination.
Water Reclamation District Commissioners (D)
A nine-member board of commissioners governs the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). Voters elect three commissioners every two years for six–year terms to establish policies and procedures that protect the county’s water environment.
Twelve people are running in the Democratic primary; three stand out as the best candidates.
An environmentalist, engineer, and land surveyor, Frank Avila grew up near Ashland Avenue and Taylor Street. He served on the board beginning in 2002 but lost his third re-election bid in 2020. He wants to get his seat back in this election. When he served as the board’s chair of finance, he advocated fiscally sound and environmentally forward policies such as flood management and led efforts to keep the district’s bond rating strong. He also undertook pension reform for district employees.
Mariyana T. Spryopoulos first was elected to the board in 2010. She has championed fiscal responsibility, transparency, and environmentally progressive policies for MWRD, where she chairs its Judiciary and Pension, Human Resources, and Civil Service committees. She has increased the board’s public outreach and engagement and worked with governments in Denmark and India to share knowledge.
A new candidate we like is Sharon Waller, a licensed environmental engineer and scientist. If elected, she will be the only engineer on the board. Her top issues are cleaner water, flood management, and growing a water-based “blue” economy without taxation. She also owns Sustainable Systems LLC Consulting, a firm providing expertise in water-related issues, wastewater, and environmental projects with industry and government.
Gazette Chicago endorses Frank Avila, Mariyana T. Spryopoulos, and Sharon Waller for MWRD commissioners’ posts.