By William S. Bike
Several candidates for the Illinois State Senate and State House—all Democrats—are running unopposed in the Tuesday, Nov. 8, general election, as no other party nominated any candidates. Only one district, the 6th State House District, features a contested race.
STATE SENATE, 1ST
Javier Loera Cervantes is the son-in-law of incumbent 1st District Senator Anthony Munoz, who is retiring. Cervantes is a former campaign manager for Munoz and a former union representative for the Service Employees International Union. He also is a podcaster focusing on Pilsen’s arts and culture scene. For more information, log on to www.cervantesforilsenate.com.
STATE SENATE, 3RD
Incumbent Mattie Hunter has represented the district since 2003. Hunter serves in leadership as the Majority Caucus Chair and vice-chair of the Ethics and Executive Appointments Committee. She serves on the Behavioral and Mental Health, Energy and Public Utilities, Executive, Healthcare Access and Availability, and Transportation Committees. She is also a member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Her website is www.senatorhunter.com/.
STATE SENATE, 5TH
Patricia Van Pelt first was elected in 2012. Van Pelt chairs the Healthcare Access and Availability Committee, vice chairs the Appropriations-Health and Redistricting for Chicago West and West Cook County Subcommittees, and serves on the Agriculture, Criminal Law, Energy and Public Utilities, and State Government Committees. Her website is www.senatorvanpelt.com/.
STATE SENATE, 13TH
Having served in the Senate since 2019, Robert Peters is chair of the Public Safety Committee and Children and Family Subcommittee. He also serves on the Criminal Law, Environment and Conservation, Health, Human Rights, Labor, Revenue, and Criminal Justice Appropriations Committees and on the Long-Term Care and Aging and Sealing and Expungement Subcommittees. His website is www.petersforsenate.com.
STATE HOUSE, 5TH
Lamont Robinson has served since 2019 and chairs the Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Information Technology Committee; Tourism Committee; and Special Issues Subcommittee. Robinson also serves on the Appropriations-Human Services, Health Care Availability and Access, Prescription Drug Affordability, and Public Utilities Committees. He also has announced that he will run for Mayor of Chicago in 2023. His website is www.lamontjrobinson.com/.
STATE HOUSE, 6TH
The 6th District features the only contested State House race in the area this year.
Incumbent and Democrat Sonya Harper has served as the 6th District State Representative since 2015 and chairs the Agriculture & Conservation Committee. She also serves on the Appropriations, Economic Opportunity and Equity, Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies, Energy & Environment, Health Care Availability & Access, and Revenue & Finance Committees.
Harper is a strong proponent of women’s healthcare and choice, calling the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade a “vile ruling” that is “the culmination of a 50-year campaign by bigots and misogynists to collar and chain women to the petty whims of the patriarchy. Illinois law continues to protect the right to choose, but we will need to remain vigilant against further attempts to erode our basic liberties.”
She noted her disappointment at Whole Foods’ decision to close its store in the area, explaining, “I was proud to work with Whole Foods to bring a new location to Englewood because they claimed their decision was not based on profitability but rather a desire to help provide access to healthy groceries for residents.”
Environmental justice is one of her big issues. “Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities across Illinois have disproportionately experienced generations of concentrated, toxic industrial pollution resulting in costly, chronic health impacts,” Harper said. “The only way to equitably reform zoning policies that have fueled environmental racism is to give residents more say in the process for rewriting and implementing those policies.”
Rehabilitating offenders is another issue important to Harper, who sponsored the Employee Background Fairness law. “Because of this new law, never again should an employer refuse to hire someone based on a criminal conviction if that conviction has nothing to do with the type of job being sought,” she said.
For more information see http://www.repsonyaharper.com/.
Republican Leonard Griffin was born in Mississippi, where he picked cotton as a youth. He moved to Chicago at around age ten. He later attended the University of Illinois. Griffin has worked in retail management and as a truck driver.
Crime is one of his top issues. “I want to hold the criminals accountable” resulting in “more prison time,” he said. Griffin wants more funding for police, and more State troopers “to patrol the highways for drug enforcement.”
To help the economy, he would “attract companies with incentives, so they can invest in our communities,” he said, noting he also supports unions. Griffin blames Governor JB Pritzker’s COVID mandates for businesses losing money and for some closing during the pandemic.
Griffin also cares about seniors, and suggests vouchers to pay for their travel to visit doctors or buy groceries. Veterans’ rights and mental health also are issues important to Griffin. He believes the State’s greatest challenge over the next decade will be dealing with pension funding.
“The first responsibility of government is protecting its citizens and especially the children,” Griffin said.
More information about Griffin is on the Ballotpedia website at Ballotpedia.org/Leonard_Griffin.
STATE HOUSE, 9TH
Incumbent Lakesia Collins,serving since 2020, vice chairs the Child Care Access & Early Childhood Committee. She also serves on the Appropriations-Public Safety, Human Services, Labor and Commerce, and Housing Committees and Workforce Development and Public Benefits Subcommittees. Collins is a former union official with the Service Employees International Union. Her website is www.lakesia4rep.com/.
STATE HOUSE, 10TH
Jawaharial “Omar” Williams,in office since 2019, vice chairs the Transportation-Regulation, Roads Committee. He also serves on the Labor and Commerce, Public Utilities, Transportation-Vehicles and Safety, and Financial Institutions Committees and the Utilities Subcommittee. He is a member of the Laborers’ International Union and Plumbers Local 130 United Association. His website is www.friends4jawaharial.com/.
STATE HOUSE, 24TH
Theresa Mah represents the 24th District, formerly named the 2nd District. Serving since 2017, Mah chairs the Health Care Licenses Committee. She also serves on the Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education; Immigration and Human Rights; Housing; International Trade and Commerce; Museums, Arts, and Cultural Enhancements; Tourism; and Redistricting Committees. Her website is www.reptheresamah.com/.
STATE HOUSE, 26TH
Kam Buckner has been in office since 2019. He vice chairs the Tourism Committee and serves on the Executive, Higher Education, Judiciary-Criminal, and Judiciary-Civil Committees and the Commercial and Property Subcommittee. He earned his JD in this community from the DePaul University College of Law. His website is www.illinois26.com/. He also has announced that he will run for mayor of Chicago in 2023.