Redistricting forces incumbents into 59th District face-off
BY SAMANTHA NELSON Special to The News-Sun October 29, 2012 8:26PM
Democratic candidate Carol Sente for the Illinois House 59th district speaks during a candidate forum at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat
HOMETOWN: Vernon Hills
FAMILY: Not married, no kids
EDUCATION: B.S. business, Indiana University
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
HOMETOWN: Buffalo Grove
FAMILY: Married 40 years to Rita, sons Elliot (37) and Scott (34), and six grandchildren
EDUCATION: J.D., DePaul University; B.S., math at Roosevelt University
Updated: December 1, 2012 6:10AM
State Rep. Sidney Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove, has served the 53rd House District for 10 years, but redistricting has moved his home into the 59th. Now he’s running against Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, for control of the district in the only legislative race between two incumbents.
“My constituents in the past have always believed I have integrity,” Mathias said. “I certainly could make a lot more money as an attorney, but I’ve given that up for public service. My constituents understand that, and have repeatedly returned me to Springfield. My biggest challenge in this race is getting people to know me in a brand new district.”
Sente was appointed to complete the term of state Rep. Kathleen Ryg, D-Vernon Hills, when she resigned in 2009, and was elected to a full term in 2010. She previously owned an architectural firm, which she has sold so she could focus on being a full-time legislator. She also served as vice president of the Vernon Hills Park District Board for four years.
“I think it’s important that we have some fresh ideas in Springfield,” she said. “I do believe that while experience is important, results are more important. My opponent has been in politics for 27 years and has been a career politician.”
Mathias has served four term in the Legislature, was mayor of Buffalo Grove for eight years and also served on the Buffalo Grove Village Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
“I have the experience, the skills, the training to bring us out of this mess that was created by the majority party,” Mathias said.
Job creation is the biggest challenge facing Illinois today, according to Mathias, who would like to see the corporate income tax repealed, increased funding for job training and the expansion of Route 53 into Lake County.
“Because of the majority party’s income tax increase and other increases in fees throughout the years, our state has become known as a business-unfriendly state,” he said. “Businesses are almost racing to neighboring states who have lower taxes and fewer regulations, and it is hurting our economy.”
While she believes jobs still are a major issue, Sente said her constituents are primarily concerned with property tax relief.
“I have a property tax relief bill that I’m one of the sponsors of,” she said. “When property values are dropping, local governments should keep the tax levy flat. Local government isn’t going to fare any better if we have foreclosures or people are leaving the state.”
Both candidates touted their experience reaching across party lines.
“I hate excuses,” Sente said. “We have to figure out as legislators a way to get things done given the obstacles that are there. I’m very moderate, so it’s easy for me to see both sides. Every bill I’ve done has had bipartisan support.”
Mathias said he passes more bills from Democratic sponsors than any other state representative.
“In order to return to a state that you will have pride in, you need to do things collectively with members of both parties, and we have done that in the past, sometimes in spite of our leaders,” he said. “Being in the minority makes it a lot more difficult to pass bills, and yet I have a great record of every year passing good bills through my efforts of reaching across the aisle.”
The 59th District contains portions of Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, North Chicago, Northbrook, Riverwoods, Waukegan and Wheeling.