Although Republican Sandra Pihos is headed back to Springfield for her fifth term representing the 42nd House District, the campaign season has not exactly become routine.
Each election, she says, introduces new sets of challenges that she must help legislators overcome.
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"It's an entirely different set of issues to be resolved," she said Tuesday after defeating Democratic challenger Kay Vlahos of Downers Grove. "We have had crisis after crisis statewide. I'm grateful to my voters for having confidence in me and returning me to do the job that needs to be done."
With all precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial vote totals have Pihos the winner with 64 percent of the vote, while Vlahos received 36 percent.
In a common theme for this election, Pihos, a former teacher from Glen Ellyn, said her first priority is to work on the state's dire financial situation.
"Our state faces a very different set of challenges than when I was initially elected (in 2003)," she said. "It's important to be focused on the future and the fiscal crisis. It's important to set Illinois on the right foot."
Pihos' solution to the state's $13 billion budget deficit includes reigning in spending before considering revenue increases such as an income tax increase promoted by some Democrats and supported by Vlahos.
Pihos, a 64-year-old former small business owner and teacher, has been popular during her first four terms in office and that popularity appears to be one of the factors in fending off Vlahos' challenge. She has been known as a responsive representative, even receiving praise from Vlahos during the campaign for her assistance in a past matter.
During the campaign, Pihos touted various health fairs that she has organized and said those initiatives should prove to voters that she should return to office.
As she heads back to Springfield, she said it's imperative that lawmakers take notice of taxpayer frustration.
"We'll have to see some open-mindedness to put people before politics," she said. "We have to resolve the fiscal issues we have before us.
The 42nd District includes parts of Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Oakbrook Terrace, Downers Grove, Westmont and Lombard.