The race for the Republican state Senate District 28 features two capable and sincere candidates in Gayle Smolinski, longtime mayor of Roselle, and Jim O'Donnell, a chief financial officer in the manufacturing industry from Park Ridge. O'Donnell's experience would make him a strong advocate for small business growth in Illinois. But Smolinski has an edge because of her two decades in local government and the relationships already forged that she could carry to Springfield. Smolinski knows the area's mayors and has worked directly on key issues such as western access to O'Hare and flooding in Des Plaines. She has overseen fiscal stability in Roselle through the economic downtown. She also is a strong advocate for municipalities, many of which have been smarting due to burdensome state mandates, and she would push for more municipal control over police and fire pensions. As mayor, Smolinski has learned to work with politicians and community leaders from both parties -- an asset at a time when cooperation is badly needed in Illinois.
The newly drawn 28th District runs from Roselle east through Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Rosemont and Park Ridge. The winner will face state Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Democrat now representing the 33rd District.