Dee Beaubien believes she has no choice but to run as an independent in the 52nd House District race after David McSweeney's win in the GOP primary last month.
In McSweeney, she said, people won't have a representative who stands up for both fiscal conservatism and human rights the way her late husband, former state Rep. Mark Beaubien, did.
"I didn't feel I could turn my back on the people of the district and everything Mark has worked for," Beaubien said.
With that, Beaubien, a retired family counseling and mental health professional, officially announced her candidacy before about 50 supporters Monday at Barrington's Citizens Park.
Beaubien acknowledged the uphill battle she faces, saying independents don't often win. She also said it will be a challenge to obtain the necessary 1,500 valid petition signatures by the June 25 deadline. Her campaign will aim for 3,000 signatures, noting that McSweeney, a Barrington Hills financial consultant, is bound to file a challenge as he did against primary opponents Kent Gaffney and Danielle Rowe.
Gaffney was appointed to the seat last summer after Mark Beaubien's death. Dee Beaubien, who calls herself "100 percent more moderate than McSweeney" on social issues, said she's been asked several times why she didn't seek the appointment then.
"When you see your husband collapse and die before your eyes, you're not quite ready to go down to Springfield," she said. "I'm able to handle this (now)."
McSweeney said he feels good about the level of support he has and hasn't ruled out the Democrats slating a candidate either.
"We have major problems in the state, and I'm just going to spend my campaign talking about my message of lowering taxes and cutting spending," McSweeney said.
Among Beaubien's Republican supporters at Monday's announcement were McHenry County Board member Donna Kurtz, former state Rep. Rosemary Kurtz, Cuba Township Highway Commissioner Tom Gooch and former state Rep. Suzie Bassi.
Bassi, who often carpooled to Springfield with Mark Beaubien, said Dee Beaubien is eminently qualified to serve, noting her 30 years in the workforce before retiring in 2008 to focus on community service.
Beaubien serves on the foundation board of Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois and the advisory boards of Barrington Youth Services, Barrington Area Council on Aging and the Mano a Mano Family Resource Center.
"I'm here to support someone whose mission is public service and not a steppingstone to higher office," Bassi said, referring to McSweeney's two prior runs at Congress.
The 52nd House District covers parts of Barrington, Island Lake, Oakwood Hills, Wauconda, North Barrington, Lake in the Hills, Fox River Grove, Trout Valley, Algonquin, Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Cary and Crystal Lake.