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updated: 10/3/2012 7:07 AM

Sente, Mathias argue about experience

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  • Republican Sidney Mathias, left, opposes Democrat Carol Sente in the 59th State House District for the 2012 General Election.

      Republican Sidney Mathias, left, opposes Democrat Carol Sente in the 59th State House District for the 2012 General Election.

  • Carol Sente

      Carol Sente

  • Sidney Mathias

      Sidney Mathias

 
 

As Republican Sidney Mathias and Democrat Carol Sente battle for a spot in the Illinois House, Sente is trying to portray Mathias as a "career politician" while he argues his experience is important.

It's an argument often used by challengers new to politics against longtime incumbents in an effort to get voters to choose new blood over a familiar face.

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But both currently serve in the Illinois House, and their race for the 59th District is the only one between two incumbents in Illinois this year.

Mathias, of Buffalo Grove, has held his House seat since 1999 and worked as Buffalo Grove mayor before that, from 1991-1999, becoming a familiar face in the suburban political scene.

Sente, of Vernon Hills, is telling voters that while experience is important sometimes, Mathias has been around Springfield too long.

"He has been there so long that he's out of touch," Sente said. "You have to keep talking to your constituents."

Sente is a vice president at an architectural firm who was first appointed to the Illinois House in 2009 to replace Democrat Kathy Ryg. Sente won election in 2010 and served on the Vernon Hills Park District Board from 2006 to 2009.

Mathias disagrees sharply with Sente, saying she shouldn't be criticizing others as "career politicians" when her campaign is getting lots of funding from House Speaker Michael Madigan, a powerful Chicago Democrat who's been in office for 42 years. For example, Sente reported receiving $49,000 from Madigan on Monday.

Plus, Mathias argues experience in Springfield is an asset.

"At a time when our economy is barely recovering and we have so many large problems in Springfield, I think it calls for the election of a full-time, experienced legislator," he said.

The 59th District both candidates are vying for includes all or parts of Buffalo Grove, Green Oaks, Gurnee, Indian Creek, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Mettawa, Mundelein, Northbrook, North Chicago, Park City, Riverwoods, Vernon Hills, Waukegan and Wheeling.

The race is among the most closely watched in the state.

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