The Republican candidate for Illinois Senate who's trying to defeat Democratic incumbent Terry Link of Waukegan has taken the unique step of introducing himself to voters via a rap song.
Gurnee Village Trustee Don Wilson is a professional DJ and lead singer of the John Mellencamp cover band Mellencougar.
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Wilson said the song was written by former Mellencamp -- and Mellencougar -- keyboardist Moe Z M.D., a producer and singer who once worked on a song with the late Tupac Shakur in the 1990s.
"I wanted a campaign song that told my story," Wilson said. "So I gave him some bullet points, and he wrote the lyrics."
Here's a sampling of what he came up with:
"Grew up in section 8. Homeless to homeowner in nine years, can you relate?"
"Now he has two daughters and a wife. Married for 18 years, doing it right. Member of Rotary ..."
"Went from having Christmas with nothing under the tree to a paid member of the NAACP."
The whole story
Wilson owns Fun Times DJ and works part-time at WIIL radio in Chicago. He said he wanted to highlight how he overcame a tough childhood.
He says his parents abandoned him in Waukegan when he was a senior in high school, and he lived out of his car for a while after that.
"I think that's the most eye-opening thing for people," he said.
Wilson said he eventually went to the College of Lake County and Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin to study radio.
He wanted a campaign song to show his interest in music.
"The music video is coming out in June," Wilson said.
Link, a longtime lawmaker and member of the Democrats' leadership team at the Capitol, said he's met Wilson once. Link called him a nice guy but questioned his credentials for the job.
"I just don't know what qualifications or background he brings to this race," he said.
Hultgren fights trafficking
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Winfield Republican, has been pushing legislation to fight human trafficking and said he looks forward to supporting proposals on the topic in Congress next week.
He said Thursday the House is preparing to vote on five pieces of legislation next week that could, among other things, give authorities more power to go after the places where traffickers advertise.
Hultgren said it's important to attack an issue that can seem distant but hits close to home. He points to statistics that estimate as many as 25,000 women and girls could be victims in the Chicago area.
"Every one of these people is valuable," he said. "These are our kids. These are American kids."
Hultgren said he'll sponsor his own legislation soon that looks at the effect of legalized prostitution in other countries on trafficking.
"I think we still need to make the connection that this happens here," he said.
Car sales on Sundays
Defeat still had an element of sweet for state Sen. Jim Oberweis' proposal to let Illinois car dealers open on Sundays.
Democrats let the Sugar Grove Republican have a hearing on the plan this week, but it wasn't much of a hearing. No one asked questions. No vote was taken.
Beforehand, dairy magnate Oberweis handed out single-serving ice cream cups to members of the committee. Last year, he did the same thing before a committee approved raising the interstate speed limits downstate to 70 mph.
Most took the treat. Others cited conflict of interest concerns.
"For the record, I did not take any," state Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, said before the hearing.
Oberweis used the ice cream to argue against car dealers' concerns that they should remain closed on Sunday because banks are, too, and can't process financing.
"Ice cream sales are regulated by the FDA, and the FDA isn't open on Sunday, so I don't think that's a good argument," Oberweis said.