Kerry Lester

  • Phone(847) 427-4603
  • Emailklester@dailyherald.com
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Kerry Lester is a columnist and senior writer who focuses on the people who make the suburbs unique.

Lester, formerly the Daily Herald's political editor, returned to the paper in 2015 after several years with the Associated Press.

In her years as a reporter, Lester has netted a number of statewide and national scoops, including the first sit-down interview with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk following his 2012 stroke, one-on-one interviews with presidential candidates, and breakthrough reports on the state budget crisis and power struggle in Illinois' newly divided government.

She is proudest of a four-year project looking into a 2008 knife attack on an Elgin High School teacher from the perspectives of the teacher, the student who committed the crime, and the school district. Her subsequent investigation into school safety practices led to a 2012 change in state law.

Lester has received awards from the Chicago Headline Club, the Chicago Journalists Association and the Inland Press Association. She appears frequently on local and national television and radio programs and has moderated a number of political debates.

A native of Des Plaines, Lester is a proud graduate of St. Viator High School, Villanova University and The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where briefly working for a newspaper deepened her commitment to community journalism.

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Suburban districts to pick up part of new teacher pensions in 2020

Aug 16 2017 | 10:25 pm - A change buried in this year’s state budget would require suburban school districts to pick up a portion of costs for teacher pensions beginning in 2020, columnist Kerry Lester writes. Plus, a new law aimed at helping injured police dogs, the...

State Rep. Andersson: No room for moderate voices in statehouse

Aug 17 2017 | 4:25 pm - Republican state Rep. Steve Andersson of Geneva is the latest to say he won’t run again. “I can’t be effective with a moderate voice, and I will not stay if I’m not effective,” the first-term lawmaker told the...

Cook County soda tax would be banned under new state proposal

Aug 17 2017 | 5:56 am - A Schaumburg state representive has introduced legislation that would prevent counties from taxing soda or sweetened beverages as Cook County has begun to do.

Lester: Suburbs to lose out on hundreds of thousands in sales tax

Aug 10 2017 | 8:48 am - Local suburbs will lose out on tens of thousands of sales tax dollars apiece this year as a result of a new state tax collection fee in the Illinois budget, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

On day schools miss regular checks, comptroller sends them $429 million

Aug 10 2017 | 6:49 pm - As the battle over school funding in Illinois wages on, the state comptroller Thursday released $429 million to schools to help with cash flow.

Controversial Google memo author is IMSA alum

Aug 09 2017 | 8:57 am - A former Google employee who wrote a controversial memo about women's ability to work in technology is an alumnus of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Officials at the three-year Aurora residential campus confirmed Tuesday that James Anthony...

Fitzgerald: McCain ‘stepped into the shoes of the lion’

Jul 31 2017 | 10:12 am - Watching friend and mentor John McCain return to the Senate following a brain cancer diagnosis, Peter Fitzgerald had a sense of déjà vu. “Ted Kennedy, at one time, he was the lion of the Senate, returning to the chamber to make a...

Chicago schools grant criticized by Rauner was put in place by GOP in 1990s

Jul 31 2017 | 7:21 pm - A yearly grant for Chicago schools that’s criticized by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in a controversy that threatens to hold up school funding statewide was put in place more than 20 years ago by the GOP with strong backing from suburban...

Naperville man's crusade against heroin focus of new A&E special

Jul 30 2017 | 8:50 am - A Naperville man's crusade against heroin is the focus of a new A&E networks special. “Dope Man.” The hour-long show about Tim Ryan is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Monday.

Special session tab could have been higher without suburban lawmaker’s bill

Jul 26 2017 | 10:34 pm - An already expensive four-day legislative special session could have cost taxpayers $56,740 more if it hadn’t been for the efforts of a suburban lawmaker, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

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