Kerry Lester

  • Phone(847) 427-4603
  • Emailklester@dailyherald.com
  • Twitter

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 lawmakers say something's got to give in Springfield

Jun 28 2016 | 10:28 pm - A small but growing contingent of lawmakers say they're fed up with the continual squabbling between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders, and the likely failure to pass a budget for the second year in a row.

Lester: No suburban public schools ban solo meetings of coaches, athletes

Jun 27 2016 | 3:20 pm - A check of 32 suburban public high schools shows none prohibit one-on-one time between coaches and student athletes, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Lester: Arlington Heights impersonator talks ‘Fallon,’ life after speech

Jun 23 2016 | 6:29 pm - Exclusive: Fourteen-year-old presidential impersonator Jack Aiello of Arlington Heights thought he might have been dreaming when he stumbled downstairs one morning to learn Jimmy Fallon had requested he appear on “The Tonight Show,” he...

Lester: Wheaton’s Cold War bunker enters final days

Jun 21 2016 | 6:15 pm - Wheaton’s underground bunker, hailed as America’s first Nuclear Age Civil Defense control center, has been deemed too expensive to rehab and is expected to be razed, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Arlington Heights FanCon connects summer reading with love of comics

Jun 18 2016 | 3:59 pm - The Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s summer reading program’s superhero theme of “Up Up and Away” was a natural tie-in as organizers planned FanCon, the library’s first comic convention on Saturday.

Improvements planned for Grayslake arts fest

Jun 18 2016 | 5:06 pm - With attendance down due to a number of factors, organizers of Grayslake’s 21st annual Arts Festival were already looking ahead to 2017 on Saturday.

Notre Dame great Tommy Zbikowski fights his way back from addiction

Jun 16 2016 | 5:36 am - Notre Dame All-American Tommy Zbikowski’s focus has changed dramatically in the two years since the Arlington Heights native entered rehab for alcoholism and addiction to pain medication. He’s put his football career behind him, turned...

Clinton leans on Park Ridge roots, but is it Hillary territory?

Jun 09 2016 | 9:23 am - Hillary Rodham Clinton has at times leaned on her Park Ridge roots during her second bid for president, but the suburb isn’t entirely Hillary territory.

Lester: Nun tells Maryville youths, ‘We won’t leave you behind’

Jun 09 2016 | 2:33 pm - In her decades of work with abused and neglected children, Sister Cathy Ryan has come to know how much suffering and tumult has taken place in children’s lives before they arrive on Maryville Academy’s doorstep. So having those boys...

Watch the skies: June is top month for tornadoes in suburbs

Jun 06 2016 | 8:53 am - June is the month with the most tornadoes in the Chicago area, including one 50 years ago on Thursday in Arlington Heights. And more have hit Will County than any other county in the region, while Lake County has had the least, a look at records...

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