Editorial

Kerry Lester

Columnist
  • 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 school leaders to lawmakers: Just give us a state budget

Apr 27 2017 | 5:59 am - Some school superintendents have begged for years for a fix to Illinois’ school funding distribution, saying it shortchanges schools with more low-income students. But now they say they just want a state budget.

Hastert loses $28,000 state lawmaker pension after vote

Apr 27 2017 | 10:23 am - Two suburban members of the board governing the General Assembly’s public pension system were the only dissenters Wednesday in a vote that revokes imprisoned former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s $28,000-a-year legislative pension.

Hastert's pension could be reduced after vote this week

Apr 25 2017 | 6:07 am - The board governing Illinois lawmakers’ pension system is set to vote this week on a recommendation to reduce former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s retirement benefits to a fraction of the $28,000 a year he had been getting.

Rauner: Illinois ‘very close’ to budget deal. Senate leaders less hopeful

Apr 20 2017 | 9:29 am - Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner told a suburban business group Wednesday that state lawmakers are “very close” to a budget deal that would break a two-year stalemate. Leaders of the Illinois Senate were less hopeful.

Suburban voter turnout down, hot races or not

Apr 17 2017 | 11:57 pm - Just months after a presidential election that brought political passions to a boil, suburban turnout in the April 4 local elections declined — even in places with the hottest races.

Lester: Mayor’s epic road trip now in Congressional Record

Apr 17 2017 | 1:35 pm - A suburban mayor’s epic road trip to honor Lincoln in all 50 states is now in the Congressional Record, columnist Kerry Lester writes. Plus, Illinois House Democrats are stepping into the social media fray.

YouTube co-founder among IMSA alumni giving back to alma mater

Apr 12 2017 | 11:55 pm - You Tube co-founder Steve Chen one of a growing number of young alumni of Aurora’s Illinois Math and Science Academy who’ve made a name for themselves and come back to help their alma mater. Chen recently gave $1 million in seed money...

Lester: Were tax bills clues in mix-up over Dist. 25 board member’s residency?

Apr 09 2017 | 11:04 pm - Anisha Patel said she didn’t know until recently there was any question whether her house is in Arlington Heights District 25, where she won a school board seat last week. But records show she paid property taxes to neighboring Elk Grove...

Suburban parishes in Cook, Lake counties begin work to consolidate services

Apr 09 2017 | 8:26 am - Facing declining numbers of parishioners and priests and millions of dollars in needed church and school repairs, the Archdiocese of Chicago is launching a multiyear plan for its 346 churches to consolidate or share services.

As chemical attack draws U.S. airstrike, Syrian family reunites in Des Plaines

Apr 07 2017 | 9:06 pm - Around the same time the United States launched a surprise attack on a Syrian Air Base Thursday, Lama and Maria Saffaf touched ground at O’Hare International Airport, the final chapter of a lengthy separation from the rest of their family in...

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