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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Lester: Will new tax credits keep more Catholic schools from closing?

Oct 16 2017 | 12:29 am - The Archdiocese of Chicago looks to a private-school tax credit to help slow enrollment declines. Plus, suburban lawmakers lead an effort to repeal an abortion bill just signed by Gov. Rauner; a local lawmaker escapes wine country fires; and why...

Why the Cook County soda tax failed

Oct 14 2017 | 11:24 am - How a few outnumbered Republicans, a big industry coalition and some unlikely allies won a Cook County soda tax repeal.

Cook County soda tax dumped; Preckwinkle blames ‘tax fatigue’

Oct 11 2017 | 8:02 pm - Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle predicts “painful” cutbacks and forecast a rough budget battle ahead as she suffered her biggest public defeat yet with Wednesday’s repeal of the much-maligned sweetened beverage tax.

Early 15-1 vote to repeal soda tax; tax marijuana instead?

Oct 10 2017 | 7:49 pm - Cook County commissioners leading the charge to repeal the much-maligned sweetened beverage tax are grappling with how to make up the money, with one suggesting legalizing and collecting fees from recreational marijuana instead. The repeal was sent...

Lester: Is Illinois GOP uniting in opposition to Rauner, abortion?

Oct 09 2017 | 5:32 pm - eState Rep. Jeannie Ives of Wheaton says the state GOP, criticized in recent months for its internal squabbles, is banding together in opposition to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s approval of an abortion funding measure last month., columnist...

Walker to run for his former House seat

Oct 09 2017 | 7:03 pm - Former Democratic state Rep. Mark Walker of Arlington Heights said Monday he plans to make a bid for his old House seat that’s being vacated by Republican David Harris.

Soda tax expected to be repealed by near-unanimous margin

Oct 09 2017 | 6:12 pm - Cook County Board commissioners are expected to repeal the deeply unpopular penny per ounce sweetened beverage tax this week by a near unanimous margin, a process which begins with a key finance committee vote on Tuesday.

Kenneka Jenkins’ death ruled accidental; alcohol, drug found in system

Oct 06 2017 | 10:55 pm - Kenneka Jenkins had consumed alcohol and a drug used to treat epilepsy and migraines, which could have hastened her death from hypothermia in a Rosemont hotel freezer, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office ruled.

4 things to know about Illinois’ gun laws

Oct 06 2017 | 8:00 am - Illinois’ gun laws are relatively strict compared to surrounding states, but some loopholes still exist, allowing residents to quickly cross over the border to Indiana, Missouri or Wisconsin and make purchases at gun shows that they then...

7 Democrats running for Illinois governor will square off at forum in Mount Prospect

Oct 05 2017 | 9:35 am - Seven Democratic candidates for Illinois governor will square off Oct. 18 in a breakfast forum hosted by the Daily Herald, Daily Herald Business Ledger and ABC 7.

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