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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.