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: Election hack likely not by a campaign, official says

Jul 25 2016 | 6:27 pm - The State Board of Election's general counsel says it's highly unlikely that a recent hacking of its voter registration database was done by a political campaign, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

How suburban women in politics helped blaze trail for Hillary Clinton

Jul 24 2016 | 8:08 am - As Hillary Clinton prepares to make history at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia by becoming the first woman major-party nominee for president, suburban women tell how times have changed since they broke the glass ceiling in...

Lester: Naperville man vies for 'Island goat' status in Mackinac race

Jul 21 2016 | 5:27 pm - A retired Naperville businessman will sail his 25th race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, Michigan, this weekend and says he's looking forward to the resulting “Island goat” designation if he finishes.

Skipping GOP convention, Dold ready for another battle with Schneider

Jul 19 2016 | 9:42 pm - The last time Republican U.S. Rep. Dold lost his seat to Brad Schneider, there was an Illinois Democrat at the top of the ticket that helped sway the independent north suburban district out of his grasp. Now, with Hillary Clinton to be nominated...

Lester: At-risk teens soar with Tuskegee program in DuPage County

Jul 04 2016 | 7:59 am - Columnist Kerry Lester takes flight with a teenage pilot, one of nine cadets who live, eat and sleep aviation at the DuPage Airport in West Chicago as part of the Tuskegee NEXT program aimed at giving at-risk youths a path to careers in aviation.

Social agencies, colleges relieved by budget vote but cautious

Jul 01 2016 | 5:44 pm - Suburban social service providers and financially needy students are breathing a little easier after the Illinois legislature overwhelmingly approved a stopgap spending plan for the first half of the fiscal year that begins Friday.

Suburban lawmakers’ take on stopgap budget deal

Jun 30 2016 | 7:20 pm - Illinois lawmakers passed a six-month stopgap spending plan Thursday with just hours to spare before the end of a fiscal year marred by a historic budget standoff. Here’s what some suburban lawmakers had to say about it.

Lester: How Frontier Days recruited The Wallflowers

Jun 30 2016 | 5:44 pm - Organizers of Frontier Days in Arlington Heights say securing a top musical act is a bit like “buying a used car” and snagged The Wallflowers to perform Saturday through a bit of negotiation and finessing, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

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.

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