Dold, new Congress get started Tuesday

When the new class of Congressional representatives is sworn in Tuesday, the suburbs will have just one change to its lineup as Republican Bob Dold of Kenilworth takes over for Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield.

This week, Dold stressed he'll work to be a “thoughtful independent voice” from the North suburban 10th Congressional District.

Schneider still hasn't ruled out a rematch against Dold in 2016, which would be the third race between the two. (A threematch?) “When has the 10th District not been hotly contested?” said Dold, who held the congressional seat from 2011 to 2013.

Pray for Congress

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Plano Republican, will help lead a prayer service Wednesday in Washington, D.C., with a handful of other lawmakers.

From the invitation: “As new and returning members arrive to help inaugurate the 114th Session of Congress, it is fitting we begin our work here seeking the blessing and wisdom of our Creator God over this Congress, this city, our leaders, our country and our world.”

Duckworth will make trip

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, has been on maternity leave since giving birth to her daughter in November.

Her office said Duckworth will go to Washington to be sworn in to her second term.

Tax relief

A new state law that could help lower some veterans' property tax bills was inspired by a suburban wounded veteran who was given a house by a charity.

Nick Mapson suffered serious burns and other injuries when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in 2004 in Afghanistan.

In 2012, donors built a home for Mapson and his family near Antioch as a way of thanking him for his service.

“It'll be an ongoing battle probably for the rest of my life,” Mapson said at the time.

But even on a free house, taxes can be expensive.

Gov. Pat Quinn this week signed legislation that would raise to $100,000 the value of a disabled veteran's house that can be exempted from assessment for property tax purposes, including houses that were given by a charity.

Looking ahead

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider will speak at a Palatine Township Republican Organization meeting Saturday.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for the talk at 839 N. Quentin Road in Palatine.

“Senator Kirk will let us know what to expect with the changeover in Congress and Chairman Schneider will share with us what we can expect postelection in Illinois,” township Committeeman Aaron Del Mar said.

New addition

Starting Monday, the Daily Herald will add a new reporter to its political team.

Elgin native Erin Hegarty will work for the next six months in the Springfield bureau through the University of Illinois at Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting graduate program.

Hegarty is an alumna of North Park University in Chicago and will help cover what's sure to be an active legislative session at the Capitol this year until lawmakers and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner agree on a budget.

So, maybe forever.

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Randy Hultgren
Tammy Duckworth
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