Endorsement: Willis in House Dist. 77

Democrat Kathleen Willis of Addison was a surprise winner four years ago in the contest for House District 77, ousting 20-year Republican incumbent Skip Saviano. She now faces Republican Anthony Airdo, a heating and air conditioning sales representative from Melrose Park.

Willis makes a good case for her return to Springfield through some demonstrated independence and an ability to work across the aisle. She says that, despite some concerns posed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, she supported a measure that led to new tolls related to the Elgin-O'Hare expansion and a measure to impose a 911 surcharge. Also, Willis has a personal voting history of pulling Republican as well as Democratic ballots, and she's supported by all nine mayors in the district, which includes members of both parties.

Willis also has introduced two bills that drew bipartisan support: one to improve services for special needs students and another prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes to minors. Her background as an eight-year Addison school board member also serves her well in grasping the tough educational issues legislators face.

Airdo, meanwhile, says his strength as a negotiator would translate well to working the political divide in the legislature, but there appears to be little else in his background that would warrant his election.

Willis is endorsed.

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