Endorsement: Willis for Illinois House Dist. 77

This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

If Addison state Rep. Kathleen Willis is to make a bid this fall for a sixth term in the General Assembly, she first must get past a primary challenge from a Melrose Park newcomer who has shown in the past she is capable of mounting a successful campaign under tough circumstances.

Norma Hernandez points to her election in 2021 to the Triton Community College Board of Trustees against two better-funded opponents as evidence she is ready to take on a House veteran.

But Hernandez faces a much more complex obstacle in this contest.

Willis, who herself has school board experience as a former trustee in Addison Elementary District 4, has been a steady force for Democrats since her first election to the House in 2012. But she can be independent, too. She was among 19 state representatives who withheld their support from Speaker Michael Madigan, leading to the powerful Democrat's failure to keep the position he had held for decades.

Her campaign this time stresses a need for incentives to lure and protect Illinois businesses, investments in renewable energy to help fight climate change and consistent on-time payments against the state's pension backlog.

Hernandez offers similar ideas and, indeed, is complimentary of Willis' tenure. She insists she just wants to serve.

She offers an appealing candidacy, but not nearly enough political depth or background to warrant unseating a solid, experienced legislator. Willis is endorsed.

Norma Hernandez
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