Chapa LaVia first to announce Aurora mayoral bid

  • Illinois Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia speaks to lawmakers during a House committee hearing in May 2014. The Aurora Democrat is the first candidate to announce a run for Aurora mayor in 2017.

    Illinois Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia speaks to lawmakers during a House committee hearing in May 2014. The Aurora Democrat is the first candidate to announce a run for Aurora mayor in 2017. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/24/2015 4:20 PM

In a local announcement to supporters, Democratic State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia said she will make business development and education top priorities if elected mayor of Aurora.

The announcement came earlier this week, with no prior notice to the media, at the Copley Theater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Our city is ready to do incredible things for jobs and education," Chapa LaVia said in a statement recounting her announcement. "For now, I'm humbled and my heart is warmed by you believing in me. I promise, no matter what, to always believe in Aurora."

Chapa LaVia, an Army and National Guard veteran, was first elected as state representative for the 83rd District in 2003. She is a native of Aurora, and lives in the city with her husband and two daughters. Chapa LaVia's current district covers Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora.

Chapa LaVia said two of her top priorities will be "to create an atmosphere that encourages business development and growth, and promoting early childhood education."

On the education front, Chapa LaVia was recently in control of a controversial school funding proposal by state lawmakers that would have changed how Illinois schools get money from the state in order to send more cash to poorer districts. Last October, Chapa LaVia said the proposal needed more work. It's since become part of the larger state budget battles.

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Chapa LaVia's announcement makes her the first candidate to jump into the race since Mayor Tom Weisner announced he would not seek re-election in May. She had long been expected to run the for the position if and when it became available.

Likewise, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, a former state senator, has been eyed as a potential candidate. His first term as county board chairman ends in November 2016. However, asked a few days after Weisner's announcement, Lauzen, a Republican, said he didn't feel compelled to run for mayor.

"No, this is my job," Lauzen said, referring to his role as chairman.

There is plenty of time for Lauzen to change his mind or other candidates to enter the race. Weisner's term doesn't expire until 2017.

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