Endorsement: Janet Yang Rohr in House District 41
The two Democrats seeking their party's nomination in state House District 41 say they know what it's like to be considered outsiders in the district covering all or portions of Naperville and Warrenville.
But Denika McMillen, who identifies as a queer African-American, says constituents are ready for a change from Republican incumbent Grant Wehrli. A licensed clinical social worker from Naperville with a background in progressive causes, she calls herself "a candidate like no other."
Janet Yang Rohr, who grew up in Naperville, says she also knows what it's like to be viewed as an outsider. "When people see me, they don't necessarily think 'Naperville,'" she says. "But I am Naperville."
Politically, the candidates both support a "Fair Maps" amendment on the November ballot. They say residents are most concerned with property taxes. They place women's issues high on their priority list and pledge to be an independent voice in Springfield -- although Rohr clearly is the party favorite in terms of fundraising and campaign support.
As a social worker, McMillen says her primary focus is helping people outside the mainstream. She says mental health and climate change should be nonpartisan issues.
Rohr, a member of the Naperville Unit District 203 school board, is director of global data at Morningstar, an investment data and research firm. She has brought a common-sense, fiscally prudent approach to her school board duties and that experience will be key as the state faces its own financial issues. She says she's "comfortable going against the grain based on data and facts."
Rohr's ties to the Madigan machine make us uneasy, but her collaborative work on the school board and her financial background gives her a slight edge. Rohr is endorsed.