Harry Benton endorsed for Illinois House District 97

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 10/21/2022 8:01 AM
This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Democrat Harry Benton, a Plainfield village trustee, and Republican Michelle Smith, the Plainfield Township Clerk, are running for the 97th District Illinois House seat currently held by Republican Mark Batinick, who did not seek reelection.

On the hotly debated Safe-T Act, which goes into effect in January, Benton points to the removal of cash bail and funding for police as positives, though he favors some changes.


Smith says she sides with law enforcement and thinks it moves Illinois backward. She said she would work to repeal the Safe-T Act.

On banning assault-style rifles, she said she believes mass shootings are a product of mental illness and not guns. Benton, who says he is a gun owner himself, says we need to fund law enforcement to get the guns out of the hands of criminals. Benton also stresses the need to get ghost guns off the street, have red flag laws and enforce straw purchase laws.

Benton and Smith disagree on the issue of abortion in Illinois. Benton believes it is a woman's choice. Smith concedes that while abortion rights are too extreme in Illinois,they are protected here.

Benton, who ran unsuccessfully against Batinick in 2020, has the more middle-of-the-road positions on most issues and is endorsed.

The 97th House District includes parts of Naperville, Plainfield, Oswego and Joliet.

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