Youth versus experience for Republican candidates in 59th District

The spicy campaign for the Republican nomination in the 59th state representative district is being portrayed as youth versus experience between two Lincolnshire residents.

Karen Feldman, 49, a residential Realtor, has served as a village trustee since 2009 and is in her third term. Balancing the state budget and reforming the property tax system are priorities.

"It's not age, it's the experience," says Feldman. "I'd like to go down to Springfield and clean up the mess, fiscal responsibility and all of that."

Marko Sukovic, 22, is a graduating senior at the University of Illinois who founded a public relations firm and worked for former U.S. Rep. Bob Dold. He says a pro-growth, business-friendly legislative agenda will help quell the exodus of residents leaving Illinois.

"This race is shaping up to be a contest between more of the politics we've seen and the opportunity for voters to send a new voice to Springfield," he said.

"There needs to be a candidate that can offer more than an anti-Madigan message," he added, referring to House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The 59th District includes portions of 21 communities in central Lake and northern Cook counties, including large sections of Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Wheeling and Vernon Hills. Incumbent Carol Sente, a Democrat from Vernon Hills, is not seeking re-election.

There has been an underlying tension between Feldman and Sukovic as they at times have traded barbs and questioned each other's motivation or support.

According to state election records, Feldman has received more than $75,000 in contributions, mostly from the House Republican Organization, which has paid for printing, mailing and radio and digital ads.

Sukovic sued the House Republican Organization over some of those ads linking him to Michael Madigan and included Feldman as a defendant. The suit continues, but Feldman was removed after producing a sworn affidavit.

"He knows I had absolutely nothing to do with it," Feldman said. She says Sukovic has been a paid political staffer who knows how to get publicity and would be "more of the same" if elected despite his age.

"I'm definitely not one of party people," she said. "I'm 49 years old; this is not going to be a career for me."

Records show Sukovic with about $12,000 in contributions.

"My campaign has been fully supported and powered by family and close friends," he said.

Dold in an endorsement said Sukovic is the "future of the Republican Party" who represents youth, vigor and a fresh voice.

Sukovic said he would follow Dold's example by building relationships across the board and exhibit "real independent credentials" to achieve a balanced state budget.

Both candidates support a 10-year term limit for Illinois House and Senate members.

Feldman said property tax issues resonate with residents but are intertwined with others, such as school funding. "Fully and adequately" funding school would be a priority, she said.

"It's almost overwhelming the reforms that need to take place," she said.

Sukovic says one of his priorities will be to reduce the cost of college and find ways for students to gain college credit outside the classroom and from professional experiences.

College student from Lincolnshire announces run for state House seat

Karen Feldman: Candidate Profile

Marko Sukovic: Candidate Profile

Candidate in 59th GOP primary drops opponent from suit over mailers

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