Endorsement: Thomas for House District 83 Democratic primary
Incumbent Democrat Barbara Hernandez faces a primary challenge from Juan Thomas in state House District 83, with the winner advancing to face Republican Donald Walter in November.
Hernandez, 27, already has established herself as a party favorite and force to be reckoned with in the district that covers the Aurora area. She was elected to the Kane County Board in 2016, served as chief of staff for then-state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and was appointed to Chapa LaVia's seat when her boss was named director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Hernandez says she shares constituents' concerns with rising property taxes, but also focuses on women's issues -- including addressing domestic violence and ensuring abortion rights.
Thomas, an attorney and ordained minister from Aurora, formerly served on the West Aurora school board and as Aurora Township clerk. He says the state must address pensions, school funding and property taxes, but also needs independent-minded leadership to fix a "broken system." Among his proposals are bans on legislators lobbying the General Assembly for five years once they leave office and a ban on House and Senate staffers from lobbying the General Assembly for three years once they leave office.
These are two strong candidates, but Hernandez' decision to continue serving on the county board while assuming her duties in the state legislature violates our core belief that no elected official should hold more than one office at a time. Hernandez gave up her county salary, but says she kept her seat because she wanted to protect her constituents and feared county board Chairman Chris Lauzen would appoint a "fake Democrat" to fill her seat. Her county board term will expire next fall, but by then she will have served two masters for the better part of two years and that's simply too long.
Thomas, meanwhile, is a strong challenger who will represent his party well in November. Thomas is endorsed.