Arlington Heights Trustee Canty running for state rep
Arlington Heights Village Trustee Mary Beth Canty plans to run for state representative in the newly redrawn 54th House District, she announced Thursday.
Canty, elected to the village board in 2019, says she had been contemplating a run for higher office for some time but decided to make it official Thursday by establishing a formal campaign committee. On Thursday night, she held her first fundraiser in the backyard of an Arlington Heights supporter's home.
Canty plans to run as a Democrat, setting up a potential June 28, 2022, primary contest against Drew King of Palatine, who was first to declare his candidacy earlier this month. The 54th District seat, as currently drawn, is held by Republican Tom Morrison of Palatine. But if challenges to the Democratic-controlled remap are rejected, Morrison would be drawn out of the district and into the 51st District, represented by fellow Republican Chris Bos.
Under the proposed redistricting, the new 54th District would include a large portion of Arlington Heights, as well as parts of Palatine and Prospect Heights.
Canty said the new map creates an opportunity for her to seek office as a legislator, as she didn't wish to replace current Democratic state Rep. Mark Walker in the 53rd District.
"I feel very lucky in the leadership that has represented me since living in Illinois," Canty said. "I think they are good listeners and try to do what is right for the community. But I knew at some point I also felt I'd be able to do just as good of a job. When the opportunity presented itself through this new mapping, that seemed like the perfect timing for me."
Since moving to Arlington Heights in 2008, Canty has been involved in both activist organizations and nonpartisan groups, including the League of Women Voters, Bridge the Black/White Divide Task Force on Education, PTA, and Policy beyond Our Walls: Education and Response ministry at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church.
Canty is an attorney at the Chicago law firm of Litchfield Cavo, defending clients on insurance coverage and construction liability claims. She's also worked at a management consulting firm and nationwide insurance company and was appointed to the Regional Transportation Authority board as a suburban Cook County representative a year ago.
Since her election to the village board, Canty, who is biracial, has been an outspoken voice on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and helped develop the village's affordable housing ordinance.
"I think all of that has brought me to this point," she said. "I believe strongly in my ability to see issues, to take in critique from the community, and try to meet them where they are. I believe in my ability to be practical and transparent with folks."
She said her top priorities if elected would be education -- trying to get state funding at the proper levels to avoid reliance on property taxes -- and public transportation -- finding ways to more effectively move commuters around the suburbs as in the city.