Democratic 43rd state Senate candidates have different priorities
Democrats Eric Mattson and Rachel Ventura have similar viewpoints on issues facing residents in the 43rd state Senate District, but they'll prioritize the issues differently should they win the upcoming election.
Mattson, who is longtime Joliet firefighter, said his top focus would be mental health. Ventura, a Will County Board member, is targeting climate change for the district that represents Woodridge, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Romeoville and other communities.
The winner of the Democratic primary on June 28 will face the Republican primary winner, either Diane Harris or Michelle Lee, in the general election.
In recent years, the 43rd state Senate seat has been held by a Democrat, including by John Connor, who was reelected in 2020 but stepped down last month to care for a family member. Mattson was appointed to fill the seat until the June primary.
While Ventura believes the process to fill the seat was unfair, she said can win the primary because of her stance on issues important to the region, such as climate change.
"I think a lot of people, when they hear climate they think just environment," Ventura said. "We do need to have an environmental cleanup, especially in the 43rd District, but we also need job transition.
"Water is going to be a huge issue, Cleaning up coal ash in our area. It's leaching into our soil and our water. Clean air is important in this area."
Mattson, while recognizing the importance of climate change, said his primary issue will be mental health. He said it's more important than ever in the wake of recent shootings in Texas and elsewhere, an opinion shared by Ventura.
"In my line of work, I see mental health issues every day," Mattson said. "What do people need? Right now in our community, it's access to public health.
"We find people who can't get the access. They're diagnosed with the issues but just can't seem to get the help they need. That's on the forefront of my mind."