Both candidates in 43rd Senate District making first bid for the General Assembly

While Diane Harris and Rachel Ventura have served at the local level, both are seeking a first term in the state Senate in the upcoming general election.

Harris, a Joliet Republican, is a trustee for the Joliet Public Library. Ventura, the Democratic candidate who also lives in Joliet, was elected to the Will County Board in 2018.

They're attempting to win the 43rd District seat with divergent opinions on many of the main issues facing their constituents in Naperville, Woodridge, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Romeoville and Channahon.

Harris opposes the wide-ranging criminal justice legislation known as the SAFE-T Act, while Ventura supports it. Ventura believes certain high-powered weapons should be in the hands of law enforcement only, while Harris said she wants a bigger focus on mental health. Ventura supports abortion rights, while Harris describes herself as an abortion opponent who doesn't feel the laws in Illinois are threatened.

But beyond the overarching issues this election cycle, the candidates are also focusing on neighborhood issues.

Ventura is concerned about the expansion of warehouses in Will County, which she believes creates low-paying jobs, worker exploitation and environmental concerns.

"We bring in more warehousing because that's where the rest of the county is going, but we don't mandate the best working conditions," she said. "We don't mandate benefits. We don't mandate high pay. So then the local people who live in this area are constantly having to pick up that slack. I think it is time that the rich pay their fair share."

Harris said she's heard from constituents about safety, taxes and local schools. Harris, though, believes it all starts with safety.

"When we allow our residents to feel comfortable in their homes, then we can move forward into making sure that we can promote safety on the map," she said. "When we promote safety on the map, that we live in a safe community, then that will bring businesses to our town. Not only will it bring businesses, it will bring families."

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