Kerry Lester

  • Phone(847) 427-4603
  • Emailklester@dailyherald.com
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Kerry Lester is a columnist and senior writer who focuses on the people who make the suburbs unique.

Lester, formerly the Daily Herald's political editor, returned to the paper in 2015 after several years with the Associated Press.

In her years as a reporter, Lester has netted a number of statewide and national scoops, including the first sit-down interview with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk following his 2012 stroke, one-on-one interviews with presidential candidates, and breakthrough reports on the state budget crisis and power struggle in Illinois' newly divided government.

She is proudest of a four-year project looking into a 2008 knife attack on an Elgin High School teacher from the perspectives of the teacher, the student who committed the crime, and the school district. Her subsequent investigation into school safety practices led to a 2012 change in state law.

Lester has received awards from the Chicago Headline Club, the Chicago Journalists Association and the Inland Press Association. She appears frequently on local and national television and radio programs and has moderated a number of political debates.

A native of Des Plaines, Lester is a proud graduate of St. Viator High School, Villanova University and The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where briefly working for a newspaper deepened her commitment to community journalism.

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Lester: Caregivers are leaving their jobs for higher pay in fast food, retail

Aug 25 2016 | 10:40 am - Some employees of Ray Graham Association, based in Lisle, are leaving jobs their for higher-paying positions in fast-food or big-box stores as the clock is ticking on GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign or veto a bill raising pay for caregivers for those...

Lester: Illinois Supreme Court justice goes undercover in bond court

Aug 22 2016 | 2:15 pm - Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke says she sometimes goes “undercover” to watch Cook County’s bond court call and doesn’t always like what she sees, Columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Mary Ann MacLean, state civic leader, wife of ex-Mettawa mayor, dies

Aug 21 2016 | 2:15 pm - MacLean, a former state board of education member and director of the Illinois State Museum and wife of former Mettawa Mayor Barry MacLean, died Thursday following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Lester: Nekritz competed at Olympic trials in ’76 and ’96

Aug 17 2016 | 11:35 pm - State Rep. Elaine Nekritz participated in the Olympic trials for both gymnastics and cycling, though there’s a reason she doesn’t talk about it much in the political realm, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Rolling Meadows mayor, Palatine supervisor, AH trustee want Murphy seat

Aug 17 2016 | 7:13 pm - Local Republican leaders said Wednesday that two current members of the Illinois House, Palatine Township’s supervisor and Rolling Meadows’ mayor are among the candidates interested in replacing outgoing state Sen. Matt Murphy of...

Judge gives parties in Duckworth suit until Aug. 24 to settle

Aug 15 2016 | 3:51 pm - The two sides in the workplace retaliation suit against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth have less than 10 days to finalize a settlement agreement before a Union County judge takes matters into his hands.

GOP will target Ciko’s past convictions in TV ad

Aug 10 2016 | 1:59 pm - House Republican strategists say they will launch cable TV ads highlighting past convictions of Democratic legislative challenger Nick Ciko for theft of a parking pass in college and driving under the influence years later.

Lester: Palatine supervisor disputes suggestion of ‘Chicago politics’

Aug 08 2016 | 1:11 pm - The Palatine Township GOP chair disputes a suggestion that his appointment to a pair of taxpayer-paid township posts came about as a political favor, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Kirk: Respect Muslim Gold Star family, don’t let Syrian refugees in

Aug 02 2016 | 8:53 pm - Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk on Tuesday said Donald Trump should “back off” criticizing the Muslim parents of slain U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan. At the same time, Kirk reiterated his call for a moratorium on Syrian refugees’...

Suburban GOP lawmakers push for term limits, dismiss questions about unity

Aug 01 2016 | 6:20 pm - Within the last week, a top member of Illinois House Republican leadership abruptly resigned from the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a birth control bill many of his GOP members opposed. But House and Senate Republicans presented...

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