Kerry Lester

  • Phone(847) 427-4603
  • Emailklester@dailyherald.com
  • Twitter

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: Elvis paczki? Mount Prospect bakers get creative

Feb 07 2016 | 6:51 pm - Want an Elvis paczki (bacon, peanut butter and banana)? Or a Blackhawks paczki (fresh red and black raspberries)? Mount Prospect’s Central Continental Bakery workers are up all night making sure you have the chance.

Parish closures, consolidations expected as part of Chicago Archdiocese restructuring plan

Feb 06 2016 | 7:52 am - A number of suburban parishes in Cook and Lake county are expected to be shuttered in a massive restructuring plan being put into place by the Chicago Archdiocese, an effort closely guarded by members of the clergy in recent months. But the plan,...

Lester: After 10-year quest, Onesti lures Sophia Loren to appear

Feb 04 2016 | 8:53 am - After trying for 10 years, suburban theater owner and entertainment corporation president Ron Onesti has successfully lured Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren to Chicago to perform, columnist Kerry Lester writes.

Cook County state’s attorney challengers focus on Laquan McDonald case

Feb 04 2016 | 12:32 am - Two Democratic challengers looking to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez say her response to the police shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald shows the county’s criminal justice system is broken. But Kim Foxx and...

Alvarez Q&A: We didn't sweep anything aside in McDonald case

Feb 03 2016 | 12:14 pm - In a sit-down interview with the Daily Herald, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez talks about the delay in filing charges in the Laquan McDonald shooting, the difficulty of getting convictions in police shooting cases, and her rocky...

Vallas: Shifting special education funds to other schools a bad idea

Feb 01 2016 | 2:27 pm - A state move to shift some special education funds away from schools that can raise more through property taxes was unwise because it pits the suburbs against other parts of the state, former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas said.

Lester: Convicted priest moving to Mount Prospect parish

Jan 31 2016 | 11:14 pm - A retired priest who was convicted of theft will be taking up residence at St. Raymond de Penafort parish in Mount Prospect. The Rev. Steven Patte was sentenced to four years of probation in 2009 for stealing $40,000 from St. Ita parish on the North...

Lester: Alvarez’s schedule reveals some details of McDonald investigation

Jan 27 2016 | 11:40 pm - Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s schedule shows she met with U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon five times during the year between the shooting of a black Chicago teen by a white police officer and her move to charge the officer...

‘Downton Abbey’ creator’s niece dishes about show, Julian Fellowes

Jan 28 2016 | 4:37 pm - The niece of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Jessica Fellowes, will speak Sunday at the McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn about all things “Abbey.” She spent time with the Daily Herald in advance of her appearance.

Lester: Why Elgin won’t have water problems like Flint

Jan 25 2016 | 10:15 am - Elgin has one thing in common with Flint, Michigan — it gets its water from a river. In the wake of revelations of toxic lead levels in Flint’s water, Elgin’s longtime water director insists such a crisis couldn’t develop...

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