Democratic primary voters in southwestern Lake County have a choice of two candidates for their party’s nomination for the Illinois House of Representatives who have one thing in common: They say they’re willing to work hard to get the job.
Chelsea Laliberte Barnes from Palatine and Nabeela Syed from Inverness have traveled the district since deciding to run for a General Assembly seat knocking on more than 10,000 doors each. They say they learned a lot and met many potential voters.
Syed and Barnes are running for the Democratic nomination in the 51st district in Tuesday’s primary for the chance to oppose incumbent Chris Bos, R-Lake Zurich, in the Nov. 8 general election. . Bos is unopposed for the Republican nomination.
Both candidates learned from potential voters that the economy was at the top of people’s minds during the campaign. While there are other issues — like gun violence and health care — inflation, jobs, and taxes have always topped the list.
“It’s not just taxes, but the cost of goods and services,” Barnes said. “We need to increase our revenue by attracting new businesses like technology, wind and solar.”
“People are concerned about the property tax system,” Syed said. “Large commercial sites should pay their fair share of (real estate) taxes.”
Hard work is part of Syed and Barnes’ inner makeup, though they say they developed their intensity by motivating them to run for state legislature because they were passionate about different issues.
Barnes, 37, and a social worker who grew up in the southwest part of Lake County, is an advocate laws and programs to help drug addicts. She founded Live4Lali to help people who suffer from drug addiction and their families, after the death of her brother, Alex Laliberte, from an overdose at age 20.
Working with former U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, R-Kenilworth, to pass legislation known as Lali’s Law to provide resources for people with addictions, and Lake County Judge Mike Nerheim when he was Lake County State’s Attorney, to establish the Lake County Opioid Initiative, Barnes said she knew how to work across the aisle.
“When you’re a nonprofit, you look at who’s in power,” Barnes said. “Drug addiction is not a partisan issue. It is a human question. You should try to work with those who can help you. It will help me to work across party lines.
Syed, 23 and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, is passionate about the right to vote and making it easier, not harder, for people to get to the polls. She works for a nonprofit that is building a digital strategy for this issue, as well as gender equity and sexual assault.
While Syed said she doesn’t see efforts in Illinois to make voting harder rather than easier, it’s an issue that needs to end elsewhere because it’s such an essential part of democracy. that she wants to protect.
“Issues at the federal level spill over to the states, like voting rights and senseless gun violence,” Syed said. “We need to keep our community and our democracy safe. Our state must be a leader. With my experience, I can bring a new vision to the Statehouse.
Born the same year 12 students and a teacher were killed by two teenage gunmen at Columbine High School in Colorado, Syed said she didn’t know a world where active fire drills weren’t part of a routine. school.
“A policeman was shaking the lock to see if anyone opened the door,” Syed said. “He was playing the role of a shooter. It shouldn’t be part of a kid’s school day.
Barnes said she looked at the world through the lens of a mother of a 3-year-old as she shaped her worldview. She thinks about the things that trouble her and doesn’t want them to be problems for her child.
“I worry if he will have a government to work hard for him or what kind of government he might have,” Barnes said. “I’m afraid he has no planet to live on.”
The district includes parts of Barrington, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Killdeer, Deer Park and Vernon Hills, as well as most of Palatine, Inverness and some areas of Hoffman.