A Shorewood resident and Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees member said she is running as a Republican to be the next state senator representing the 43rd District.
Michelle Lee, 33, said her top priority if elected to the Illinois Senate would be education policy. Specifically, she said she is an advocate for school choice, giving families more options on choosing what kind of school to send their children.
“I am for creating competition for our students in the academic area so that they can thrive, so that they can find the right school that fits with them,” Lee said in an interview.
She is also concerned with the state’s move to green energy technology and questions whether enough is being done for workers in fossil fuel industries who may lose their jobs in the process. She pointed to NRG’s plan to close multiple coal plants next year, including one in Romeoville.
Lee has also been actively opposing mandates for mask-wearing in schools to prevent the spread of coronavirus, through appearances at local school board meetings in recent weeks. She said mask wearing can be harmful by depriving oxygen, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said masks do not raise the level of carbon dioxide when breathing. Carbon dioxide molecules are small enough to pass through the mask material.
The CDC recommends those age 2 and older in areas seeing substantial transmission of COVID-19 wear masks indoors.
Last April, Lee was elected to the Joliet Junior College Board, where she said she has pushed for a program to train staff on how to work with survivors of domestic violence.
Sen. John Connor, D-Lockport, who has represented the district since January, announced earlier this year that he will forgo reelection to his seat in 2022 and run to fill a Will County circuit judge vacancy.
The existing district voted by a nearly 30 percentage point margin for Connor, a Democrat, over Republican Ben Bierly.
Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, has announced she will run for the Democratic nomination to represent the district.
The redrawn 43rd Senate District will extend from Bolingbrook south to Elwood and includes parts of Channahon, Crest Hill, Joliet, Lockport, Rockdale, Romeoville and Shorewood.
The 2022 primary election will be held on June 28.