Will County Board member announces run for state senate seat

The sitting senator in the 43rd District is running for Will County circuit judge

Will County Board Member Rachel Ventura, a member of Working Families Joliet, speaks to members of the public and media Aug. 21 outside Joliet City Hall in downtown Joliet.

Will County Board member Rachel Ventura announced on Saturday she will run for the open State Senate seat representing the 43rd District in 2022.

Ventura, D-Joliet, has served on the Will County Board since her election in 2018. She’s been an outspoken advocate for several progressive causes like addressing racial and income inequality and pushing for clean energy initiatives to counteract climate change.

“This is a new political era in Illinois,” Ventura said in a speech to supporters in Bolingbrook. “It’s a new day and we can have a model government, one that not only represents special interests, but every resident. One that makes decisions for the people and the planet.”

She argued the state legislature still needs to fully fund infrastructure projects and public schools as well as institute a progressive income tax, which voters rejected last year.

She highlighted her education in mathematics and early career as an actuarial analyst, which she argued helps her see big issues from both a macro and micro-level.

“My ability to see the bigger picture while breaking it down into quantitative bits, means I also understand how each law impacts people across the board and how it impacts our economy, our environment and our quality of life,” Ventura said.

Still, she’s displayed a willingness to buck fellow Democrats and has at times gotten into heated exchanges with Will County Board members who took issue with her stances and arguments.

Ventura touted her independence and pointed to her 2019 vote against implementing a 4-cent gas tax on county drivers, arguing for relief for property owners who would be paying more at the pump.

Previously she ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Joliet City Council and 2017 and in a primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, last year. Ventura earned 41% of the vote against Foster in a two-way race.

The sitting senator in the 43rd District, John Connor, D-Lockport, announced last month he would forego reelection to his seat in 2022 and instead run for a Will County circuit judge vacancy.

Connor was first appointed to represent the 85th House District in 2017 before winning a full term in that body in 2018 and a two-year term to the Senate in 2020.

The 2022 election will be the first conducted with redrawn district maps as the state legislature has to do every 10 years. The redrawn 43rd Illinois Senate District will extend from Bolingbrook in the north to Elwood in the south and include parts of Channahon, Crest Hill, Joliet, Lockport, Rockdale, Romeoville and Shorewood.

A bill recently passed by the General Assembly would delay the 2022 primary election to June 28. Primary elections in Illinois are typically held in March.