I have just ended a three-year campaign in an effort to serve as Illinois Senator for the 34th District. In that time, I have forged many new and meaningful relationships and saw firsthand the enormous need in my community. I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be able to address those needs as a State Senator; however, I will contribute as a volunteer/organizer to the betterment of this community, as I always have.
There are many people who I am grateful to for their constant support: my committee, volunteers, contributors and supporters in many capacities. Also, my husband, Eric Wilson, news anchor at WREX-TV, whose professionalism was beyond reproach. He never compromised his integrity in the most trying of circumstances. And, my beautiful, smart and versatile daughter, Alison. Watching a 10-year-old put in so much time and effort into this very adult venture to show support for her mother was the greatest gift. She will grow to be a strong, confident woman.
And, if I would have told my brother and campaign manager, Mike Lantz, three years ago he would be scheduling interviews, giving introduction speeches and counting ballots on election night, he would have laughed. But he did those things, plus provided encouragement and testified to my intentions as only someone who has known and loved you all your life can. Thank you to him and the terrific kids he raised.
To all the other candidates who lost in the primary election: Running for public office opens candidates up to being criticized by strangers, false accusations from other candidates and their supporters and doubts about who you can trust. These negative circumstances are only tolerable because there is the hope to be able to make a positive difference. To return our government back to the people, for the people.
But, remember this, only a handful of people are brave enough to take a stand. Losing the popular vote isn’t a reflection of the quality of our character. Politics is a race that only one candidate moves forward in a primary and by no means defines the others as losers. In this case, the definition of losing would be to give up on serving our community.
Let’s keep moving forward in a positive direction. It is times like these that make us who we are.
From the March 28-April 3, 2012, issue