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Breaking down state legislative races
By Catherine Edman | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/2/2008 12:01 AM

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From gambling to state taxes, candidates running for state legislative races run the gamut of opinions on solutions.

Voters will have the chance to choose among them Tuesday when they head to the polls.

Senate District 21

Republican State Sen. Dan Cronin of Elmhurst, who's represented the district since 1993, is facing a challenge from two opponents: Democrat A. Ghani from Oak Brook and Green Party candidate John Basco of Downers Grove.

Ghani, a retired real estate broker, ran unsuccessfully for Oak Brook village president last spring. Basco declined to respond to any questions.

Senate District 42

Terri Ann Wintermute is making a run at the seat she lost to Democratic rival Linda Holmes in 2006. Wintermute, a Bolingbrook Republican, and Holmes, of Aurora, have sparred over negative campaign ads in their race.

The seat was held by a Republican for years until Holmes' victory in 2006 and could play a role in whether Democrats keep their "super majority" in Springfield. Holmes says she wants to promote more green energy initiatives and focus on passing a capital spending plan, while Wintermute says her priorities include reinvigorating the state's economy and revamping the controversial Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

House District 41

Republican Bob Biggins of Elmhurst has served for the past 16 years.

His challenger is Kevin M. O'Connor, a Green Party candidate from LaGrange Park.

House District 45

Democratic challenger Jim Hagerty, a retired sheet metal worker from Roselle, believes the state should look someplace other than increased income taxes to increase revenue for education. His opponent, Franco Coladipietro, a Bloomingdale Republican, similarly believes the state should maintain its emphasis on property taxes to raise money for schools. Coladipietro, an attorney, first won election to the seat in 2006. Hagerty worked on the 2004 presidential campaign for John Kerry.

House District 46

Republican Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst attorney elected in 2006, said he believes gambling expansion would generate roughly $1 billion in new state revenue. He supports adding slot machines to race tracks and releasing the state's 10th gambling license for a Rosemont casino.

Democratic challenger Gary Nowak, also of Elmhurst, hopes to spark the local economy by attracting small businesses with tax incentives encouraging them to create and retain living-wage jobs. Jobs are especially needed in the manufacturing and technology sectors, the first-time candidate and banker says.

House District 48

Republican Michael Connelly and Democrat Joseph Heneghan are running to replace retiring state Rep. Jim Meyer.

Connelly defeated Naperville City Councilman Douglas Krause and College of DuPage Trustee Dave Carlin in a GOP primary last winter.

Heneghan, a 52-year-old Woodridge resident, joined the race in the spring. He is a telecom engineer with Alcatel-Lucent. Connelly, a 44-year-old Lisle resident, is a lawyer and member of the DuPage County Board.

House District 55

Incumbent Republican Randy Ramey, of Carol Stream supports releasing the 10th gambling license, a Chicago casino and slots at the tracks. His opponent, Green Party candidate Dan J. Kairis of South Elgin, said the actual cost of gambling to the state would need to be studied before expanding licenses.

House District 56

Democratic state Rep. Paul Froehlich of Schaumburg, said he doesn't support any sales tax hike, particularly in this financial climate. He said it's possible to increase the excise tax.

His challenger, Anita Forte-Scott, a Republican from Schaumburg, said one of her spending cut suggestions means targeting the $3.5 billion in annual program costs for undocumented immigrants. Forte-Scott, who owns an early childhood facility, favors deporting rather than incarcerating such immigrants convicted of crimes.

House District 83

Democrat Linda Chapa LaVia has represented the district for six years. The Aurora real estate agent opposes state gambling expansion and wants to see existing casinos that are fined for infractions give money back to the community.

Challenger Joan Soams, a Republican and retired lobbyist, opposes any expansion of gambling licenses.

House District 96

Dianne McGuire, the Democratic challenger for the 96th House District, said she opposes any measure that would increase the tax burden on middle or lower classes.

Her opponent, Republican Darlene Senger, said she would introduce legislation to increase the homestead exemption, double the property tax rebate for all taxpayers and repeal high business fees on small business income families. Both women are from Naperville.