Apparent winner of 38th House race sets sights on more warehouse developments, third airport

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The apparent representative-elect for the 38th House District said she plans to meet with mayors, business leaders and civic leaders to discuss issues facing the district and potential solutions.

Former Olympia Fields Mayor Debbie Meyers-Martin garnered 45 percent of votes cast in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, according to unofficial results. No Republicans filed to run in the district.

Current Rep. Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, did not seek election to a seventh term.

David Bonner, of Matteson, received 26 percent; Max Solomon, of Hazel Crest, had 18 percent and Cecil Matthews Jr., of Matteson, garnered 11 percent, according to unofficial vote totals, with all 72 precincts reported.

The district includes all or portions of Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Frankfort, Hazel Crest, Harvey, Homewood, Markham, Mokena, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park and Tinley Park.

In a statement, Meyers-Martin, 64, said her apparent victory in the four-candidate race “marks a new era for our district.”

Speaking with the Daily Southtown on Wednesday, Meyers-Martin, who served for seven years as Olympia Fields mayor, said she wants to meet with 38th District mayors “to go further into depth on their concerns” about issues facing the district. She said she also plans to meet with business and civic leaders and area clergy.

While campaigning, Meyers-Martin said issues such as high property taxes and loss of businesses in the district were frequently raised as being key concerns, along with adequate funding for education.

She currently works as an administrator in the state treasurer’s office but said she will have to leave that job at the end of December, prior to being sworn in as representative.

Meyers-Martin has held a number of positions in the treasurer’s office, including serving as the office’s liaison to chambers of commerce. Prior to serving as mayor, she was an Olympia Fields trustee for nine years and is a past president of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association.

Prior to the state treasurer’s office, Meyers-Martin worked as district liaison for former state Rep. David Miller in the 29th District.

As a former mayor — she lost her bid for re-election a year ago — Meyers-Martin said she understands the concerns of local mayors and that “we all face basically the same challenges” when it comes to operating and financing municipal government.

She said she wants to focus on attracting additional warehouse and distribution development to the region and that new methods of offering incentives, involving the state, need to be used. Meyers-Martin said she also wants to revitalize a proposal for a third airport in the far south suburbs to serve as an air cargo facility for distribution firms.

She credited a “great team” of volunteers and other supporters in her apparent win, including support from newly elected Rich Township Democratic Committeeman Calvin Jordan and state Senators Michael Hastings and Toi Hutchinson .

“I would not be in this position if they had not given their full support to me,” Meyers-Martin said.

mnolan@tribpub.com

Twitter @mnolan_J

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