Incumbent Kifowit faces challenge from West in 84th Illinois House District

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Incumbent State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, is facing a challenge from Republican Oswego Township Supervisor Joe West for the 84th House District seat in the Nov. 8 general election.

Kifowit served nearly a decade as an Aurora alderman before being elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2012. West served a term on the Oswego Village Board before being elected township supervisor two years ago.

“I like being a problem-solver,” Kifowit said. “I’m a full-time state representative. I’m drawn to service.”

Kifowit said the state’s prospects are brighter with new legislative leadership in Springfield and a balanced budget that is resulting in credit-rating upgrades for the state.

The incumbent likes to point out that she was the first to challenge former Speaker Michael Madigan, leading other lawmakers to denounce Madigan and paving the way for a new speaker.

“With new leadership we can begin working to address high property taxes,” Kifowit said. “We’re finally going in the right direction.”

West believes residents are over-taxed and are dictated to by the state government.

“I want to bring common sense to Springfield,” West said. “I’m not beholden to anyone. I want to reduce the budget and bring things under control in Illinois.”

West said the state needs to offer incentives like sales tax rebates for businesses to relocate in Illinois. He pointed to his efforts to have the village of Oswego use local businesses as vendors.

“I try to develop partnerships,” West said.

The challenger said he is concerned about gender identification being taught in the schools.

“Parents want more control over what’s being taught to their children,” West said.

West and Kifowit share a common background as veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Kifowit serves as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. She points to legislation she passed that is aimed at stopping veteran suicide.

“I’ve worked hard to battle veteran suicide and provide supports,” Kifowit said.

West says Kifowit is not doing enough.

“When I attend veterans events, I make sure I thank the veterans and participate. I walk the walk,” West said.

A major issue in the election campaign across the state has been the criminal justice law known as the SAFE-T Act which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

County state’s attorneys have warned that the legislation’s cashless bail system will allow violent offenders back on to the streets.

Kifowit said the legislation would not do this and is clear enough, but that lawmakers will make changes to the act during the fall veto session.

“I think these are definitions that can be adjusted so there is no ambiguity,” Kifowit said. “Some of the state’s attorneys don’t seem to have a clear understanding” of the law, Kifowit said. “They are reading it in a way that can be misconstrued.”

West would take a more radical approach.

“I would repeal it and start over,” West said. “I think it needs to be revisited. I would reach out to local police.”

Kifowit serves as chairman of the State Government Administration Committee, Vice Chairman of the Appropriations/General Services Committee and member of the Revenue and Finance and Public Utilities committees.

In addition, Kifowit is the Midwest Regional Director of the Women’s Legislative Network.

West serves as a volunteer with the Beecher Center, Meals on Wheels and the Oswego Senior Center.

The 84th District covers potions of Montgomery, Oswego, Aurora and Naperville.

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October 31, 2022 at 05:05AM

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