HomeTop StoriesVoters from Chatham to Kankakee must choose between Thaddeus Jones and newcomer...

Voters from Chatham to Kankakee must choose between Thaddeus Jones and newcomer Gloria White

Standing between Democratic state Rep. Thaddeus Jones and an eighth term representing Springfield’s 29th House District is Democratic candidate and financial advisor Gloria K. White, who hopes south suburban voters want a change in leadership.

Jones, who is also mayor of Calumet City, has won six of his previous seven elections by more than 25 percentage points, and has the advantage of name recognition and donations that come with being an incumbent president.

White said she hopes her experience as a payroll specialist for 25 years at FedEx and her role as Thornton Fractional Trustee of School will help inform legislation that affects residents.

“We have to start somewhere and make a change,” White said Thursday. “I want our community to be better.”

White said when she knocks on doors of residents living in the lean 29th District, which stretches from Chatham through southern suburbs and into Kankakee County, she hears voters expressing a desire for a change in leadership. She said they are fed up with Jones, whose political career is under scrutiny

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The Chicago Tribune discovered that while serving as a state representative, Jones chose to donate $150,000 in state funds to a mentorship program for which his son was both mentee and mentor. Jones defended the program, saying his son was not paid for his work with the program.

There is an ongoing federal investigation into his use of campaign finance funds. Emails also show that city officials were aware of the poor condition of the city’s pumps a year before flooding damaged homes in the city.

Jones declined to be interviewed by the Daily Southtown through a spokesperson and said he would send a written statement. On Friday, the spokesperson said Jones had decided not to make a statement.

During the current legislative session, Jones has introduced two bills: one to create a violence reduction task force and the other to require electric utilities to establish employment training centers.

White said she is running because she believes Jones has failed residents as a person and as a leader.

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“For so long, many of our residents don’t even know what a state representative does, who our state representative is,” she said.

On her website and in flyers, White lists protecting women’s reproductive rights, slowing climate change and protecting human rights as her top concerns.

But when pressed to offer more specific policies, White did not say what legislation she would introduce.

“I can’t think about it right now,” she said. “It’s a lot for me. I learn a lot.”

She also did not identify any votes Jones cast or bills he disagreed with. When featured on the Illinois General Assembly’s pending legislation website, White said she agreed with all the bills Jones has recently sponsored.

hsanders@chicagotribune.com

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