A Voter's Guide to the Illinois State Representative's Race

 /  March 6, 2018, 9:18 p.m.


In the March 20 primary election, voters will choose among seven Democrats to represent them in the State House in Springfield. District Twenty-Five begins in Kenwood, includes Hyde Park and parts of Woodlawn, and then snakes down the lakeside through the neighborhoods of South Shore, South Chicago, and East Side at the Indiana border. The Twenty-Fifth District contains over one hundred thousand Chicagoans so it is essential that voters are informed of their choices for state Representative before making a selection.

Why you should care

The Illinois House of Representatives is the chief lawmaking body of the state. It also proposes state budgets, alterations to the state constitution, and impeaches executive and judicial officials. It is composed of 118 members who each serve two-year terms with no term limits. The House is composed of sixty-seven Democrats and fifty-one Republicans who have selected Michael Madigan as the House Speaker. With the retirement of longtime incumbent (and Hyde Park native) Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, the voters of the Twenty-Fifth District are faced with their first decision for this seat in forty years.


  1. William Calloway, before announcing his candidacy, was perhaps best known for co-filing the FOIA request which prompted the release of the infamous Laquan McDonald shooting. An activist focused primarily on police accountability, his campaign promises include the “Laquan Law” (a proposal made in the aftermath of the McDonald’s death to allow for elected officials to be re-called for a special election in the event of major scandal), marijuana legalization, and support for mental health programs.
  2. Grace Chan McKibben is a University of Chicago alumni, who’s spent her career working in higher education and local government. She has served as the associate Dean of Students at UChicago, the Chief of Staff at the Illinois Department of Employment security, and most recently as the director of the Indo-American Center, a non-profit dedicated to providing services to “facilitate the adjustment” of South Asian immigrants in Chicago. Her priority, as she has stated repeatedly, is education; she supports an elected school board, a popular proposal among education advocates in the southside, and guaranteeing increased funding for CPS in the Illinois state budget. Beyond education, she has pledged to support a progressive income tax and protect Illinois social services from cuts. For more information, see her Sun-Times profile.
  3. Angelique Collins, thirty, is a resident of Woodlawn. Her mother, Annazette, was a state representative and senator from the near West Side who retired five years ago. Collins graduated from Howard University in 2009 and earned an MBA from Roosevelt University in 2015. She has worked extensively with the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, as a SOAR Specialist with the Family Guidance Center, and as a Community Liaison for the Chicago Area Project. Collins has also been a small business owner. In 2011, she opened the West Side’s first African American owned beauty supply shop, Studio 27, which employed teens through a collection of CPS youth programs during the summers. As your state representative, Collins will work to spur business development in the district and make sure that CPS schools receive equal funding. For more information, see her Sun-Times profile.
  4. Adrienne Irmer, thirty-six, is a native of Hyde Park (her mother, Perri, is the President of the DuSable Museum).  A graduate of both the Lab School and Kenwood Academy High School, she received a BS in biology from MIT in 2004 and an MPA with the National Urban Fellows in 2014. She has worked in the offices of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state Senator Kwame Raoul, but her passion has always been in social justice causes. For sixteen years, she has spent her time as a member or on the board of multiple nonprofit organizations. As your state representative, Irmer will push for expanded pre-K offerings, public transparency of corporate tax filings, a progressive income tax, and automatic re-sentencing for those convicted of drug possession. The Chicago Sun-Times has endorsed Irmer. For more information, view her Sun-Times profile.
  5. Anne Marie Miles, a resident of South Shore, earned her BA at Gonzaga University, her MPA in social work at Long Island University in 1977, her JD at Fordham University in 1987, and her LLM at John Marshall Law School in 2001. When she is not working as a tax attorney, she volunteers at Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Office of the State Appellate Defender as well as maintaining her role as a social activist for the South Shore community. As your state representative, Miles would work towards ending cash bail, closing corporate tax loopholes, supporting the Paris Climate Agreement at the state level, and legalize marijuana use. She previously ran in the 2011 and 2015 Democratic Alderman primaries for the Fifth Ward, which contains the University. For more information on Miles see her Sun-Times profile.
  6. Flynn Rush is no stranger to Illinois politics, although this is his first campaign. He is the son of US Representative Bobby Rush, who has represented the First Congressional District of Illinois (which includes the Twenty-Fifth State House District) for over two decades. His self proclaimed platform focuses on three pillars: inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. In terms of concrete policy proposals, he has promised to pursue a Community Benefit Agreement with the Obama Library (a long held goal of activists in the southside) and bringing a grocery story to the currently vacant lot at Jeffery Plaza on Seventy-First Street.
  7. Curtis Tarver II, thirty-six, is a resident of Kenwood. He graduated from Iowa State University in 2003 with a BS in sociology and earned his law degree in 2006 at the University of Iowa. A trial attorney by trade, he opened his own practice, Saulter Tarver LLP, at the age of twenty-nine. His pro bono work is spent at Cabrini Green Legal Aid and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, but he was serving Chicago even before then, working in city government during both Mayor Daley and Emanuel’s administrations. He is also a small business owner. He took his passion for brewing public in 2014 when he co-founded the first African American owned and licensed brewery in Illinois, Vice District Brewing—a company giving ex-felons a second chance through employment. As your state representative, Tarver wants to reform the criminal justice system, increase resources to public schools, and expand access to quality healthcare. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Tarver. For more information, see Tarver’s profile in the Sun-Times.

The featured image is licensed under the Creative Commons; the original can be found here.

A correction was made to this article on March 8th, 2018. The original stated that Curtis Tarver II had worked "for Mayor Daley and Emmanuel", when in fact Tarver had worked in city government during their administrations. We rephrased appropriately.

Brett Barbin

Brett Barbin is a fourth-year Public Policy and Political Science double-major, interested in American history, geography, and political rhetoric. This summer, he worked in the investigative division of the Public Defender Service for DC and previously served as the Deputy Political Director for Senator Mark Kirk’s re-election campaign. On campus, Brett is the president of College Republicans, the vice president of the Political Union, and a College Council representative. He enjoys walking Chicago, collecting books, and reading way too much into public opinion polls.


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