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I was surprised to read in recent local papers that District 209 School Board President Chris Welch plans to run for the 7th District State Representative position now held by Karen Yarbrough. Hasn’t Mr. Welch done enough damage serving his own self-interests rather than the majority of the students in Dist. 209? Now he wants to continue in that same vain for the 7th State Representative District? What gall and arrogance!

Karen Yarbrough is doing a more credible job as State Rep than anyone in that position in more than a decade, including Gene Moore who is Chris Welch’s crony and who no doubt put Chris up to run against Karen to discourage her from running against him for the Democratic Committeeman’s position. Well, she is not discouraged and, in fact, is now circulating petitions to run for Democratic Committeeman (as well as State Rep) to rid our communities of un-democratic, strong-arm political practices. But again, why is Welch trying to divert Karen’s attention, as well as the voters, by forcing an unnecessary contested race? Karen’s time could be better spent continuing to draft and support legislation, which she has done so well, to better serve and reach out to all constituents of the 7th District.

But of course, this is a concept alien to Welch. What really amazes me is that he has time to run a race with all of the law suits that have been filed against him (defended at taxpayers expense?), or the law suits that he has had to initiate himself in order to counter the law suits that call his integrity and character into question. What does Chris Welch want? Does he plan to be a State Rep. while still “serving” on the Dist. 209 School board, while “serving” as the attorney for the Dist. 88 School Board, while “earning” his salary as a lawyer for his law firm? And while holding all of these positions, is anything really being done well for all the students – or just for his special interests?

What does Chris Welch want? He has misused $40 million of taxpayer money on a new school serving only 124 students (who were already excellent students), while the remaining 4,000 students are struggling to meet State standards. It is no secret that a significant portion of those dollars went for contracts, legal fees, and other such payoffs. Why did Chris Welch orchestrate the firing of Greg Jackson as 209 Supt. causing the taxpayers to buy out his contract for thousands of dollars? Was it because Greg Jackson was weary of carrying out Chris Welch’s orders and did not want to work with Chris Welch’s “pinstripe patronage” consultants and his $46,000 janitors? Was it because Supt. Jackson was more interested in motivating students and raising reading scores than financing bloated advertising dollars and consultants fees on the backs of taxpayers via “back door referenda.” What Chris Welch has done to the disservice of the majority of District 209 taxpayers he now wants to do to all the residents of the 7th Representative District. On March 21, those residents will say “No” to Chris Welch by re-electing Karen Yarbrough as state representative. This is what liberated voters want.

Barbara Cole
Maywood, IL