Incumbent Kimberly Lightford easily defeated challenger James Smith in the race for 4th District state senator, receiving just over 88 percent of the vote according to numbers available on the Cook County Clerk’s web site.
Lightford, a former Maywood trustee, will enter her third term as state senator. She called her election “blessed” and extended her thanks to voters, but was unavailable for further comment due to the death of her grandmother on election day.
As the discouraging results came in, Smith said he was frustrated both by the defeat and by the voter turnout.
“I’ll go home tonight and I’m still going to have drug dealers on my corner, my schools still won’t work, and I still won’t have access to my legislator,” he said.
“It’s a travesty that people don’t have enough hope in a state legislator to at least come out and vote,” he said, promising to continue running for office in the future.
Lightford, who has served in the senate since 1998, is the chair of the Senate Education Committee and also served on the Senate Higher Education Committee, the Senate Financial Institutions Committee and the Senate Labor and Appropriations Committee.
She touted her work fighting the payday loan industry and her support for increases in the minimum wage while on the campaign trail in recent months.
Earlier this month, she was able to secure a $300,000 grant for the Village of Forest Park through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to help fund a future parking solution for the village’s downtown area.
Smith, a Chicago Public School teacher who operates the Chicago-based Servants of the Word Youth Outreach Program, has been critical of Lightford for the problems facing the district’s public schools under her leadership, calling for policy changes and accountability rather than “throwing money at the problem.” He has also emphasized the need for increased economic development programs on Chicago’s West Side.