This election season has been ugly. My opponent has sent out nearly 20 mailers full of outright lies that have been insulting to the intellect of the voters of our district. The Chicago Tribune said it best last week: “Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, must be worried about his opponent, Chris Harris of Forest Park, or he wouldn’t be sending out smear mailings that are so misleading they’re comical.” 

It’s hard to run a grassroots campaign. You don’t have the money to combat these kinds of lies, but we have tried to remain positive throughout the campaign and advance our message. We have earned respected endorsements from the Chicago Tribune, Wednesday Journal and Forest Park Review. We have been in the community talking to people one on one — doing it the old-fashioned way. I am passionate about having representation that puts the community first, not the campaign contributors that line our current state rep’s pockets and rule his decision making. We need to protect our most vulnerable; demand equal education and early education funding; use every avenue possible to increase economic development in our community; and reform a broken criminal justice system that favors those with influence, power or money.

I worked on Rory Hoskins’ campaign for this seat in 2012. One of the main reasons I did so was to try and stop Mr. Welch from accruing more power and exploiting that power. 

Rep. Welch’s record speaks for itself: the years of abuse as president of the Proviso High School board; the insider deals for friends, family and campaign contributors; the over $600,000 in special interest money he has taken; and the selling out of our district in Springfield to the highest bidder. 

Enough is enough. Let’s return this office to the people and follow the Chicago Tribune’s lead when it said last week: “We hope voters will drop those mailers directly into the recycling bin — and drop Welch out of the legislature.”

I humbly ask for your vote on March 15 — together we can do this.

Chris Harris

Candidate, 7th District state representative