‘I’m running on the power of a miracle,” said Dr. Eddie Kornegay, about being on the Republican ticket for state representative of the 7th District. The miracle he refers to has to do with his 28-year-old stepson, Anthony Jones. The lifelong Forest Park resident was the victim of a carjacking attempt on Jan. 20, 2021.

Jones had stopped for a snack at the BP gas station, Harlem and Roosevelt Road, in Oak Park. After he returned to his car, 18-year-old Edmond Harris reportedly sprinted up and demanded Jones’ 2019 Nissan Altima. Jones hit the gas but Harris reportedly fired through the driver’s side window. The bullet entered Jones temple and exited his cheek. 

Jones entered the gas station but was asked to leave because he was bleeding on the floor.  He called 911 and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center. He was hospitalized for six days and may never regain full vision in his left eye. 

Harris allegedly carjacked a Chevrolet Impala on March 6. On March 23, he reportedly shot and killed Uber driver Javier Ramos and stole his Lexus. He later turned himself in at a Chicago Police station. Kornegay works with people like Harris in the Living Word prison ministry program. 

He started at Living Word in 2014, where he serves as dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Joseph Business School. The last time I interviewed him was when Living Word hosted the 2015 Cook County Criminal and Traffic Sealing Summit.

“I have fallen in love with Forest Park,” Kornegay said at the time. “It’s a great community.” Now, he is running for election to the Illinois House of Representatives to represent District 7. He is on the ballot in the Republican primary on June 28, 2022.

He was prompted to run by an email from the Illinois Policy Institute to get more people “that sound like you” on the ballot. Kornegay was a lifelong Democrat who is voicing his values through a Republican organization. Should he win the nomination, his opponent in the general election will be Emmanuel “Chris” Welch, the Speaker of the Illinois House.

“I’m not running against Chris,” he insisted, “I’m running for disenfranchised voters.” He also is not embracing the radical fringe of the Republican Party. Kornegay quoted from scripture, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.” He also said, “When violence comes inside your house, it changes the equation.”

He started his campaign with $86 deposited at Forest Park National Bank and will reach out to community organizations and work with friends to gather donations. He has “divine confidence” that if he knocks on doors and uses media platforms, he has a chance to unseat the incumbent. In the meantime, he continues to try and reach people like the one who shot his stepson. 

He teaches technology skills to inmates at Cook County Jail. Many of them are young, and Kornegay believes that in the presence of faith, transformation can occur. He is also part of a program that offers post-release opportunities. “I see people in dire circumstances breaking into homes. Lawlessness is spreading everywhere.”

The next step in his campaign is to host events in Forest Park. He wants to hear the voices of constituents: business owners, seniors, families with children. “We’re all shareholders,” he said.

On the morning his stepson was shot, Kornegay had been asleep. When he reached Loyola, Jones was embarrassed by his appearance and said, “Sorry you have to see me like this.” 

The tragedy prompted Kornegay to ask himself, “What more can I do?” 

Running for the 7th District seat is a start.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.