Burke shellacs Shelstrom to win 2nd term in House

By Laura Bollin

The incumbent state representative in Illinois 36th House District was victorious Tuesday, crushing her challenger and earning a second term in the General Assembly.

Democratic state Rep. Kelly Burke, of Evergreen Park, received 22,001 votes (67 percent) to Republican challenger Bob Shelstrom’s 10,837 votes (33 percent) with 55 out of 72 precincts reporting in suburban Cook County and 18 out of 23 precincts reporting in Chicago, according to the Cook County clerk’s and Chicago Board of Elections’ websites.

The 36th District inlcudes Evergreen Park and parts of Palos Park, Palos Hills, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge and Worth, as well as a portion of Chicago’s southwest side.

Shelstrom, of Palos Park, has been unsuccessful in five runs for office, and was running for state representative in the 36th District for the first time. He decided to run against Burke when he learned there was no Republican candidate on the primary election ballot, and is an advocate of rescind the state income tax increase implemented this year.

Shelstrom entered the race “late in the game,” he said on election night.

“We did the best we could,” he said. “It was time well spent. [Burke] is a tough candidate. I plan to keep a close look on how she votes and what she’s doing, because she is my representative.”

Burke, when reached by phone on election night, said her focus on community outreach – from attending village board meetings to campaigning door to door – helped her earn her second term in office. She wants to continue her work on making the state fiscally responsible.

“We have to get the [state] budget back on track,” Burke said.

Burke is a member of the House’s general services appropriations committee, which looks at funding for state agencies including the secretary of state’s office. Burke hopes to join another appropriations committee in the area of transportation, higher education, or public safety.

Burke has cited job creation and fiscal responsibility in Springfield as the two top issues in her second term. Jobs can be created if the state uses money from income and property taxes to pay down a backlog of debt owed to municipalities and other organizations, and such action will build the stable government necessary to entice people to move to Illinois, start businesses and hire employees, she has said. She will also continue working on the Mechanics Lien Act, which she has said would benefit the construction industry by protecting contractors and suppliers should the projects on which they are working fall through.