Three running to face Roskam in November
Updated: April 2, 2012 8:04AM
Three Democrats are in the running in the March 20 primary, hoping to represent the party in the November election against incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-6th, who is running unopposed in the GOP Primary.
Leslie Coolidge of Barrington Hills, Geoffrey Petzel of Lake Zurich, and Maureen Yates of Barrington are on the Democratic ballot. Tim Ritter of Cary also filed but was removed from the ballot Feb. 2, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. The redrawn district stretches from the far northwest suburbs including the Barrington areadown to the west suburbs including portions of Oak Brook, Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale.
Petzel is executive director of the not-for-profit Friends of the Fox River and owns a small business that purchases run-down homes in his community to remodel or rebuild them. He believes the House’s most important task is to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans to find what he calls common-sense solutions to the country’s problems.
“I’m running because we need somebody in the 6th District who will actually represent the people,” he said.
Following high school, he studied public administration with a concentration in public finance and environmental management at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Petzel said he will support spending for infrastructure improvements, which he said will create jobs, stress insuring that Social Security and Medicare are solvent and support the creation of a single-payer universal health care system.
Petzel lives in Lake Zurich with his wife Melissa.
Meanwhile, Coolidge retired as a partner in the accounting firm of KPMG LLP, after 28 years, where she worked as external auditor for clients ranging from Fortune 500 multinational companies to technology startups. She has not run for political office before but sits on the boards of several environmental organizations.
“It really started this summer when I watched what was going on with the debt ceiling,” Coolidge said of why she’s running. She added a CPA like herself, with knowledge and understanding of economics and budgets, is what Congress needs now.
Coolidge said the government needs to invest in infrastructure and sustainable energy, as well as new industries to create jobs.
“We can’t focus on long-term deficit reduction until we get the economy moving,” she said.
Coolidge attended Harvard University, receiving a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in government. She also has a master’s degree in accounting from New York University where she was recognized as the top student in her program. In 1981, she joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. in New York, which became KPMG.
The other candidate, Yates, was born in England to Irish parents and has been a Democrat since she went to work at 18-years-old. She joined The Association of Engineering Draftsman Union, where she worked for five years. The union sent her to London University on a work release program where she earned a degree in English through the Workers Education Society. She also worked as a secretary and paralegal before opening her own business in Barrington, Yates Floral Designs, teaching and demonstrating flower arranging and wedding planning. She’s been retired for about four years. She has lived in five countries.
Yates worked on former U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean’s campaigns, making phone calls, mailings, writing letters to the press and was on the fundraising committee. She also worked for eight years for the Democratic chairman in Trumbull, Conn.
“What’s going on in Congress is completely wrong,” Yates said of why she’s running. She wants to know what happened to negotiation and compromise to do what’s best for the American people.
If elected, she said her top priorities will be issues dealing with the economy and ending the war in Afghanistan.
“We have to stop that stupid war in Afghanistan,” Yates said.
She’d also focus on reforming No Child Left Behind, to emphasize more learning and reduce the reliance on test scores.