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ENDORSEMENT: Denyse Wang Stoneback for Illinois House in 16th District Democratic primary

Stoneback founded the gun violence prevention organization People for a Safer Society after the Sandy Hook massacre.

Endorsement, Denyse Wang Stoneback, Illinois House of Representatives, 16th District Democratic primary election, 2020
Denyse Wang Stoneback is endorsed by the Sun-Times for Illinois House in the 16th District Democratic primary.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The winner of the Democratic primary likely will enjoy a lock on this state House seat, which was held for three decades by Lou Lang, who resigned last year. Nobody’s running in the Republican primary.

Our endorsement goes to Denyse Wang Stoneback, who founded the gun violence prevention organization People for a Safer Society after the Sandy Hook massacre. Stoneback fought hard, though ultimately without success, to block a gun shop and firing range from opening near schools in Niles. Her group then successfully advocated in Springfield for a requirement that gun dealers have a state certificate of license.

Stoneback has expanded her advocacy work beyond gun issues, with a focus on policies of importance to working families. Case in point: When the Skokie Village Board last year considered opting out of Cook County’s $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance, Stoneback helped organize a lobbying effort that persuaded the board to back off.

Stoneback is challenging incumbent Rep. Yehiel Mark Kalish, a former lobbyist appointed to replace Lang. Kalish was backed by Lang and other establishment Democrats until he failed last spring to vote in favor of a sweeping abortion rights bill, the Reproductive Health Act. Kalish, who voted “present,” denies that he ever promised to do otherwise.

Also running is Kevin Olickal, executive director of the Indo-American Democratic Organization.

Illinois House 16th District map.
Illinois House 16th District map.
Illustration by Caroline Hurley

For more information about this race and others, including candidate questionnaires, go to our Illinois primary voting guide. Our newspaper is owned by a group of civic-minded and, in some cases, politically active investors; for details, see our owner information page.

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