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Democrat Sharon Chung to run for state representative in new 91st District

Sharon Chung
McLean County Board member Sharon Chung said she will not defend her seat in the fall election, but run instead for state representative.

A second Democratic candidate says she's running for state representative in the new 91st House District.

McLean County Board member Sharon Chung said she's excited about the opportunity to advocate for central Illinois in Springfield.

"Right now, we have a really exciting opportunity to have great representation for the Bloomington-Normal community in Springfield. It's something we were lacking for many years, the way the districts were drawn," said Chung.

Previous maps favored Republican lawmakers. The new 91st was drawn as a marginally Democratic party-leaning district, Chung said. It takes in parts of central Bloomington and Normal and stretches west toward Bartonville and East Peoria.

The new district includes parts of Bloomington-Normal previously represented by Republicans Dan Brady and Keith Sommer. Neither veteran lawmaker is running for retention to the House. Sommer is retiring and Brady is making a bid for Secretary of State.

Chung said her three-plus years of experience on the county board would help her if elected.

"I've seen how the county works as a sort of arm of the state government and I'm excited to advocate for Bloomington- Normal and McLean County down in Springfield," said Chung.

She said one focus for her, if elected, would be education.

"The funding that we have had for education in the past has affected whether students decide to stay here in Illinois. I feel like when people go out of state for school, a lot of times they don't come back. I would really like to see what we can do to fund it from Pre-K up through higher education," said Chung.

Chung also said there is something to be made from the constellation of wind and solar generating capacity and electric vehicle manufacturing in the region.

"I'm really excited about this green initiative we have here in McLean County. With things like that, we are being a really interesting green energy hub and I would really like to advocate for that," she said.

Chung, a musician and music teacher, would face Karla Bailey Smith, a painter, in the primary. Normal Town Council member Scott Preston is running as a Republican in the 91st.

The primary is in June. The general election is in November.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.