State Sen. Toi Hutchinson joins group of female candidates in race for Congress

December 4, 2012 4:38:50 AM PST
The already crowded field of candidates running for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s former Congressional seat just got bigger.

Nearly a dozen candidates have announced their intentions to run but it seems everybody's list of frontrunners includes the now-three official female candidates.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson joined former State Representative Robin Kelly and former U.S. Representative Debbie Halvorson Monday as third woman candidate in the race.

Hutchinson is the second-term state senator representing the south suburban 40th District and the married mother of three.

She said sending a woman to Washington would be a step toward ending Capitol Hill gridlock.

"The only way to move forward is to listen to people who don't agree with you sometimes," Hutchinson said. "And I believe women bring a different kind of negotiating and collaborative skill."

Former south suburban state lawmaker Robin Kelly, now on leave from her job as Cook County administrative officer, announced her candidacy Sunday.

"I'm running for all the women who are tired of Republican men spending more time trying to take away our rights than doing anything to improve our lives," Kelly said.

Former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, who is in Washington raising money, said the second district needs relief from sex scandals that plagued the last three males to hold the office.

"What is the most important thing that I'm hearing is that this needs to be someone with integrity, who is honest and trustworthy," Halvorson said.

South suburban State Representative Al Riley, a Hutchinson supporter, is concerned that too many candidates, both female and male, could split the primary vote.

"Many people are going to have to consider whether or not it's in their best interest to stay in the race or to get out and back another candidate," Riley said.

Halvorson, who is the only Caucasian in the Democratic primary so far, said she hopes race does not become a factor.

"It's not the district that we've had for the past ten years," she said. "It's a district now with Will and Kankakee added so the demographics are quite different."

"I want to talk to people about issues that are important to folks in their everyday lives. And it doesn't matter what color you are to do that," Hutchinson said.

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