Mount Prospect, Illinois – Long-time progressive activist and Mount Prospect School District 57 President Joe Sonnefeldt announced today that he would attempt to challenge State Senator Tom Rooney in the November 2018 general election, and run for the Democratic nomination for the 27th District State Senate seat in the March Primary. Sonnefeldt is the first Democrat to officially announce, and the only Democrat to have filed campaign committee paperwork with the Illinois Board of Elections.

“I am running for State Senate because Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan have let their personal battles hold our state hostage and too many of our current State Senators, including Senator Rooney, have been complicit in this process,” Sonnefeldt stated. “Senator Rooney was handpicked by Governor Rauner and has never earned a single vote from his constituents. It’s no wonder that he is a loyal foot soldier of the Trump / Rauner agenda: to divert resources away from education and local services in favor of less worthy interests that only benefit the very wealthy.”

Not surprising, given Sonnefeldt’s background as a local school board president, his campaign will focus on prioritizing investment in education at the state level so we can begin to build a fair economy in Illinois. Sonnefeldt is also focused on finding ways to provide permanent relief to homeowners by overhauling the property tax system and shifting a larger share of this responsibility to the State of Illinois. “Our current tax structure in Illinois is unfair. The ongoing budget challenges in Springfield present us with an opportunity to re-invent our dysfunctional tax system and reprioritize our spending by putting the people of our state first,” Sonnefeldt commented.

As a school board president and a union member, Sonnefeldt has sat on both sides of labor negotiations. Sonnefeldt believes it is the duty of elected officials to represent taxpayers vigorously just as it is the right of unions to do the same on behalf of workers, and that depressing wages or restricting the rights of workers to organize and bargain is un-democratic and results in a worse quality of life for all. Sonnefeldt is a professional musician and was a part-time instructor at Hersey High School for 25 years. He has lived in Mount Prospect for nearly twenty years and raised his two adult children there.