Ventura is concerned about the expansion of warehouses in Will County, which she believes creates low-paying jobs, worker exploitation and environmental concerns.
"We bring in more warehousing because that's where the rest of the county is going, but we don't mandate the best working conditions," she said. "We don't mandate benefits. We don't mandate high pay. So then the local people who live in this area are constantly having to pick up that slack. I think it is time that the rich pay their fair share."Continue reading »
43rd Senate District
The Senate Democrats lost one incumbent to a primary challenger, although Eric Mattson had only been in the Senate since May. He had replaced John Connor, a Will County Democrat who left the chamber in a bid to become a judge, in the 43rd District.
Mattson was beaten by Will County board member Rachel Ventura by more than 1,800 votes. Ventura’s campaign page describes her as “pro-ethics, no strings attached,” and as a “progressive Democrat” who is dedicated to fighting the wealth gap.
She was dwarfed in fundraising by Mattson, who raised $801,000, including $245,000 from the Senate Democrats’ campaign apparatus and $416,000 from organized labor. Ventura’s biggest backer gave her $6,000, and her candidate committee received just 12 contributions exceeding $1,000 while raising only $41,000.Continue reading »
The Senate Democrats and their allies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to back appointed Senator Eric Mattson (D-Joliet) against progressive Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, but Ventura won by 15 points, even though she raised only $19K all year. This is, needless to say, a big loss. After Senator John Connor decided to run for judge, the Senate Dems and local pols engineered Mattson’s candidacy and his eventual appointment to Connor’s seat, believing that Ventura could put the district on the bubble this November if she won.Continue reading »
Will County Board member Rachel Ventura appeared headed to victory in the Democratic primary for the 43rd Illinois Senate District race against Eric Mattson, who was put in the Senate seat mid-campaign.
Ventura had 57% of the vote with 90% of the ballots counted as of press time. She had 6,241 votes to Mattson’s 4,682.Continue reading »
The Democratic state Senate primary between Eric Mattson, Rachel Ventura has turned snarly Democratic primary in the 43rd state Senate District is getting more heated as Election Day nears
Despite the support of party leaders, Mattson’s campaign has stepped up the attacks on Ventura with mailers accusing her of trying to “give herself a taxpayer-funded pay raise” as a Will County Board member. Another flyer said Ventura “double dipped on taxpayer-funded salaries – and still wanted more.”
Both mailers said they were paid for by Friends for Eric Mattson, the campaign committee supporting his candidacy.
The mailers were partially true but lacked important context.
While Ventura was in favor of increasing Will County Board members’ $23,000 annual salaries, the proposed increase did not pass last year. If the increase were to have passed, Ventura would not have benefitted from the increase because it would not have gone into effect until after her term ended.
The mailers prompted Ventura to respond in a news release earlier this month attempting to associate Mattson with the former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is facing bribery and racketeering charges.
“Can voters trust Eric Mattson?” she said in the release. “One minute he promises not to get dirty and the next minute he attacks me with blatant lies. My opponent is running a cookie-cutter Madigan smear campaign, and for the next two weeks we expect the lies to get uglier.”
The mailers also said Ventura “double dipped” because she earned her county board salary while working for the Joliet Township government, where she earned $53,000. She said in the news release she stopped working for the township on June 3 to campaign full time.
Ventura went on to accuse Mattson of hypocrisy, pointing to his $175,000 salary as a Joliet firefighter while serving as a state senator which pays him $69,000 per year.
“If he is expected to be in Springfield four days out of the week, how is he going to be fighting fires every two days?” Ventura said in an interview.
Read the rest of the article...Continue reading »
"I think a lot of people, when they hear climate they think just environment," Ventura said. "We do need to have an environmental cleanup, especially in the 43rd District, but we also need job transition.
"Water is going to be a huge issue, Cleaning up coal ash in our area. It's leaching into our soil and our water. Clean air is important in this area."Continue reading »
Democrats hope to have a substitute state senator in place in the 43rd District by Friday... Will County Progressive leaders put out a statement Sunday urging Democrats to wait until the primary and put the winner in the seat or to put in someone not seeking election. The two candidates are Will County Board Member Rachel Ventura, who is aligned with the Progressives, and Eric Mattson, a Joliet firefighter.Continue reading »
"With less than 60 days until the primary we are frustrated to see an attempt to hand off the 43rd State Senate seat to the favored candidate of the political machine,” the statement said. “This move is politics at its worse, done over and over again to keep power in the hands of a select few without letting voters have the first say.”
Ibarra and Bright said on Sunday that the Will County Democratic party should appoint a ‘lame duck’ — someone not seeking that seat — to replace Connor in the interim.Continue reading »
"The climate crisis is an issue that will impact all of us and many of the residents of the 43rd District will be impacted as we shift away from fossil fuels towards a renewable energy future. It will be important to make sure that we have a just transition and attract local green collar jobs to maintain a stable base of employment.
As the Joliet aquafer dries up, we have a water crisis that is going to require major infrastructure improvements throughout the 43rd District and in neighboring Crest Hill. This will be a high priority of mine as a State Senator.
I support robust, high-speed public broadband that will provide stable support for technology companies that want to set up shop in Will County. Building a competitive infrastructure will save ratepayers money and provide high quality service that keeps young people in Will County."Continue reading »
The Rachel Ventura Campaign for State Senate in Illinois’ 43rd District filed an objection to Eric Mattson’s signatures this week. Both candidates are running in the Democratic Primary to replace John Connor, who is running for judge. The challenge was officially filed by 43rd District residents, Janet Diaz, Roger A McReynolds, and Joel Brown, but according to the campaign press release, “Ventura is owning the challenge and personally did some of the research behind the objection.”Continue reading »
Ventura filed with election authorities against Eric Mattson, her opponent in the June 28 Democratic primary, contending that Mattson signed as circulator for at least four petition sheets that he did not circulate.
“We want our elected officials to follow the law,” she said. “There are rules for getting on the ballot. This is one of the first steps.”
Candidates running for office need to collect signatures on nominating petitions from a percentage of potential voters to get on the ballot. Whoever circulates the petitions is required to sign them before a notary public attesting that the signatures were collected in the presence of the person signing as circulator.
Ventura said her campaign has collected 10 affidavits from people to make their case before the state board.Continue reading »
The state legislature redrew it’s own district boundaries ahead of this year’s election.
Senate District 43
This seat is open after Sen. John Connor chose to run for an open circuit court seat.
Two Democrats, Eric Mattson and Rachel Ventura, will vie to replace Connor. Mattson of Joliet is a Joliet firefighter and president of the union representing the city’s firefighter supervisors. Ventura of Joliet is a Will County Board member and works for Joliet Township government.
The Republican primary also features two candidates, Diane Harris and Michelle Lee. Harris of Joliet sits on the Joliet Public Library Board and serves as the vice chair of the Joliet Township Republican Organization. Lee of Shorewood is a trustee on the Joliet Junior College Board.
The district stretches from Bolingbrook to south of Joliet.Continue reading »
Rachel Ventura filed roughly 1,500 signatures at the Illinois State Board of Elections for the office of State Senate in Illinois’ 43rd District on Monday, March 7th. Ventura and her campaign were third in line to file petitions and participate in the political tradition of waiting through the cold night to be among the first to file their petitions and potentially earn a top ballot position.Continue reading »
Behind her was the first Democrat in line, Rachel Ventura of Joliet is looking to take the open Illinois House seat in her newly-drawn district. She brought her twin daughters to stand in line for her first state race and slept in a tent overnight. She’s currently on the Will county board.
“We think it’s really important to be here, and show the voters how important this election is,” Ventura said.
It’s a tradition in Illinois politics to line up outside the election office to deposit your petitions on the first day they’re accepted. Candidates will have the entire week to submit their signatures, but filing them today gives them a chance to be the first name on the ballot for their race.Continue reading »
Will County has appointed Saud Gazanfer as the first American Muslim to serve on the county board, setting a precedent in the county’s history. Rachel Ventura, who has served as a Will County Board member since December 2018, has also shared a congratulatory message to Gazanfer. "The Will County Board made a historic appointment this morning when Saud Gazanfer became the first Muslim American on the board. A Bolingbrook resident, IT professional, active community member, and member of the Masjid Al-Jumu’ah mosque. "Continue reading »
Will County health officials said they are trying to overcome mistrust and misconceptions about the safety of the vaccine, particularly in Black and brown communities.
Warehouse employees in Will County say they have worked in close quarters throughout the pandemic, and they are among those most at risk from people who have not been vaccinated. So they are taking the message of the importance of vaccination door-to-door.
"It takes a lot of one-to-one conversations to address these issues," said Vinita Voss, Will County's vaccine equity manager.
Will County health officials said they are trying to overcome mistrust and misconceptions about the safety of the vaccine, particularly in Black and brown communities.
"Working with community-based organizations, they'll have the best success because they have already built trust in those communities," said Rachel Ventura, Will County Board member.Continue reading »
— Rachel Ventura, a Will County District 9 board member, will run for state Senate in the revamped 43rd District next year. In making her announcement, she said incumbent Sen. John Connor won’t seek re-election as he’s running for judge. The Illinois primary is June 28, 2022. Ventura ran unsuccessfully against Congressman Bill Foster in the 2020 Democratic primary.Continue reading »
“This is a transformative time in our government, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be your next state senator,” Ventura said.
While much had been accomplished in the past year, from expanding voter rights, closing immigration detention centers, requiring environmental clean-ups, and passing a balanced budget, Ventura said there is still much more work to be done.Continue reading »
A Will County board member has announced plans to run for an Illinois State Senate seat. Standing before family, friends and supporters at Bolingbrook Town Hall on Saturday, Will County board member Rachel Ventura (D-9) of Joliet on Saturday announced she will run for Illinois State Senate 43rd District.Continue reading »
Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, also applauded the move. Ventura, who heads the county board’s public health and safety committee, also has been critical of the health department and the vaccine roll out.
“I definitely feel like we have gone 180 degrees from where we were,” Ventura said Thursday. “I feel like we’re starting to pick up speed.”Continue reading »
Will County residents can make direct vaccination appointments through health department beginning Monday
Olenek’s update Wednesday drew support from county board member Rachel Ventura, who heads the committee and in recent weeks has expressed concerns over the health department’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout. In recent weeks, community based organizations and other board members have also expressed concerns over the health department’s efforts.
“In the last month things have really accelerated quickly and that is a testament to you listening and working with the community,” Ventura told Olenek. “I know I’ve been a tough critic, but I think you’ve really stepped up to the plate and I think that needs to be said.”Continue reading »
WILL COUNTY, IL — Officials in Will County are questioning the low supply of COVID-19 vaccines that various local providers have received. During a board meeting Wednesday, Sue Olenek, the executive director of the Will County Health Department, talked about the discrepancy in the number of doses they have received in relation to the county's population.
"With Will County being an extremely high-population county in Illinois, it's really unusual that we would be provided with such little vaccine," she said.
Board member Rachel Ventura asked if Olenek had received any explanation for this from the Illinois Department of Public Health.Continue reading »
The Will County Board approved an agreement with Waste Management to build a renewable natural gas (RNG) plant at the county-owned Prairie View landfill. In 2010, the county began an agreement with Waste Management to convert a portion of the methane gas created from decomposing the landfill to power a 4.8 megawatt Gas to Electricity (GTE) plant. This electricity is then sold on the local market to residents and businesses. Currently the county receives $450,000 annually from the sale of this methane gas which helps fund county operations.
The new agreement will allow for the sale of all the methane gas. After an initial investment of an estimated $46 million to build the RNG plant and pipeline, the county could receive $12 – $20 million annually, based upon market prices, in non-taxpayer revenue for more than 25 years. It is estimated that the RNG Plant and pipeline will cost several million dollars to operate.Continue reading »
County Board member and Public Health and Safety Committee Chair and Joliet Democrat Rachel Ventura said in the release that a lack of vaccine stock has hampered the immunization rollout throughout the state and made scheduling appointments difficult.
"There is a shortage of vaccines in Illinois and nationally," said Ventura. "This makes it very challenging to schedule appointments because the health department doesn't always know when their next shipment will be delivered, let alone how many doses will be included."Continue reading »
County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, said when she took over the public health and safety committee at the start of the year, she asked what the health department needs were and if they could presented at committee. The following month there were no requests.
Olenek and others point to statewide information showing the county ranking fourth out of all Illinois counties in terms of the number of vaccine doses administered.
“We are vaccinating,” Ventura said. “For all the hiccups, we should be thankful for that.”Continue reading »
Member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, mentioned the issue at the Will County Board Finance Committee meeting. She floated the idea of using a portion of the tax revenue to help people who have been negatively affected by the War on Drugs.
Ventura suggested such a policy would permit residents who had been affected to apply for the money. A board or agency would determine which applicants the money would go to.
The money could be used for expenses like offsetting the costs of starting a business. She argued this type of initiative would "invest taxpayer dollars back into the community."
"I'm not so sure if you're going to say we're going to help people that were negatively impacted, then define what that is," he said during Tuesday's meeting.
Ventura said the county could simply use the parameters the state government established in its Restore, Reinvest and Renew grant program. That program was designed to "address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system," according a state government summary of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Will County Assistant State's Attorney Philip Mock warned during Tuesday's meeting that state and county law limit what the board could do with the money. Ventura said she'd seek more specific answers about what those limits are.
While some Democrats on the committee voiced interest in the idea, Ventura tried to appeal to her other colleagues to work on a solution.
"Let's find a way so that if we've done something wrong in the past, we feel a law was unjust, that we right some of those wrongs," she said.Continue reading »
TYT Network interviews Rachel Ventura on The Conversation with Francesca Fiorentini.Continue reading »
Former CBS 2 Chicago reporter Derrick Blakley interviews Rachel Ventura about the 2020 Democratic presidential debates.Continue reading »
In discussions earlier this month, board member Rachel Ventura, a Joliet Democrat, suggested setting aside a portion for reparations to help those most affected by laws making marijuana illegal. Others have suggested revenues be used for treatment, education and to offset any increase in law enforcement costs for impaired driving or other infractions related to the new law.Continue reading »
The vote, which was largely along party lines, came down to a tie when Rachel Ventura, a Joliet Democrat, broke from her party and voted against the tax. Ventura said while she supported the tax, she was voting against it because there was no provision for property tax relief.
Read Ventura's full statement here: https://www.facebook.com/RachelFVentura/posts/2129913557111939Continue reading »
Earlier this week, board member Rachel Ventura, a Joliet Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in the Democratic primary for the 11th Congressional District, suggested using a portion of the money for reparations or for programs to help those most adversely affected by marijuana laws.Continue reading »
Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, said she favored some revenue going toward “reparations” to help individuals who had been convicted of using marijuana.
Ventura said that people of color disproportionately were affected by policies outlawing marijuana use. Now that the state government will be able to expunge the records of individuals with marijuana convictions, she said they might need help attaining employment and housing in Will County.
“We want to make sure that we’re setting up opportunities here locally,” she said. Jackie Traynere, D-Bolingbrook, and Harris voiced support for Ventura’s idea.Continue reading »
"We have to start having green jobs, innovations to help fight climate change,” said Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet. “These are things that are going to affect us in the near future. It’s really time to take a laser focus.”Continue reading »