DuPage trustee sees hard work earning her a House seat
DuPage Township trustee Alyssia Benford wants to oust Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) in the 98th District.
A Republican, Benford has her hands full, not only with a political campaign but also because she's a certified public accountant pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy.
“I will prove that delayed does not mean denied,” Benford told the Will County Gazette. “Life is about continually learning. Being a student is hard work, but I do believe that the things we work hard for, we appreciate more.”
Benford, who is also a member of the oldest African-American female-founded sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, knows about working hard after a short battle with breast cancer.
“When I was diagnosed, I took it upon myself to become fully educated in regards to all of my options,” Benford said. “It has changed me into a different person, because I know my early detection is the reason I am still alive today.”
On Friday, Benford joined another fight when she signed a joint statement to stop the sex harassment that reportedly has been going on at the Capiitol for years.
“Together we represent a wide range of professions, backgrounds and personal experiences,” the statement reads on Facebook. “We’re running to improve the lives of the families in our districts and across the state. This starts with changing the culture in Illinois politics, because there is no room for sexist behavior at any level of our government.”
Benford held her campaign’s kick-off fundraiser on Oct. 26 with GOP attorney general-hopeful Erika Harold in attendance.
“The turnout was great,” Benford said. “I invited friends, family and local elected officials that I have worked with over the past 17 years. I shared with the group some of my clients' current concerns regarding how the tax issue in Illinois has affected them over the years.”
Benford studied governmental accounting for her master’s degree, which prompted her interest in education finance, pension policy and property taxes.
“I am currently working on a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy, and it has increased my knowledge of education finance, pension policy and property taxes even more,” she said. “Given our current state’s financial challenges, I believe I am able to assist the state given my technical knowledge and skills.”
Benford said constituents on the campaign trail are united in their anger.
“The residents in my district are mostly concerned about their property taxes, business taxes and personal taxes,” she said. “I plan to help by being their advocate and their voice. As a business owner for over 20 years and a homeowner in the area for 17 years, I experience some of their same challenges and concerns.”
The 98th District covers all or parts of Bolingbrook, Romeoville and Shorewood.