Benford vows to stand up for community in bid to unseat Manley
Alyssia Benford has had enough of the way Springfield has always seemed to work.
“Illinois’ political class has failed our communities,” Benford, a Bolingbrook Republican who grew up on the city’s West Side, said on her website. “They rig the system to make it work for themselves and not for us.”
And now Benford is ready to take a stand. She’s challenging incumbent state Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) in the 98th District on the strength of a pledge of new direction.
As a child, Benford remembers her mom toiling long and hard to be able to send her to a high school outside of the neighborhood because those in the area were so substandard. The experience left her with a clear understanding of the difference a quality education can make and a commitment to the idea of someday bringing that level of quality schooling to her own community.
Benford has long felt a strong sense of community. After graduating from Florida A&M, she returned to Chicago, ultimately founding the accounting firm Benford Brown and Associates, where she remains a founding partner of the agency dedicated to serving the “small- and medium-sized businesses that create prosperity in our communities.”
In addition to her work as an accountant, Benford serves as treasurer of the Rotary Club of Bolingbrook and for the last six years has been a DuPage Township trustee.
According to her website, Benford has also served as president of the Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce and on the Police Pension Board.
All her hard work and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.
In 2008, she received the Female Citizen of the Year Award from the Village of Bolingbrook, making her the youngest recipient of the award.
Still, Benford’s path has not been without major obstacles. When her mom was just 35, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and Benford was one of those left to care for her.
In 2015, at the age of 45, Benford herself was diagnosed with the disease. Remembering the strength and positivity her mom always showed, Benford has undergone eight surgeries and is now cancer-free and serving as a counselor to others battling the condition.
Through it all, she continues to pride herself on being an inspiration to her four children and three grandchildren by encouraging them to persevere and pursue their dreams, no matter what the obstacles.
“I am running to represent the families of our community and to be a voice,” she recently told the Times Weekly. “We need representatives in Springfield that are effective and represent the needs of our community."
The 98th District covers all or parts of Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Crest Hill and Naperville.