GOP candidates say thanks, but they're out

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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(1 OF 2 LETTERS)

About two weeks ago, and near the end of the petition circulation process, Congressman Luis Gutierrez announced that he would not seek re-election to the 4th Congressional District. 

He promptly endorsed County Commissioner Jesus Garcia in a move that concerned many west suburban voters. As a state Republican Party volunteer, I felt an obligation to speak out for an open and transparent electoral process and against what could only be described as a peculiar coincidence or a Chicago dirty trick. 

I had not previously considered seeking higher office, but fearing no other candidate would be able to challenge the de facto "anointing" or even worse – that a fringe candidate would enter the race, I quickly gathered a group of local residents and circulated petitions to get on the ballot. 

Thanks to the help of Republican, Democrat and Independent voters, in two short days we collected double the amount of necessary signatures to establish a candidacy. My sincerest thank you to each and every one of you for helping me make that happen.

One can only imagine my pleasant surprise to find that not one, but three other Republican candidates emerged, prepared to answer the call. 

With family obligations, job responsibilities, and other commitments, a decision to take on a race of this magnitude is never a small one. I am pleased to see that you, my friends and neighbors, also felt that this race was too important to ignore and supported the various eager candidates in their efforts to get onto the ballot. 

As a result, it has become unnecessary for me to continue my own last-minute campaign. I intend to submit papers to formally withdraw my candidacy. 

I eagerly await the actions of these much needed newcomers to the political process. I expect that over the coming days and weeks, the local ward and township organizations will begin the endorsement process and vet each of the candidates. I anticipate a spirited, informative, and civil conversation that discusses the issues facing the district. 

Again, thank you to each and every one of you, especially my wife, for all of your work on my behalf. Any effort to hold our elected officials to a higher standard is never a wasted one, especially in Illinois.

Jay Reyes

Riverside

(2 OF 2 LETTERS)

Having lived in Brookfield for the last 25-plus years and counting, I have come to recognize the great community that I was lucky enough to be raised in. From outstanding neighbors, to a great diversity of local activities, and an outstanding school system, Brookfield and our neighboring near west suburbs have so much to offer.

This blue-collar, family-oriented environment gave me the strength, experience and confidence to pursue my dreams and achieve my goals. At age 22 I started my first business. 

At age 23 I became a homeowner and a full-time police officer. At age 26 I started law school at John Marshall. I've been elected the secretary of my union lodge and have been a key member of the negotiating committees for our collective bargaining agreement. I was chosen as the Police Officer of the Year at my Department in 2016 and received numerous other accolades for my service in the line of duty.  

This community also circled around and supported me when my father, a former U.S. Marine and patriot, passed away at age 49. I was 19 years old at the time and very alone.

My profound respect and admiration for our home is what led me to declare my candidacy for the Illinois House of Representatives in the 23rd District in September. 

I have sat back and watched as Illinois slips further and further into financial turmoil. A severe lack of leadership has led us down this path, and the political establishment has shown no interest in correcting these flaws. I want to protect the interests of the people who have allowed me to reach the heights I have achieved. 

When I entered this race, I saw a clear path to victory. Unfortunately, my obligations to my job at the police department, my business endeavors and my continuing legal education will prevent me from continuing to give my full, undivided attention to proving to you that I am the best candidate for this office. 

It took much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family and trusted advisors to make the decision to suspend my campaign for state rep. 

That being said, I am proud of the work that I, and many others, put into the campaign to date. We knocked thousands of doors and garnered over 1,000 signatures on my petition. I cannot thank those people who helped me walk enough times. 

Nor are there enough thanks for the people who took the time to speak to me and allowed me to listen to their concerns, regardless of whether they signed my petition or agreed with me on all the issues. 

Serving as an elected official is my dream and ultimate goal. I can see no better way to give back to the community that has given so much to me. While I am stepping back from this race now, I will continue to contribute to the community through my service as a police officer, the philanthropic endeavors of my businesses and by using my voice to effect positive change at each level of democracy in the state.

I will be taking the next few months to plan my next steps, and I look forward to announcing in the not too distant future where I will be headed next.

Thank you for supporting me in any way that you may have done, and I will continue to work on your behalf in any way that I can. Keep your eyes to the horizon and know that I will. 

Daniel J. Szczesny

Brookfield

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