Local elections deserve attention

Tiffany Kajiwara, Managing Editor

Plastered across every news source in the country, the general election has been dominating the media with controversial speeches and surfacing scandals. However, smaller scale elections, such as the race for Congress, are hardly recognized by both the media and the people. A few people may recognize the names Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth, but even less know what they stand for.

This year, Republican Kirk is hoping to be re-elected as Illinois Senator. He has both a law degree and a masters in economics. Kirk served as a Navy intelligence officer for 24 years before retiring in 2013. He was elected to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. After having a stroke, he took a year off to recover before eventually coming back to office and climbing the 45 steps of the Capitol Building. As far as his stances, Kirk is pro-choice, supports keeping religious references in the Pledge, and opposes increased federal funding for health coverage.

Democrat Tammy Duckworth, with a Masters of Arts and PHD in human services, is also running for the Senate. She, on the other hand, served in Iraq where she lost both of her legs. She returned to the United States and became the head of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs. She became Assistant Secretary in the national Department of Veteran Affairs. Running for senate, Duckworth is also pro-choice, but she wants to keep religion out of public spheres and expand ObamaCare.

Very few high schoolers and adults alike even know their names.

Junior Ashley Szull, when asked about her opinions about Illinois’s perspective Senators, said, “I don’t even know who’s running. What are their names again?”

Senior Raymond Solorzano raised a valid point regarding media coverage of the candidates. When searching the name Hillary Clinton in the Chicago Sun Times website, there were approximately 11,000 results. For Kirk, there were about 2,500 results. Similarly, Trump had 8,000 results while Duckworth had about 1,000.

This is a newspaper based in Chicago where Illinois’ senators should be a pressing issue. It’s understandable for perhaps a New York Times paper to have such a large coverage gap, but Illinoisans also seem to have little interest in local politics.

To be fair, the enormous coverage gap is not entirely the news’ fault.

AP US History teacher Stephanie Kezios said, “We’re not dealing with millionaires, at least in most cases, so you don’t see their faces advertised as much as, for example, Trump or Clinton. Because of that, the general population honestly doesn’t know as much about the local elections.”

Some people feel local elections hold less significance than the presidential election.

Despite this, Kezios says, “They have more significance on our daily lives because the representatives who win will be passing legislation that directly affects our daily routines , as constituents of a certain district. ”