With his wife, Lakshmi Kelly, (left), former State Senator Carol Ronen(second from right) and Brandon Neese (right).

Patrick Keenan-Devlin and Eamon Kelly – both relative “youngsters” in the political area, have announced their candidacy for the Illinois 18th District legislative seat now held by Julie Hamos. Ms. Hamos is running for Congress in the 10th District. (See story below).

Patrick Keenan-Devlin

In announcing his candidacy, Mr. Keenan-Devlin said, “I am committed to charting a different course for Illinois, a new way that is effective, ethical and equitable for the 18th District and all our citizens.

“I’ll champion real solutions. I’m not afraid to challenge what’s broken in Springfield, and I have the hands-on experience it takes to get things done.”

Mr. Kennan-Devlin has served as health policy advocate at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. He then became legislative director at Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization.

Mr. Keenan-Devlin says he believes his combination of “hands-on experience, passionate commitment to progressive values, and strong ties to the community has already earned him broad support.”  

He says he is “so proud to live in a state represented by Dick Durbin. Someone needs to bring Sen. Durbin’s [campaign] reform to Springfield.” In addition to campaign reform, Mr. Keenan Devlin sees increasing the income tax and restructuring funding for education as pressing issues. “We have a constitutional obligation to fund half of our education costs,” he said.

Mr. Keenan-Devlin said he remained in Evanston after his graduation from Northwestern University, because, “I fell in love with the community, with its values and progressiveness. I put down roots here.”

In the days to come, Mr. Keenan-Devlin says he will travel precinct-by-precinct through the 18th District to ask residents to help him chart a new way for Illinois.  For more information about his campaign visit www.patrickforIllinois.com. 

Eamon Kelly

Mr. Kelly announced his candidacy for the same 18th district house seat on July 18 at BooCoo Cultural Center, 1823 Church St. He said he wants to bring a new generation of progressive leadership to a political system in Illinois that, he says, is mired in gamesmanship and infighting.

“To be able to represent the communities where I grew up, went to school and have now started a family of my own is a very thrilling prospect. Our community needs strong progressive leadership now more than ever. Springfield is a mess right now. … We have the same crises we had four years ago. We’re living through [the movie] ‘Ground Hog Day.’”
He added, “Our state budget is in shambles. We are borrowing to fund a deficit and not paying for what people need. … I look forward to going down to Springfield to fight for a long-term budget fix that puts people before politics and demands greater transparency and accountability from our state.”

Mr. Kelly said he and his wife, Lakshmi, “talked about it and said, ‘This is a crazy time to go to Springfield. This is a good time to go to Springfield.” He also said that when he spoke to some Evanston Township High School students, “They asked me, ‘What are you going to do to make a change?’ I asked them, ‘What are we going to do to make a change?’”  

Evanston attorney and activist Jeff Smith has also announced his candidacy for the 19th District legislative seat. In addition, retired Sixth Ward alderman Edmund Moran Jr. has said he is considering a run for the seat.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...