Voters in the 18th District may benefit from more information about the candidates. As his father, I can describe attitudes and skills that have been evident for most of Eamon Kelly’s 30 years.
Eamon’s is persistent. As Student Council President, Eamon championed “Home Base,” an expanded home room bringing diverse student groups together. Despite resistance, Eamon persuaded ETHS students and faculty to accept this educational enhancement even though it lengthened the school day. Even Eamon’s most vocal critic, his younger brother, became a fan. This innovation lasted over a decade and still is mentioned favorably by former students and parents.
Eamon listens attentively. He also sees the big picture and understands nuance. This combination produces creative win/win solutions that appeal to others because they are rooted in reality. For example, Eamon successfully pursued rights for graduate student instructors while serving as student elected trustee on the University of Illinois board of trustees.
Eamon is optimistic, personable and inclusive. An Eagle Scout, Eamon was camp counselor for many scouts in the Potawatomi District (boundaries similar to the 18th district). Several parents reported their sons made personal breakthroughs because Eamon gave them confidence. Of particular note, one parent expressed his thanks and admiration that Eamon devised ways for his disabled son to succeed at camp.
In a toxic political environment, Eamon’s civility and ability to constructively engage others is in rare supply. As Illinois Youth Governor Eamon was elected and gained passage of resolutions on contentious subjects such as gun control with downstate support. Eamon still serves on the adult board of YMCA State Youth in Government.
Eamon knows what works and what doesn’t. As a non partisan appointee, Eamon had a ringside seat as two Governors failed the people of Illinois. Later, as Chief of Staff of the Board of Education, he built and managed statewide programs and budgets, the only candidate in the race who has done so.
Eamon has a technical grasp of difficult budget issues. For example, he understands the inefficiency and inadequacy of defined contribution pension solutions. He understands that asset transfers to professionally managed, IRS supervised, tax exempt and irrevocable retirement trusts may relieve the immediate burdens of the new GASB accounting rules that are at the core of the current nationwide public financing crisis.
Having mortgaged the next generation’s future through unfunded pension promises, it is time for my generation to step aside. My son’s generation must pay our debts. It is time we gave them a say in how to solve this problem.
To restore confidence, to foster civility and to tackle our most difficult fiscal challenges, I encourage you to vote for Eamon.
Peter M. Kelly