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On Aug.1, Mary Rita Luecke, former president of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board, announced her candidacy for Illinois State Representative, 17th District. The seat is currently held by Rep. Laura Fine, who is running for State Senate. The 17th district includes parts of Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview and Morton Grove.

Ms. Luecke, a resident of Skokie for more than 30 years, is an attorney, who has represented many people with disabilities and currently represents clients in residential real estate transactions. She has taught at DePaul University College of Law for almost 30 years. In addition to serving two terms on the District 65 School Board, she has been active in the Niles Township Democratic Organization. 

Ms. Luecke said in a prepared statement, “As a parent, citizen and taxpayer, I watched with anger and frustration as Bruce Rauner repeatedly blocked efforts to pass a fair and equitable budget. I am thankful that the General Assembly was finally able to override the governor’s veto so that our state universities, public schools, and essential social services could continue to serve the people of Illinois. 

“I want to be a part of a legislature that works together — regardless of party affiliation — to meet the challenges facing Illinois. That is why I am running for state representative.

“My top priority for the district will be to fully and equitably fund our public schools. As a former school board president, I understand that challenges of school finances and the challenges of running a school district. I will use this knowledge and experience to fight for quality public schools for every child in Illinois.”

State Representative Robyn Gabel, who represents the neighboring district, said, “I have known and worked with Mary Rita for many years. She has strong progressive values. As president of the District 65 Board of Education, she worked tirelessly to improve our public schools. Mary Rita Luecke will be an outstanding state representative.”

Ms. Luecke is married to Michael Gelder, a health care consultant, and former director of the Illinois Department on Aging, and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Governor Pat Quinn. They have two adult daughters, Hannah and Moriah.