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Zalewski defends record in re-election battle

By Steve Metsch

Taking a break from the campaign trail – talking on a cellphone as he walked door to door – State Rep. Michael J. Zalewski (D-21st) said the choice facing Democratic voters on June 28 is simple.

“I’ve said consistently that it’s the choice for voters between a record and a promise,” Zalewski said.

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Zalewski

The district is mostly suburban, but includes the northwest corner of Garfield Ridge.

Zalewski is challenged by Abdelnasser Rashid, with the winner expected to win the November general election in the staunchly Democratic district.

“I have a 12-year record of accomplishment, lowering taxes, protecting a woman’s right to choose, increasing access to affordable health care,” Zalewski said.

“Rashid has promised to be a politician now for three separate cycles and he hasn’t been successful,” Zalewski said.

Several attempts to contact Rashid for comments were not successful.

On his website, Rashid vows that if elected he will “prioritize the interests of working families, not corporate special interests.”

Rashid promises to “root out corruption, fund public education, and work to fix the broken property tax system that punishes working families while giving huge corporations major tax cuts.”

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Rashid

While meeting voters, Zalewski said “inflation, cost of living, (and) property taxes” are the big concerns.

“They very much want to see what the state is going to do to lower their property taxes, lower their grocery tax and gas tax,” Zalewski said.

“I’ve got a good record to stand on by helping craft a budget this year that will lower taxes. They’ve been very receptive to that message.”

Gun control “is emerging as a major issue,” he said. Zalewski is endorsed by the Gun Violence Prevention Action PAC.

“I will stand with my colleagues to fight the NRA and protect our schools by enacting common sense gun control,” he said.

“I sponsored a high-capacity magazine ban. I voted against the override of Gov. Quinn’s veto of a conceal carry law because it didn’t have an assault weapons ban.”

He is firmly pro-abortion rights, and he has voted to fully fund Planned Parenthood.

Zalewski is seeking another term because he enjoys what he does in Springfield.

“It’s a sense of accomplishment. I like to work hard and I’ve got a record of providing real world solutions for working families,” he said.

“I’m not just here for a paycheck like some people who want to get elected to the House. I want to do good things for people.”

He credits his father, former 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski, with teaching him about the responsibility elected officials have to the voters.

“My dad is important to me. It’s a shame he’s become a topic of the Rashid campaign. I love him dearly and I’m proud to have him behind me,” Zalewski said.

If elected in November, he vows to focus on gun control and reproductive health, hoping Illinois “is a safe haven for women in the Midwest” if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe vs. Wade.

Zalewski, 43, is married with four children.

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