Jakobsson announces intent to run for re-election

By Tatyana Safronova

Naomi Jakobsson (D-103) announced her intention to run for re-election in November 2006 for state representative Tuesday afternoon at the Illini Union in front of a crowd of University students, fellow Democrats, observers and her family.

Vernon Burton, professor of history at the University, introduced state Rep. Jakobsson saying her commitment to the University shows that it is “critical that she continue to represent” the institution in the House of Representatives in Springfield.

Jakobsson thanked her supporters and said Champaign-Urbana is “truly a great place to live.” She called the University a “crown jewel” and said it is her top priority. For the last two years, she said she has been fighting against cutting the University’s budget.

“I worked very hard making it very clear to the leadership and to the governor that it would just not be the right thing to do,” she said.

Jakobsson said she is concerned with improving health care in Illinois. She said she helped pass the “All Kids” program in the House last November, which made Illinois the first state in the nation to “guarantee coverage for every child,” according to a biography submitted by Jakobsson’s office.

Jakobsson also expressed her concern for the environment.

“The environment is something that has always been important to me, and we need to make sure that what we have … we will protect and make sure that it’s here for our children and our grandchildren,” she said.

Though she did not talk about specific environmental legislation, Jakobsson said she is working on legislation in various areas that include education, seniors, consumer protection and the environment.

Catherine Hogue, member of the Champaign County Board, served on Jakobsson’s African-American Advisory before she was elected as a board member. She said Jakobsson constantly asks about the board.

“I know I can call her anytime,” she said. “I think we should have more people in politics that can do that.”

David Dring, press secretary for the Illinois House Republican Organization, said the Republican Party has not announced a candidate yet. He said the local Republicans will focus on fiscal accountability in the November 2006 election. Dring said Jakobsson is pushing jobs out of Central Illinois by increasing fees for businesses. He blamed the Democrats for decreasing the pension funds of state and University employees by drawing $1.2 billion from the funds to balance the budget.

Jakobsson is running for her third two-year term in the district, which includes all of Urbana, most of Champaign and a part of Savoy, according to a press release. She was first elected in 2002.

Caroline Kearns, Jakobsson’s legislative assistant in her Champaign office, said the representative served for 12 years as Champaign County Recorder, interim director of a domestic violence shelter in Urbana and the executive director of the University YWCA.