UI junior running for state representative

By Paolo Cisneros

Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, has represented the 103rd district in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2002.

Like all elected officials, running for reelection is a fact of life for her. But this year, Jakobsson has been thrown a curveball.

This time around, her opposition is 20-year-old University student Frank Calabrese.

Calabrese, junior in LAS, announced his candidacy Tuesday and said he is running to represent the University in Springfield.

“This district is heavily dominated by the University,” he said. “Literally almost half the population of the 103rd are U of I students.”

He referred to the district as “the University district” and said the participation of his peers will play a large role in determining whether he wins the seat.

“If anything, me being a student just ties the University more into the district,” he said. “Students can basically decide the outcome of this election.”

On her part, Jakobsson said that, although she does not know much about Calabrese, she is not overly concerned by his candidacy.

“He has a right to run,” she said. “He’s certainly a young man, and that’s really all I know about him.”

Jakobsson said her focus in the coming months will be on her work in Springfield rather than her unconventional competitor. However, she questioned whether Calabrese, who has lived in the district for less than three years, knows enough about its population to accurately represent it in the capital.

“I don’t think the Republican Party would have nominated me if they didn’t think I had a strong connection with the local community,” Calabrese said. “I’m in this to win.”