Michael Kasper and Kerry Lester
Former Daily Herald politics reporter Kerry Lester married Michael Kasper, former top aide and longtime lawyer to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), in mid-December at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago.
Officiating the wedding was former state Rep. George Scully (D-Flossmoor), a Madigan loyalist who was appointed as a Cook County judge in 2009.
Lester, 35, told North Cook News in mid-November that she was leaving the Herald when questioned about her impartiality after sources revealed that she was dating Kasper.
Kasper has a long history with Illinois politics and Madigan. The Chicago Tribune described Kasper, 53, as a "henchman" who is "doing Michael Madigan's dirty work" in a 2014 editorial that chronicled his lawsuit to stop a statewide ballot initiative. It would have taken the job of drawing legislative district maps out of Madigan's control.
For her part, Lester recently joined approximately 150 others in signing a letter alleging “rampant sexual harassment within the system of state politics."
In an NPR Illinois story, Lester complained of "come on requests by campaign managers" to interviewer Rachel Otwell and claimed she has been harassed herself.
In the interview, Lester cited legislation introduced by Madigan that she said would address Springfield's sexual harassment problem.
She also noted that, for nearly three years, there has been no legislative inspector general in place to investigate sexual harassment complaints. She did not mention that it’s Madigan’s responsibility to fill the position.
Lester voted in Arlington Heights in the 2016 Democrat primary.
Except for a two-year stint as Associated Press bureau chief in Springfield, Lester worked at the Daily Herald since she started as an editorial assistant in 2006.