Illinois 55th State House District Candidate Marilyn Smolenski with her family.
Park Ridge Republican Marilyn Smolenski plans to unseat incumbent state Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) in this year's general election for House District 55, but says she's also taking on Illinois' powerful and longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
"My opponent has been a vocal supporter of Madigan and voted for him as speaker," Smolenski, a small business owner and Republican Women of Park Ridge board member, said during a recent North Cook News interview. "We need principled legislators who are willing to speak up and support term limits."
Madigan, the 22nd House District representative who was first elected to that chamber in 1970, is running for yet another term, though it can be difficult to tell. The longest-serving legislative leader -- state or federal -- in U.S. history, Madigan has been Illinois House speaker for all but two years since 1983. Madigan ran unopposed during the Democrat primary in March and he has no Republican opposition in November.
Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines)
The 22nd District is in the southwest side of Chicago, and the 55th District includes Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights and Chicago's Northwest Side.
Smolenski, running on the campaign slogan "Fighting for Our Families and Homes," has made promises in her race that to do with how she'll deal with Madigan after she defeats Moylan. "I am running to represent you," Smolenski posted on her campaign's Facebook page April 27.
"The status quo in Springfield isn't benefiting our families. If elected as State Representative, I will stand up to Madigan and hold him accountable for his failed leadership. Not surprisingly, my opponent, Marty Moylan, fell in line once again to vote for Madigan as Speaker."
Madigan isn't likely to be ousted anytime soon because House Democrats like Moylan certainly know which side their bread is buttered on, said Smolenski, owner of Nickel and Lace, a women's concealed body wear holster brand.
"Many Democrats in the General Assembly owe their positions to Madigan and therefore do not want to vote against someone so powerful," she said.
"We need change because the Springfield status quo obviously isn't working for the people of Illinois."
Smolenski, who announced her candidacy in September, is making her first bid for public office. She told the Chicago Tribune that she felt motivated to run because Moylan otherwise would have been unopposed.
"I felt people in our district really deserved to have representation," she said in that interview.
Moylan, first elected to the House in 2012, was mayor of Des Plains and worked as an electrical inspector and deputy director of the city's building department. He is a member of the Cities & Villages, Intermodal Infrastructure, Tollway Oversight, Veterans' Affairs, Youth & Young Adults, and Transportation committees.
Moylan and Smolenski both ran unopposed in their respective primary elections in March.