For Frankfort resident Gayla Smith, it was time to do more.
A week after Smith, a 53-year-old Republican, heard that State Rep. Renée Kosel would not seek another term in the Illinois House of Representatives, she decided to run for the seat. She officially announced her candidacy Thursday, Oct. 24.
"I'm so frustrated with the financial state of Illinois," she said. "At some point, you have to try. At some point, you just have to do more. I feel like I have to do this for my community, my children and my state."
While Smith said she has worked for various organizations, this will be her first attempt at public office. She said her time working in the business world will offer a unique perspective, though, allowing her to connect with the average voter.
"I'm not a political insider," she said. "I've worked in business management for 20 years in the private sector. I've worked side-by-side with business owners who are the real people who have to deal with the day-to-day consequences of decisions made in Springfield."
She said Illinois politicians have to create a more attractive business climate to attract new businesses to Illinois and keep the ones the state currently has. She said Springfield is currently "driving business out" and "creating road blocks to economic growth."
Smith said it is important to "maintain a strong conservative voice to represent the 37th District."
"It's important, when funding does come available, that the 37th District becomes a priority to invest in roads and infrastructure," she said, citing the "incredible growth" in the district in the last decade.
The 37th House District includes all or portions of Homer Glen, Lockport, Frankfort, Mokena, Orland Park, Tinley Park and New Lenox.
To continue reading and view more photos, login or sign up for Hometown Advantage: