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Three vie for Meeks’ seat in 15th Senate District

DonnMiller

Donna Miller

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Donna Miller

Occupation: Regional sales trainer

Town: Lynwood

Family: Husband, David Miller. An 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old son

Religion: Christian

Political party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Why I want the job: “I’m accustomed to developing and training people. That’s a skill needed in Springfield.”

Top donors: Miller donated $25,000 to her campaign. The Political Action Committee of the Illinois State Dental Society donated $10,000. The UFCW Local 881 Political Action Committee donated $2,500. Equality Illinois PAC donated $2,000.

Napoleon
Harris

Occupation: Owns two
Beggar’s Pizza locations

Town: Flossmoor

Family: Wife, Nicole Harris. A 4-year-old son

Religion: Christian

Political party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Why I want the job: “I was born and raised in this district so it means a lot for me to come to this area and be a vehicle for change in the standpoint of creating jobs. No other candidate can say they created jobs. I can.”

Top donors: Harris donated $140,000 to his campaign. MG Adams Management donated $4,000.

Patricia
Mahon

Occupation: South Holland deputy village administrator

Town: South Holland

Family: Husband, Patrick Winston

Religion: Christian

Political party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Why I want the job: “I honestly feel like I can make a difference in Springfield. With the state being in the position it’s in, it needs fresh blood and new ideas and people with practical and proven experience. That’s what I have in the government.”

Top donors: Select Merchant Service donated $10,000 to her campaign. Ashlaur Construction Company donated $9,750.

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Updated: April 10, 2012 9:53AM



Napoleon Harris spent seven seasons as an NFL linebacker. Now the political newcomer is trying to dominate opponents on a different sort of field — a political one.

His two opponents — Patricia Mahon, of South Holland, and Donna Miller, of Lynwood ­— are doing their best to keep him from winning the March 20 primary election to become the Democratic nominee for Illinois’ 15th District Senate seat. The seat is open because state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) is not seeking re-election.

The redrawn 15th District now covers Chicago’s 9th Ward, Harvey, Homewood, Dixmoor, Riverdale and South Holland as well as portions of Crete, Monee and University Park.

Harris grew up in Dixmoor and played football at Thornton High School. He got a scholarship at Northwestern University, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2001.

Oakland drafted him in the first round that year and he played for the Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs before retiring in 2009. Harris, who owns Beggars Pizza restaurants in Orland Park and Harvey, said he hopes to bring his business acumen to the office to help grow jobs in the Southland.

“I’m creating a model of myself in small business,” he said. “Everyone knows small business is the driving force of any local economy. If we can be competitive in a national economy, we have to start locally.”

Miller, who was born and raised in Chicago, works as a regional sales trainer at Kindred Hospital Center. Her husband is former state Rep. David Miller, a dentist who served in the House from 2000 to 2010.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in Washington D.C., where she once worked as a congressional intern.

If elected, Miller said she wants to use her experience in the health care industry to close health care disparities in her district. She also wants to take the lead in helping administer the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

“You need someone to be in Springfield to fight for those issues, especially in 15th District where we have a wide net of people from middle class or underserved areas,” Miller said.

Mahon has worked for South Holland for the past 10 years, starting as director of communications before taking her current job as deputy village administrator. Mahon has a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and a law degree from DePaul University. Mahon said her experience working in government would help her become a successful state senator.

“I know what it’s like to balance a municipal budget every year,” Mahon said. “I know what it’s like to do more with less because of the situation with the economy and the tax dollars we have lost like everyone else.”



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