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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

DeKalb Alderwoman Carolyn Zasada runs for state representative

Carolyn Zasada, DeKalb alderwoman, sits in front of a green background. Zasada has announced she is running for Illinois House of Representatives. (Courtesy of Carolyn Zasada)
Carolyn Zasada, DeKalb alderwoman, sits in front of a green background. Zasada has announced she is running for Illinois’ House of Representatives. (Courtesy of Carolyn Zasada)

DeKALB – First Ward Alderman Carolyn Zasada is joining the race for Illinois’ 76th District representative opposite DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes.

Zasada is in her second term as an alderman. However, this is not her first leadership position.

Before entering politics, Zasada served 11 years as an active duty Marine, including as a combat engineer and linguist in Iraq. While there, Zasada earned a Combat Action Ribbon and Navy Achievement Medal for recognition of her leadership and service.

“I think understanding one of the most fundamental elements of our nation is critical when serving as a state representative,” Zasada said.

Zasada is also the founder of His Kid’s Closet. The non-profit organization collects and redistributes children’s clothes with the help of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

After leaving the Marines, Zasada ran the non-profit and stayed home with her children while her husband returned to school.

“In that opportunity, I got to see what poverty looks like. Both first hand and for others,” Zasada said. “Ours was situational and by choice; but theirs, a lot of times, was generational. That experience gave me deeper empathy for society.”

Zasada is also a real estate broker and says the experience has taught her how people’s homes relate to their welfare.

“I’ve been a strong believer that Americans tend to build wealth in their homes, and the opportunity to own your own home is one part of the American Dream, but it’s also access to equity, financial stability and financial security. That’s something we need to expand to more people,” Zasada said.

Zasada wants to use the model created by the recent economic boom in DeKalb on the State level to lower real estate taxes.

“In DeKalb, we’ve actively pursued these international corporations to come here, broadening the city’s tax bases and allowing the city to reduce the tax burdens on individual homeowners,” Zasada said. “That’s something that can be applied to other cities in the 76th district.”

Zasada said tax reduction and fighting to bring jobs with livable wages to the district would be key focus areas if elected.

“We’ve added a ton of growth around the I-88 corridor, but there’s a whole other portion of this district that hasn’t experienced the same growth, and the opportunity is there,” Zasada said.

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