Property taxes top issue in Kimberly Earling challenge to Sen. Patrick Joyce

Reducing the property tax burden is a top priority for two Democratic candidates in the March 19 primary for the 40th Senate District.

Incumbent Sen. Patrick Joyce, 61, of Essex, is challenged by Kimberly Earling, 48, of Braidwood.

Joyce says property taxes remain the most pressing issue and he advocates for increased state spending for public education in order to lessen the tax burden on property owners.

Earling says making Illinois a more affordable place to live is a priority by addressing property taxes.

She also says a focus for her would be directing resources to combat drug abuse problems.

At a recent candidate forum sponsored by the NAACP, Earling said she has worked in the transportation industry for more than 20 years. She said she also supports term limits for state legislators.

Joyce was appointed in November 2019 to replace Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who Gov. J.B. Pritzker had appointed to oversee the rollout of Illinois’ foray into legalized production and sales of recreational marijuana. Joyce won a full term in 2020.

The power of incumbency is reflected in Joyce’s campaign financial filings, where he showed receipts during the final three months of last year of more than $271,000.

At the end of the quarter he had nearly $412,000 on hand, and since then has garnered contributions of more than $30,000, according to campaign filings.

There were no campaign filings recorded with the Illinois State Board of Elections for Earling.

Joyce is a Democrat whose political lineage includes his father, Jerry, who served 17 years in the state Senate, and retired in 1992. Jerry Joyce’s wife, Janet Joyce, served out the remainder of her husband’s term until January 1993. Jerry Joyce died in June 2019 at age 80.

Phillip Nagel, of Braidwood, is the lone Republican running in the GOP primary.

Nagel ran Republican in 2022, garnering 41% of the vote compared to 59% for Joyce.

The district includes a large portion of Kankakee County and all or parts of suburbs such as Chicago Heights, Crete, Flossmoor, Frankfort, Matteson, Mokena, New Lenox, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, South Chicago Heights, Steger and University Park.

Kankakee County accounts for about 40% of the 40th’s population, while 25% is in Will County; the remainder is in south Cook County and a small portion of Grundy County.