by Robert Hadley, Will County Gazette
Amid reports that House Speaker Michael Madigan’s $2 million in campaign gifts to Democrats was partly funded by a large public-sector union, Republican House candidate Alyssia Benford said such gifts compromise the recipient’s loyalties.
“We can’t trust candidates and legislators that take money from Madigan to stand up for regular families and taxpayers,” Benford told the Will County Gazette.
Benford, who is running for a 98th District House seat, said Madigan has heavily funded her opponent, Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet).
“This election cycle, (Madigan) gave her close to $700,000,” Benford said. “She is among the top 10 state representatives receiving funds from him.”
Benford pointed out that the Democrat Party had asked her to run in 2012, but she decided to run as a Republican, allowing her “to remain an independent voice” supported by voters in both parties.
“So if they considered me a viable candidate in 2012, then why would they need $700,000 to try and keep me from running now?” she said. “I (couldn’t) be independent if I had relied on Madigan’s money to get me elected in 2012.”
Much of the Madigan money seems to be paying for “lies and slanderous emails” about their Republican opposition, she said.
“My opponent should be able to run off her record if she had stood up for families and taxpayers,” Benford said.
Benford is running against Manley in November’s general election. District 98 includes the communities of Crest Hill, Du Page, Joliet, Lockport, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.
by W.J. Kennedy, Will County Gazette
Dickson “Kwasi” Amoah Jr. never received a response from State Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joilet) or Secretary of State Jesse White over a robocall he received on Aug. 25 from White endorsing Manley over her challenger in the 98th District: DuPage Township Trustee Alyssia Benford.
“White accused Benford of lying about her record,” the Romeoville resident told the Will County Gazette. “I was upset about it, because I sat down with Benford about a month before. It was refreshing because she never bashed Manley. Just talked about where she stands on the issues. So I wanted some specifics about what Benford was lying about. I called. I emailed. They never got back to me.”
Amoah said that on Sept. 4, he saw Manley at a political event at Starbucks in Bolingbrook. He again asked for specifics behind the allegations in the robocall.
“Manley did not give me a straight answer,” he said. “She told me she didn’t want to get into it.”
Benford has fallen victim to a classic smear campaign orchestrated by the political machine in Springfield. In addition to the robocalls, fictional, near scandalous political mailers from Manley targeting Benford are coming out as well.
Last week, one mailer accused Benford of “opposing funding [for] thousands of rape kits needed to put rapists behind bars.”
“It’s a complete fabrication,” Benford said. “I never held an office where I was responsible for rape kit funding.”
“As a former victim of sexual assault, I am especially offended (by the mailers),” she continued. “One day my daughters asked me why I was so over protective of them when they were growing up. It was because of what I experienced as a child at the hands of family members and those that my mother trusted.”
Benford, a certified public accountant (CPA), is also enduring attacks for trying to clean up a fiscal mess in DuPage Township.
On Tuesday, the Edgar County Watchdogs published an accounting of the latest campaign to malign Benford as a candidate and CPA.
For his part, Amoah said that he’s fed up with Democratic Party leaders presuming African-American voters are a rubber stamp for the party.
“Before the 2016 elections I just voted Democratic,” he said. “But that election really opened my eyes. Now I’m a free agent. For me, now it’s more about the candidates and not the party. So when I heard that robocall about Benford I wanted to know specifics. I’m a voter. Tell me what’s going on. But no one ever did.”
by Robert Hadley, Will County Gazette
Alyssia Benford, the Republican candidate for the 98th House District, has called out her Democratic opponent for allegedly spreading misinformation about her in a robocall to voters.
“My opponent Natalie Manley can’t defend her voting record, so she resorts to lies and recruits others to lie as well,” Benford said in a video posted to Facebook.
The call features Secretary of State Jesse White calling Benford “just another Trump-loving Republican” who lies about her record, Benford said.
Benford has maintained a reputation of honesty and integrity throughout her 23 years as a certified public accountant, “unlike my opponent, who has falsely credited herself with an inflated number of years as a licensed CPA, perhaps to match my credentials,” she said.
Benford is running against Rep. Natalie A. Manley (D-Joliet) in November’s general election.
In challenging what she characterized as false perceptions of her record, Benford reminded viewers that she is aware of the expectation of honesty and integrity voters have for their elected officials.
“I am adamant about being a true public servant serving in the best interest of those in the 98th district,” she said. “My campaign is primarily focusing on the pressing issues that we have in our state, which (are) property taxes, pension reform, employment opportunities, and education funding.”
The 98th House District includes the cities of Crest Hill and Joliet, as well as the townships of DuPage, Joliet, Lockport, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.
by Carrie Bradon, Will County Gazette
Alyssia Benford, a Republican candidate for the 98th House District, is speaking out after she was misrepresented in a robocall from Secretary of State Jesse White that endorsed her opponent, incumbent Natalie Manley (D-Joilet).
“Jesse White’s actions of calling me ‘a liar and Trump-loving Republican’ is a divisive statement,” Benford told the Will County Gazette. “While I was shocked by the call, I was not surprised. I knew the Democrat playbook is to tie all Republicans to President Trump. But the truth is, President Trump didn’t create the financial mess in Illinois.”
Benford explained that she reached out to White’s team to request a discussion about the statements presented about her and clear up any confusion about her platform.
“Open and honest dialogue is the only way we can cure racial hatred and end the divisive Illinois politics,” Benford said. “She [Manley] received her CPA license in 2010, yet she continues to tell voters she has been licensed for over 20 years. My opponent had not finished college 20 years ago, but she has no issue with lying to voters, or senior citizens in the community. That should concern residents of the 98th District.”
Benford believes that she should be seen for what she truly is: a qualified candidate.
“For far too long, we as African Americans have allowed others to choose who our leaders are,” Benford said. “I am the more qualified candidate, with 20-plus years as a licensed CPA. I also have an array of experience studying pensions, property taxes and education funding.”
Benford’s election to the 98th House District would invite a certain level of diversity, which will only help to encourage more acceptance, regardless of race.
“Having a diverse Republican Party is a positive thing for our state and for our country. Nothing positive has ever come from segregation,” Benford said. “I am asking the voters of the 98th district to vote for changing Illinois politics by voting [for] the more qualified candidate, which is me.”
Though Benford’s opponent has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Benford possesses something that Manley does not.
“I have the courage to speak out against anyone that purposely lies to voters to get their vote, including Jesse White and my opponent,” Benford said. “This November, everyone has a choice in the 98th District. All voters should choose based on the candidate that will best represent the district.”
The 98th District covers portions of Bolingbrook, Joliet and Crest Hill.
by Robert Hadley, WIll County Gazette
Alyssia Benford, 98th District candidate for the Illinois House, served as a speaker during a recent Illinois PAC conference.
During the event, Benford met U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a potential replacement for outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Also attending the conference were state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) and 49th District state Rep. Candidate Tonia Khouri.
“The ICU/ILPAC conference focused on activist candidates and legislators being informed, becoming politically active and forming new networks with people from all over Illinois,” Benford said in a Sept. 16 Facebook post.
Benford said earlier this month that her campaign will participate in a paid intern/volunteer program until the election on Nov. 6.
“We have such momentum right now that we have been approved for a PAID intern/volunteer program for the remainder of the election cycle,” she wrote Sept. 10 on Facebook. “If you know any college or high school students who are interested in learning first-hand how to defeat Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrat machine, they should call Ben right away at 815-793-3636!”
Benford is running against incumbent state Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet).
The 98th District includes the cities of Crest Hill and Joliet, as well as the townships of DuPage, Joliet, Lockport, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.