Adrienne Irmer’s path to the Illinois House was made clearer with the recent announcement that the incumbent in her home district, State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, would not seek re-election. Now, Irmer plans to make the most of the opportunity by going “all in” for the 25th.
“It was an opportune time when [Currie] announced her retirement and I was just saying, ‘hey, if not now, then when?’ so I just took that leap of faith,” said Irmer, who has already stepped down from her job with Cook County to run her campaign full-time. “I spent 15 years in service and this is the next step for me, and to scale that up and to really dig in on the issues. I love my community so radically that I would quit my job to be able to do this, to be able to take this step, so I went all in for my community and I hope my community goes all in for me.”
Although Irmer’s decision to run during this election cycle was not decided by Currie’s announcement, it certainly made an impact, she said. Irmer said she’s always considered running for state office due to what she described as “more nuanced and interesting” policies.
Irmer’s brand of politics is reflected on Irmer’s campaign website with the slogan, “Inform | Reform | Transform.” She told the Defender its meaning by stating, “I look at policy in three buckets: if it’s not informing the people, reforming government, or transforming lives, then it’s a policy I don’t think should have priority on the house floor.”
Irmer said state government must shoulder more responsibility in serving its community when involving issues that would ordinarily receive assistance from the federal government given the presence of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. An issue of great concern to her is in the public health arena, particularly with air and water quality. She stated the southern portion of the 25th district (which extends a bit past Chicago’s 117th St.) is dealing with “petcoke and manganese” issues.
“We’re going to have to make sure that our air quality monitors are being monitored and that’s something that the federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) won’t be doing so we’re going to need to beef up our funding to the Illinois EPA as well as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in order to make sure that our air is of a good standard,” said Irmer.
Disparity over the allocation of resources throughout Illinois is an issue for Irmer, too.
“I’ve seen firsthand what disparity has done to our communities and I want to be someone in Springfield fighting to make sure that our communities are getting what they need in funding… so we’re creating opportunities for the residents, not just of the 25th district but the residents of Illinois,” said Irmer.
Based on Irmer’s background, she is no stranger to the 25th district. She said she grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood where she attended Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., and currently resides in the South Shore neighborhood located on the southern end of the district.
Irmer’s run for the 25th district in many respects represents the demographics of the district, she said. She explained that the district is 51 percent African American and 55 percent women. Additionally, she recognized the importance that comes along with women holding elected offices throughout the state.
“I am very excited to be taking this journey to be able to represent people in Illinois and amplify the voices that haven’t been heard strongly enough or loudly enough,” said Irmer.
The Chicago native characterized the lakefront bordering the 25th district as “the last bit of lakefront that is as diverse as it is”. She said the district has garnered greater attention due to the incoming Obama Presidential Library and the potential for a new golf course. She said she is “thrilled” President Obama picked the South Side for his library.
“There is a community with a very rich fabric and I want to make sure that with all of this attention that is focused in this district that the people who have been there for generations aren’t pushed out,” said Irmer. “I want to see us be intentional with the way we produce economic development in the southern end of the district and it’s incredibly critical we have someone that fundamentally understands the capital planning process, economic development, workforce development, and how all that interplays when you’re injecting major tourist attractions into a district or neighborhood.”
The South Shore resident said “intentional conversations” need to take place. She wanted to see investment in local commercial corridors so that businesses may be started by local residents, summer activities for children and young adults, and more.
“We need to build consensus by bringing everyone to the table on the positive impacts on what the presidential center will bring,” said Irmer.
For more information about Irmer’s campaign, visit http://allinforadrienne.com/.