BATAVIA – In her first bid for public office, Maura Hirschauer of Batavia is mounting a campaign for the Illinois House of Representatives.
Hirschauer is running for the Democratic nomination to succeed state Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago.
Villa, who is endorsing Hirschauer, recently declared her own candidacy for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, who in turn is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville.
Hirschauer launched her campaign on Oct. 6 in front of about 80 supporters during a rally at the Peg Bond Center along the Batavia Riverwalk.
This sets up a contested Democratic race for the 49th District seat in the March 17, 2020 primary election between Hirschauer and Christopher Sparks of North Aurora.
Sparks is an attorney with the Kane County Public Defender’s Office and a member of the West Aurora School Board.
Hirschauer is presenting herself as a volunteer and community activist who will focus on education, health care and gun violence while looking out for middle class taxpayers.
“My promise is I will always listen with compassion and act with conviction,” Hirschauer told her supporters.
Hirschauer is the president of the Batavia Mothers’ Club Foundation and a founding member of Kane-Kendall chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
On Sept. 26, Hirschauer accompanied her 10-year-old daughter to Washington, D.C. at the invitation of Underwood, who was hosting a press conference on gun violence at the U.S. Capitol.
Maggie Hirschauer, a fifth-grader at J.B. Nelson School, had attracted Underwood’s attention after describing active-shooter drills at her school in a letter to state lawmakers.
“As I watched her, I was struck by the thought that she and her amazing brave peers will change the world,” Hirschauer said at her campaign rally.
“I believe that common sense gun legislation is critical to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe,” Hirschauer said, “while allowing for responsible gun ownership.”
Hirschauer was an elementary school teacher in California before her husband’s work as a physicist brought him to Batavia’s Fermilab. The couple has three children in Batavia Public Schools.
“I will fight for continued investment in high-quality schooling from early childhood through high school,” Hirschauer said. “And I will strive to make higher education affordable for all.”
Hirschauer called health care coverage “a human right” and described herself as a fiscally responsible candidate who would work to lower property taxes.
Sounding similar themes on education and health care is Sparks, Hirschauer’s Democratic primary opponent.
Sparks has been a public defender with Kane County for nine years and was elected to the West Aurora School Board in 2017.
In an interview, Sparks said the state makes budgeting difficult for school districts.
“The budget process is frustrating and destabilizing when we don’t know what funding we are going to receive from the state,” Sparks said.
In his role as a public defender, Sparks said he consistently encounters situations where lack of health insurance is at the root of the problem.
“A lot of my clients’ behavior is due to a mental health issue,” Sparks said, “but they went off their medication because they couldn’t afford it.”
Meanwhile, North Aurora Village Trustee Laura Curtis is running for the Republican nomination for the 49th District seat. She could not immediately be reached for comment.
The 49th District includes portions of Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, West Chicago and South Elgin.