Jackie Haas

Rep. Jackie Haas

The Illinois House of Representatives District 79 race concluded with Republican Jackie Haas, from Bourbonnais, beating out Democratic candidate Charlene Eads, from Bradley.

The pair were vying to fill the House seat which was held by Republican State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, who was seeking a judgeship within the Kankakee County Circuit Court.

Haas is a current Kankakee County Board member and has served as president and CEO of the Helen Wheeler Center for Community Mental Health since 2000.

While viewing election results Tuesday evening with a group of Republican candidates, family and friends at Oliver’s Bar & Grill in Bradley, Haas said she attributed her lead in the polls to her longevity in the community.

“I’m a lifelong resident, and my 30-year career in the community speaks a lot,” she said. “I’m honored and humbled by what voters have said in the polls.”

With all precincts reporting Tuesday evening, Haas received 24,396 votes (62.76 percent) out of 38,870 total votes in Kankakee County, where the bulk of the district is. Eads received 14,474 votes (37.24 percent) in Kankakee County.

Haas also came out ahead with sizable leads in both Will and Grundy counties.

Haas said she will focus on making sure businesses have assistance to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown and keeping the impact of taxes in check.

“We need to ensure economic stability for businesses in the community,” she said.

Another important cause she is devoted to is ensuring health care and mental health services are accessible, she said.

“I thank the voters for their confidence,” she said. “I will continue to be a strong advocate for our community.”

Eads, a social worker at Shapiro Center for the past 17 years, said Tuesday that although she lost the election, she was satisfied that she gave the race her best.

“I will continue to serve people, be a community activist and hopefully run again in the future,” Eads said.


Stephanie Markham joined the Daily Journal in February 2020 as the education reporter. She focuses on school boards as well as happenings and trends in local schools. She earned her B.A. in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.