Simon armed with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, lucky charm

25 Oct

Sheila Simon—wearing her "lucky charm"—speaks to a DePaul University journalism class about her campaign as Lt. Governor of Illinois on Monday, October 18, 2010. (Photo by Kevin Sherman)

By Megan Ashley

They say everybody’s got a good luck charm and Sheila Simon, the Democratic candidate for Illinois Lt. Governor, wore hers around her neck when she spoke to students at DePaul University.

Two boys presented Simon with a colorful beaded necklace at a recent Oak Park farmers market, hoping it would bring her luck on the campaign trail. Admitting that she doesn’t care much for fashion, Simon was proud to talk of her mismatched handmade gift while on campus.

And with less than two weeks before the gubernatorial election, Simon and her running mate, Gov. Pat Quinn, appear to need all the luck they can get.

Simon acknowledged the race is a “dead heat out there,” and polls reflect that sentiment. The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Republican candidate Bill Brady eight points ahead of Quinn, with a four point margin of error.

Voting turnout can often be a problem in non-Presidential years and Simon says that the younger vote is of great concern to her campaign. She’s got a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Flickr account—though admittedly she does not update them herself.

Simon said she has visited all 102 counties in Illinois. Hailing from southern Illinois, she understands that some Illinoisans feel overshadowed by Chicago during elections.

Aside from campaigning, the office of lieutenant governor typically does not have a prominent place in Illinois government. One former lieutenant governor resigned during his second term out of boredom.

So how does Simon plan to make her office more prominent and useful if elected?

She intends to be the point person on education reform and review the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. In addition, Simon says that she hopes to use her office to help citizens better understand their levels of government and the political issues at hand.

“I want to reach out and educate folks about the most challenging issues,” she said. “We’d be better served if we had more people in on the discussion.”

Simon is a professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law and a mother of two. She has worked on the Illinois Reform Commission and was once an assistant state’s attorney for Jackson County.

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