Local Illinois activist and executive director at the Indo-American Democratic Organization Kevin Olickal Dec. 2 announced he has filed paperwork to officially announce his candidacy in Illinois’ 16th State House District.
Olickal submitted over 1,000 signatures from local residents for his spot for the state House seat in the Illinois General Assembly.
“In this time of political turmoil, we as a community need to be increasingly vigilant about those we choose to represent us at every level,” said the Indian American candidate in a statement.
“When I realized the two candidates already in the race were hand-picked extensions of political machines, I could not stand by and watch idly as our community is stripped of its voice in Springfield,” Olickal added. “My neighbors deserve representation that is accountable only to them, and I am proud to give them that option.”
Previously, the seat was held by former State Rep. Lou Lang for over three decades. Upon retirement, Lang and the other committeemen hand-picked his replacement, which is the current seated state Rep. Yehiel Kalish.
Following his controversial vote to limit women's reproductive freedom by Kalish, Lang and other political power-players are now backing another chosen candidate for the seat, according to a news release.
Olickal believes the time for hand-chosen representation is over, and is hoping to give voters a choice of a true progressive candidate who isn’t beholden to a political machine, it said.
The voters of the 16th district deserve an election, not selections by the few, the press release distributed by Olickal’s team said.
Olickal is a progressive Democrat committed to fighting for middle-class and working families, ensuring that every community has a voice in government.
As a lifelong Skokie resident and son of immigrants, Olickal is dedicated to keeping the district a place where everyone can thrive.
The candidate is an alum of East Prairie School and Niles North High School. After earning a bachelor of science in biology at Ohio State University, he returned to Illinois, committing his career to public service to advance and protect the progressive values that allowed his family to succeed in this country.
After working on successful political campaigns and in government constituent outreach, Olickal now serves as executive director at the Indo-American Democratic Organization.
“I was born and raised in this community, and have dedicated my career to public service, and ensuring progressive reform in Illinois,” Olickal added. “Over the next few months, I will continue to go door-to-door, listen to the concerns and needs of every community, and prove to them that I am ready to take on this challenge.”