Senator Link speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Waukegan School Board Member and former Township Trustee Jeff McBride was the top vote-getter in his school board race in April, but now his eligibility is being challenged because of a crime he committed nearly four decades ago.

In 1980, Jeff McBride made a mistake. He was battling drug addiction and stole a Cool Tote Air Conditioner from a J.C. Penney store. McBride was charged with felony theft and was sentenced to probation and court-ordered addiction treatment.

McBride paid for his crime. He has spent the past 30 years as a model citizen and an active member of his community, but now his work as a public servant is being threatened because of the decades-old crime.

A measure sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) would help give Jeff McBride, and others like him, a second chance.

“Jeff McBride’s story is a criminal justice success story,” Link said. “Jeff was a drug addict who overcame obstacles, turned his life around, and is now, decades later, a dedicated public servant. He is a pillar of the community who brings a unique perspective to public office. We should be encouraging ex-offenders to turn their lives around like Jeff did instead of letting decades-old crimes stand in the way of their potential.”

Senate Bill 225 would allow individuals to run for local office if they were convicted of a felony more than fifteen years ago, have completed their sentences and haven’t committed a crime during those fifteen years.

The measure seeks to build on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s efforts to pass meaningful criminal justice reform.


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