When I talk about getting behind a candidate and doing it from the bottom-up I mean people who have bold solutions…. meet Lennie Jarratt for State Senate from Illinois’s 11th district.
I was born and raised in southern VA. I grew up working on my grandfather’s farm and helping my father on his second job as an electrician.
I was the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through the final two years while working full time as a Deputy Sheriff at the local County Jail. Prior to this I was a Corrections Officer at a State Penitentiary. I learned an invaluable lesson in this type of work, “Never be afraid or back down from the personal attacks of a bully”.
After finishing college, my job moved me to Iowa where I met my future wife. One funny story about this, was I was so shy, she asked me out the first time. Lisa and I have been happily married for 18 years. We are now in our eighth year of homeschooling our 2 wonderful children, Anna and Faith.
My family and I came to Illinois in 2000 to work for Big Idea, the maker of Veggie Tales. Unfortunately they ended up going bankrupt, during which they went from over 200 employees to around 20. This prompted my move up to Lake County in 2003. I became the Database Administrator for the Property Tax Assessment & Tax Extension Systems, which enabled me to learn how these systems really work. Understanding how these worked enabled me to more easily identify and explain to people that the local taxing bodies, especially local schools, are really causing the dramatic increase in property taxes. Because of this I started working at the grassroots level helping expose the truth about the culprit in the rapidly rising property taxes. With these facts, I worked to help elect fiscally conservative school board members; local officials; along with helping Republicans at the county, state and federal levels. This past April, a coalition of groups I was working with helped elect 23 of 35 conservative candidates to local offices from Grayslake, to Waukegan, to Beach Park and Winthrop Harbor. In addition to helping others get elected I have been a Lake Villa Township Republican precinct committeeman since 2008.
When you are directly told by a boss to stop exposing the truth of the school referendum tax increases or when you lose jobs because of your stance for honest and open government, you find out very quickly your level of determination to stand on principle. I stood my ground on principle and eventually went to work at the Sam Adams Alliance which was a free market, open government advocate based in Chicago. While there, I helped build:
- BallotPedia.org – a national ballot initiative and election information site
- JudgePedia.org – a national Judicial information website
- SunshineReview.org – a transparency government information website, which has recognize Lake County for its transparency efforts
In 2009, Sam Adams restructured releasing nearly all its staff in great part due in large part to the economy here in Illinois. Since the economy had crashed there were no other jobs, so to make ends meet, I started my own website design/social media business. We had to make hard choices, but our family survived without taking unemployment benefits. I proactively communicated with the bank for the entire 11 months I was underemployed. When I notified the bank of my new stable contract, they refused to work with me and in fact started foreclosure proceedings a few short weeks later.
In September alone, 1 in 295 Lake County homes received a foreclosure filing, in Grayslake School District 46 around 50% of the homes currently on the market are in distress. Currently around 2500 active foreclosures are in the courts in Lake County and I am one of them.
I am still working through the foreclosure process and from this I have learned that my bank would receive more money if they foreclose than if they worked out a solution with me. One of the most humbling experiences a family can have is to go before a judge and try to save their home. This gives me a greater perspective on the families that are suffering the same fate here in Lake County, through no fault of their own, but through the ill conceived policies coming from Washington and Springfield. I understand the support families need who are living the same realities of bad policy. Too many families are in this same situation and being forced to choose between food, medicines and their homes, yet Springfield wants to take more and more. This policy of forcing taxpayers to cut, while government grows is killing the recovery and forcing more businesses to close or move out of the State. This loss of jobs is hurting the families of Illinois.
I have lost other jobs since I have publically stood up for honest government as well. I have taken the arrows by those who want to protect government instead of supporting the family. I am ready to serve families in the 31st State Senate district in Springfield instead of the government bureaucracy.
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