Illinois Review –

JOLIET – While liberals poked at the demise of everyday folks concerned about protecting constitutional liberties, avoiding generational debt and skyrocketing taxes after the 2010 Tea Party election sweep, one Illinois county shifted its focus to local elections. On Labor Day 2009, the Joliet Area Tax Day Tea Party worked as a team to host nearly 10,000 at a rally in New Lenox and picketed in front of then-Congresswoman Debbie Halverson’s Joliet office. Their anti-Obamacare and anti-tax efforts helped to oust Halverson in 2010.

Since then, the Tea Party loyal in Will County have become involved in local elections, and have successfully stopped in its tracks the power of Chicago Democrats reaching into its neighbor to the southwestern suburbs. So much so, the coalition of conservatives in Will County – in cooperation with the local Republican Party – won 38 of 39 candidates they slated in the April 2012 municipal elections.

Anyone paying attention to the powerful efforts in Will County is courting the area leaders and organizers. Locals point to Mark Batinick, Tim and Deb Kraulidis, Brad Baber and Stephen Balich as strategists, encouragers, and what they call “the Brain Trust.” The Will County Board, once with a Republican majority that dwindled, now has been built back to 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, with Democrat county chairman Larry Walsh.

Unique to the Will County Tea Party movement, a substantial number of conservatives elected to local offices since 2009 are women. And their numbers are growing.

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