The race for state representative in the 59th District is heating up with both candidates lobbing salvos and defending their positions.

Most recently, Democrat Daniel Didech came out swinging in reaction to an ad from his opponent, Republican Karen Feldman, regarding harassment in the workplace.

Didech, a Buffalo Grove resident and Vernon Township supervisor, and Feldman, a residential Realtor, Lincolnshire resident and former village trustee, are running to succeed Carol Sente, a Democrat from Vernon Hills who is not seeking re-election after nine years in Springfield.

The 59th District includes portions of 21 communities in central Lake and northern Cook counties, including large sections of Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Wheeling and Vernon Hills.

The ad shows pictures of House Speaker Mike Madigan and Didech flanking an image of the state capitol.

“Like Madigan, Dan Didech has fostered a culture of workplace harassment,” according to the political mailing. “Dan Didech took a page out of the Madigan playbook and didn’t act to protect women in the workplace.”

The reference is to two female employees in the assessor’s office who came to Didech last year with complaints. He charges Feldman with mischaracterizing his actions “to score cheap political points” and says everyone deserves an environment free from sexual harassment and discrimination.

Didech said he acted on the complaints, adopted a comprehensive sexual harassment policy in October 2017 and fired two employees.

“Karen Feldman’s use of these women’s story is not only wrong but sets an incredibly dangerous and reckless precedent of using their story for political gain, and she owes the victims an apology,” Didech said in a news release.

The women issued a public statement defending Didech. The ad, they said, diminishes the importance of stories like theirs and “also makes it harder for victims of harassment to come forward, an incredibly difficult choice that too many women already struggle with.”

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