Democrat Says He Will Challenge Silverstein - NBC Chicago
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Democrat Says He Will Challenge Silverstein

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Activist Accuses Illinois Senator of Sexual Harassment

    An Illinois lawmaker came under fire Tuesday when a victim advocate stepped forward and accused him of sexual harassment during a task force investigation of unwanted sexual advances in Springfield. NBC 5's Christian Farr reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017)

    All eyes will be on state Sen. Ira Silverstein to see if he returns for the veto session that begins Tuesday.

    Rumors are swirling Silverstein could have a new challenger for the Democratic primary.

    Ram Villivalam, who was the former political director for Congressman Brad Schneider and also worked for SEIU, according to Politico, is expected to file campaign papers Tuesday.

    "The choice to run was very personal to me," he told NBC 5. "I want to be a progressive voice and everything starts with listening more."

    Last week, Silverstein was accused of sex harassment allegations which he denies. Senate President John Cullerton also stripped Silverstein of his committee chairmanship.

    Villivalam is 30 years old. His parents are immigrants from India, though he was born in Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools.  

    "A lot has happened in the last week," Villivalam said. "I think we need a new generation of elected officials, to bring more diversity. I'm obviously an Asian American and this is the district with the highest concentration of Asian Americans in the state."

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