Regional Roots in the New District Office

Brad McMillan
Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University

Congressman Darin LaHood puts together a district congressional office with central Illinois roots.

On September 17th, Darin LaHood was sworn in as the newly elected member in the 18th Congressional District. The very next week, Pope Francis delivered a historic speech to Congress urging the members to “cooperate generously for the common good… to support one another with respect for our differences.” The next day, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he was leaving Congress.

Without question, Congressman LaHood’s first few weeks in Congress were momentous. Just as important, he moved to quickly assemble a highly qualified district congressional staff with deep roots in the region. This bodes well for ensuring top-notch constituent and community service to the people of central Illinois. Congressman LaHood has selected the following staff for his congressional office in Peoria:

Brad Stotler, District Director
Stotler grew up in Peoria, graduated from Richwoods High School and interned for Congressman Ray LaHood. He then went to the University of Illinois and received his degree in political science before going on to work for Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson. Most recently, he served as vice president of governmental affairs for NATSO Inc., a transportation organization. His mom and dad still live in the Peoria area, and Brad and his wife, Betsy, have two young daughters.

Sheila Sader, Office Manager
Sader grew up in Elmwood and graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1994 with a degree in communications. She interned for Congressman Bob Michel and later joined Congressman Ray LaHood’s staff as a caseworker. This past year, Sader worked on Darin LaHood’s congressional campaign. She lives in Peoria with her husband, Samer, a nephrologist, and their three children, Cecilia, Isabela and Samer.

JD Dalfonso, Press Secretary
Dalfonso graduated from Washington Community High School before attending Ball State University to earn his degree in public communication and campaign communication. He started his career as the social media coordinator at Bradley University and most recently served as the director of marketing and social media at Advanced Correctional Healthcare. He serves on the boards of the Young Professionals of Greater Peoria and the Peoria Civic Center, and was instrumental in helping Peoria earn its fourth All-America City Award.

Michael Gilmore, Veterans Caseworker
Born and raised in Peoria, Gilmore attended Peoria Notre Dame High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army/Illinois Army National Guard and serving in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He continues to serve part-time in the Illinois Army National Guard and will be honorably discharged in January 2016. Gilmore will assist veterans in getting healthcare benefits and other services.

I had the privilege of serving as Congressman Ray LaHood’s district chief of staff for 10 years. People come to a congressional office seeking help in dealing with the federal bureaucracy on a wide array of issues, such as trying to obtain U.S. citizenship, military benefits, Social Security or Medicare claims. The importance of having district staff with strong ties to central Illinois who care about serving the constituents and communities of the 18th District with compassion and strong advocacy cannot be overstated. Indeed, this is the heart of good public service. iBi

Congressman Darin LaHood's Peoria District Office is located at 100 NE Monroe Street, Room 100, Peoria, IL 61602. For more information, call (309) 671-7027 or visit lahood.house.gov.

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