The “government bug” bit me when I was in grade school and I served as an honorary page in the Illinois House of Representatives for George Sangmeister (who would later serve three terms as U.S. Congressman). Congressman Sangmeister is one of the area’s most respected government leaders. A photo from that day is still in my office. At that young age, Congressman Sangmeister taught me how important it is for people to have a voice in government and what an honor it is to be that voice. Congressman Sangmeister believed in compromise, but was committed to standing up for the people in his district. He considered his role as representative of the people as a great responsibility and privilege. I share his views and consider him a wonderful example of how representatives and government should work for the people.
Another wonderful example of service is right in my own family. My father, Larry Walsh, Sr. has served at many levels of government and he and my mother, Irene, give of their time to many organizations that better the lives of citizens in our community. As farmers, my parents understand and made sure their children and grandchildren understand the value of hard work. My parents’ values and focus on family (they raised six children and now have a slew of grandchildren) provides an important foundation for my own family and professional life.
Hard work, service, community are tenets of our family. I attended Joliet Junior College and worked as a machinist for Caterpillar, Inc. I am a proud member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 851 and now secretary-treasurer of IAM District Lodge 8.
My wife Theresa (Stringham), a special education teacher, and I are raising our children in Elwood where I have been a lifelong resident. Our sons—Joshua and Caleb—attend Elwood School as I did. Our daughter, Katie, is a graduate of Western Illinois University. We appreciate the sense of community in Elwood and in every city and village in the 86th District.
I have been active in the Jackson Township community for several years and served on the Jackson Township Board as a Trustee from 2005-2012. I have also been involved with the Jackson Township Sportsmen Club, United Way of Will County and Guide Dogs of America. In addition being involved township government through participating and organizing holiday food drives and delivering gifts during the holiday seasons, I am a proud supporter of area community groups such as Jackson Twilighters, Elwood History Club and Meals on Wheels programs. I am proud to serve our senior citizens by being a board member of Senior Services Center of Will County and serving children who have been abused and neglected as an Advisory Committee member for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Will County.