A well-known Austin resident and business leader is throwing his hat into the political ring in next year’s state election.

Ford Desired Real Estate founder La’Shawn Ford announced this week that he will challenge incumbent Illinois State Rep. Calvin Giles in next year’s primary election. This is Ford’s first foray into a political campaigning as a candidate. The long-time Austinite has been involved on the fringes of Chicago politics, most recently joining other West Side elected officials in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

Ford will try to unseat Giles, a 7-term, West Side Democrat in the March 2006 Primary. Giles has recently come under fire from state election officials concerning more than $140,000 in unpaid campaign fines. State officials have given Giles until mid-January to pay fines or face the possibility of having his name removed from the March ballot. Giles won a legal battle last year to stay on the November 2004 ballot despite owing $80,000 in fines. Rep. Giles has been unavailable for comment. The 2006 Illinois Primary is Tuesday, March 21.

?”Terry Dean