JOLIET - The Joliet Herald News reports that Friday State Rep. Jack McGuire (D-Joliet) announced his retirement effective immediately, citing health reasons after consulting with his family physician and family members.
Republican House District 86 candidate Ryan Alm responded immediately:
"I commend Rep. McGuire in his choice to attend to his health and his family. There's nothing more important than one's health. The Democratic Party of Will County now has approximately 1-month to appoint an interim Representative to serve until the November 2012 elections.
"I would like to say that during this interim period the interests of Joliet and District 86 will not go unnoticed and have not gone unnoticed. Since May of 2011, when I announced my candidacy for Illinois House District 86, I have been fighting for more jobs, an enhanced economy and lower taxes for our citizens and businesses.
"I like many of our local leaders, have been fighting to keep Joliet's Illinois Youth Center open and I testified before the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability ("COGFA") to save the Youth Center. Over the past year I have been all over our District fighting for our needs and will continue to do so up until the November 2012 Elections and beyond.
"As a Candidate for Illinois House, I have over 15-years experience in: business, education, technology, labor, government and law - I am a qualified Candidate who can meet the needs of the District 86 community. I ask for the support of the community and pledge my efforts to work tirelessly to move Illinois towards a more prosperous future."
Could this be a Republican pickup for the House?
Alm told Illinois Review that his assessment of the new 86th House district shows it to be possibly 50-50 between Republican and Democrat voters. The Democrats lobbed off more conservative Manhattan from the district, but added in GOP-leaning Channahon, which could make the district competitive in 2012.
"The last Republican to run in 2010 won nearly 40 percent of the vote in an election year focused on Congressional races," Alm said. "We're certain we can give whoever the Democrats pick a good run for their money in the General.
Alm, a paralegal at a Joliet law firm, worked for the Will County State Attorney and has served as a Joliet-area GOP precinct committeeman. He's been actively politicking in the 86th District since last May, and has knocked on doors, been in parades and hosted a website pointing out McGuire's non-conservative votes over his years in the Illinois House.
However, Alm has taken an unusual Republican position on the governor's recommendation to close the Joliet Illinois Youth Center, where juveniles who've committed the most heinous crimes are imprisoned. He opposes the closure, and told Illinois Review he assisted AFSCME with their March 15th closing protest outside the center.
"I was there and talked to a lot of people who would be losing their jobs if the center closed," Alms said. "I'm all for budget cuts, but closing the IYC would be a public safety risk and a waste of money. Those advocating moving the juveniles to St. Charles also say that facility needs $12 million in renovations, and the Joliet building needs $6 million to update. The reasons for closing Joliet just weren't clearly explained at this weeks' hearing."
Alms said it was evident at Wednesday's hearing that the decision to close the IYC was rushed and could be that the Joliet facility is old, he said.
"But they're talking about ending nearly 300 jobs there, and that's unnecessary," Alms said. "Putting these kids in facilities where the staff is not as well-trained to deal with dangerous teens as much as they already are in IYC would be a public safety issue."
Alms said he intends to stay in contact with the AFSMCE leaders about the facility's closure. "They've already told me how much they appreciate my interest in this situation."
Ryan Alms answered the 2012 Illinois conservative coalition's candidate survey. Browse his positions on key issues HERE.