Election season can be overwhelming. There are calls from politicians asking for your opinion, your vote, your time, and, of course, your money. If you turn on the television, open your mailbox or sign on to Facebook you will find no end to the mud-slinging and finger-pointing. If that isn’t enough for you, there are countless editorials, blogs, and websites dedicated to political discourse. Most people can’t wait for November 7: the day all of the campaigning will die down.
As a candidate for State Representative, I know that I will not have this reprieve. If I am elected, November 7 is the day the real work will begin. Therefore, I review everything I can get my hands on. My campaign staff has even gotten in the habit of forwarding me articles and reports (as well as the occasional YouTube video) regarding Illinois’ political climate.
The other day, one of my staffers forwarded me a New York Times article entitled, “Illinois Debt Takes a Toll, Study Finds,” suggesting I write a commentary on it. I sent back to her a Crain’s Chicago Business article, “Report Savages State Finances, Says More Cuts, Tax Hikes Inevitable,” saying this would also be an excellent article on which to offer an opinion.
Over the course of my campaign, there has never been a shortage of news pieces to discuss, most of which detail the variety of challenges contributing to the state of crisis that now, embarrassingly, defines the Land of Lincoln.
Since I’ve announced my candidacy for the State Representative seat in District 42, I’ve seen articles stating that Illinois may not be able to provide basic services to its residents; reports ranking our governor as the worst in the nation; and articles naming our state as the most corrupt. I’ve heard the stories of jobs lost, schools closed, teachers’ strikes, crony capitalism, credit downgrades, a dire pension crisis, and numerous politicians either facing or dodging corruption charges.
I have studied each editorial and exposé. I’ve researched policy solutions and political ideologies. I’ve met with legislators, thought leaders and voters. I’ve interviewed with community groups, activists and journalists. My understanding of the urgency for a resolution to Illinois’ crisis has been sharpened; and my concepts of the steps needed to get to that resolution have been refined.
From the beginning, I have promised to protect Illinois tax-payers from the corruption and chaos that has run rampant in our General Assembly for the past decade and to expand economic opportunity; to advocate for you, your family and your business at every decision point.
Over the course of this campaign, my promise has become increasingly personal. The people I’ve met deserve better than the mayhem that has been produced for them. If given the opportunity, I will work to build a state that delivers the quality of life they deserve and supports the dreams they have for themselves and their families.
As I head into the final week of this campaign, I realize that the past year has prepared me for the fight I will face in Springfield. I am grateful to the many people who have shared their stories, offered their expertise, extended their support or contributed their resources to advance the mission of my campaign.
We have worked hard for the past year, but the real work begins on November 7. When, together, we will begin writing a new headline for the State of Illinois.