With political season in full swing, it can be difficult to reach out and communicate with voters amid all the sound bites, slogans, and quick-hitting TV ads. I’m glad to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you in this column.
I’m often asked why I’m running for office. It’s not a hard question to answer. First, I know that if we continue to kick our problems down the road, my generation will end up paying the bills and bearing the burdens.
But more so, I’m running for state representative because I believe in Illinois. Despite all the negativity and cynicism you hear, Illinois has what it takes to deal with the problems at hand. We have a strong agricultural tradition, a well-connected network of roads and railways, great colleges and universities, and hardworking people.
I’ll bring a fresh perspective to Springfield. For too long, one party has controlled state government, and they’ve put us on the wrong path. In order to get Illinois back on the right track, we can take some specific steps.
First, state government must live within its means, just like every family has learned to do. We must budget responsibly and transparently. We can identify best practices used in other states, and audit how and where taxpayer funds are being spent. We must reduce or eliminate appointed jobs used as political payoffs and work to restore public trust in government.
Second, we must promote job creation by repealing Gov. Quinn’s income tax hike, developing export deals to sell Illinois crops and products around the world, and building partnerships to improve roads and transportation infrastructure in our communities. We can lighten the burden on businesses by reforming workers compensation and limiting frivolous lawsuits.
Third, we must reform the systems that comprise the largest share of state spending. Medicaid accounts for nearly a quarter of the state budget, and costs are expected to continue to rise. By implementing care coordination plans and chronic disease management programs for folks who suffer from a disease like diabetes, we can improve care for patients and realize significant cost savings.
We must also address the $83 billion unfunded pension liability, and bring all stakeholders to the table to forge a more financially responsible path forward.
I announced my candidacy for state representative more than 13 months ago. In that time, I’ve worked hard to connect with and listen to voters across Lee, Ogle, DeKalb and LaSalle counties. I’ve walked in more than 20 parades and attended dozens of community meetings, county fairs and candidates forums.
If you believe that Illinois can do better, I’m with you. I’ll work hard to be a strong voice for the people of 90th District. Remember to vote, on Election Day or as an early voter at the courthouse.
I’m Tom Demmer, and I’m running for state representative to bring a fresh perspective to the state capital.