STERLING – For the first time in more than 2 decades, the 74th Illinois House District will not be represented by Don Moffitt.
Three men are on the ballot in hopes that the district continues to be represented in Springfield by a Republican.
Moffitt, R-Gilson, is not seeking a 13th term. Seeking the Republican Party nomination in Tuesday’s primary election are Wayne Saline of Rio, Mike DeSutter of Woodhull, and Dan Swanson of Alpha.
The winner will face Democrat Bill Butts, an attorney in Galesburg, in the Nov. 8 general election. The 74th District includes portions of Lee and Bureau counties, and Henry, Knox and Mercer counties.
Saline is chairman of the Knox County Republican Party, and has served on the Knox County Board for more than a decade. He worked with the State Board of Elections to correct financial errors in the Knox County GOP accounts. He also oversees daily operations of his family’s farm and co-owns APEX Pork in Rio.
“We have so many problems in Springfield, and we need to make changes,” Saline said. “[Moffitt] did a fantastic job, and we need people to go down there and continue the great work.”
DeSutter owns and operates DeSutter Farms in Woodhull. He serves on the boards of St. John Catholic Church in Woodhull and OSF Saint Mary Hospital in Galesburg, and is president of the West Carroll FS Board.
“I have deep roots in the district, and I can make tough decisions and try to help turn this state around,” DeSutter said. “I love this state, and I want my children and grandchildren to live here.”
Army Lt. Col. Swanson is the Henry County Veterans Assistance Commission superintendent, providing financial aid and transportation services for veterans there to Iowa Veterans Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.
Swanson has 27 years of military service, and spent more than 17 years on the Alwood school board and 2 years on the Henry County Board.
“We need to have some new blood down in Springfield,” Swanson said. “Don Moffitt did a great job with the 74th District. I want to go down there and make changes, and I think now is the right time to do that.”
The southern portion of Lee County is the northernmost part of the 74th District.
“I want to get rid of unfunded mandates to be able to protect the business opportunities for people in Lee County and across the district,” Saline said. “Unfunded mandates is a burden to agriculture, and I want to do what I can to help those ag businesses grow.”
Because Swanson also is a farmer, he understands the concerns small-town farmers face. He plans to walk around Amboy, Walnut and other small towns in the county to meet people and hear their concerns.
“I want to protect Lee County, and other parts of the district, against regulations we impose on small businesses and school districts, fire departments and police departments,” Swanson said. “This is just another part of the district I would like to represent.”
DeSutter said he wants to give all parts of the district the same opportunities.
“I want to represent all the districts and take care of the constituent needs at all levels as much as possible,” he said. “I will be visible in all parts of the district ... and I have a really good feel for that area.”
Each of the Republican candidates said the state’s financial situation would be his top priority.
Saline said he wants to look at the pensions in the state.
“We need to pay backlog compensation, and we need to make overall changes to the different agencies, because those people are expecting money,” he said. “We must reform the current pension program. Current pensions will have to be honored, as they were earned under the contract that had been negotiated at the time.”
Swanson plans to use his military background to address the budget and pension situation.
“During my time in Iraq, I was in negotiations with the Army,” he said. “We can come to an agreement on how we can fix pensions and fix this budget, but we will have to work together, roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
DeSutter wants the state to become more business-friendly.
“I want to go to Springfield and make tough decisions to get this state turned around,” he said. “We need to be more business friendly and we need to bring more jobs here to Illinois, and good-paying jobs.”
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Education: Alwood High School; Illinois State University (bachelor's in agriculture business)
Family: He and his wife, Melanie, have three children: Charlene DeSutter Sullivan, 26, John, 18, and Madeline, 16.
Education: ROWVA High School, Oneida; 2 years at University of Illinois
Career: Farmer, Saline Farm
Family: He and his wife, Barb, have two children: Brooke and Brett
Education: Associate's, liberal studies, Black Hawk Junior College; bachelor's, Board of Governors degree program, Western Illinois University; Army Operations at BN/BDE/DIV/Corps, Combined Arms and Services Staff School; Army Operations at DIV/Corps/Army, U. S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Career: Superintendent, Henry County Veterans Assistance Commission; farmer; retired Army lieutenant colonel; self-employed.
Family: He and his wife, Tammy, have two children – Mark, 32, and Matthew, 27.