Senator Kirk Dillard weighs in on Chicago mayoral race

6 Dec

By Kelli Heinz

When Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady was defeated by Gov. Pat Quinn in a squeaker Nov. 2, it was the second time the downstate politician from Bloomington stayed up late this year to learn his outcome. Brady similarly won by a narrow margin in the primary, narrowly squeezing out Sen. Kirk Dillard for the Republican nomination.

Many political insiders think it might have been Dillard being sworn in as the state’s new governor in January, if he had been the GOPs candidate given his stronger ties to Chicago, where Brady bombed. The state senator—whose office is in western suburban Westmont—acknowledges his strong relationship with former Gov. Jim Edgar also might’ve tipped the outcome his way.

Dillard, in an appearance in a DePaul University communications class, left little doubt he again will seek higher office. The 55-year old state senator said future runs for governor, U.S. Senate and Illinois Attorney General are possibilities.

Meanwhile, Dillard will be keeping abreast of every development, including Chicago’s mayoral election in February. Here is a sampling of his observations on that—and much more:

• The main player in Springfield will be the mayor of Chicago, who can be a very effective ally for Governor Quinn.

• The governor needs to work at more consolidation of school districts.

• In a new mayor, “Chicago should look for a guy who is a good manager like Gery Chico, a tough guy like Rahm Emanuel and a guy who cares greatly about Chicago public schools like James Meeks. A hybrid of the three would be the best candidate for the job.”

• “I would hope that whoever wins the mayoral election puts all the other candidates in city jobs because they all obviously care about the city of Chicago.”

• The new governor needs to get a grip on Illinois’ welfare system. “Illinois spends more on Medicaid than education. The New York Times says that half of Medicaid is all fraud. The state of Illinois needs to create a stern management system to regulate and stop any Medicaid fraud. The people of Illinois will get more doctors and better service if we manage Medicaid.”

• Illinois needs new job growth, as the state ranks 47th in job creation. “When people are working, they are not on welfare and are putting money in the state treasury.”

• On pensions and retirement income: “We are one of the only states that does not tax retirement income.”

• On income tax increase: “Before asking citizens for a tax increase, the Illinois government must first show the people that the government is ethically clean and second show them the government can manage.”

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