For one candidate, it's "a call to action." For the other, it's an opportunity to provide a better future for his children.|
Republican candidates Jonathan Wallace and Neil Anderson are competing in the District 72 state representative primary election race for the chance to face the winner of the Democratic primary between state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, and Glen Evans, of Rock Island. The election is March 20.
"For me, it became a call to action. Because I saw the players, I knew the game, but I was on the sidelines," Mr. Wallace said. "I'm excited to step into the game and do something about this $9 billion deficit and our job crisis."
Mr. Anderson said his motivation is his young family and providing for them a better Illinois.
"I have a 7-year-old son and one on the way, and it really puts things into perspective when you have children to worry about," he said. "I want the same opportunities for my kids that I had, the opportunities to be able to work as hard as you want and be whatever you want to be. ... It's kind of a calling."
Mr. Wallace, who is a staffer in District 71 state Rep. Rich Morthland's office, feels his legislative experience puts him ahead of his opponent.
"I know the problems. I have solutions, and I'm ready to deliver them," he said.
Mr. Anderson touted his passion and life experience as superior to his opponent's.
"I'm young and energetic. But at the same time, I know about public service," the paramedic and firefighter from Rock Island said. "I've always wanted to help people. ... I know what it's like to have a budget. I have a mortgage and (a family) that depend on me.
"I know what it's like to make tough decisions. I know what it's like to sacrifice. I run into burning buildings. Every third day, I leave the house knowing that someday I might not come back."
Both candidates want to repeal the 67 percent income tax increase pushed by Gov. Pat Quinn and passed by the Illinois General Assembly in early 2011.
"I'm hoping, if we can turn this seat in the 72nd District (to the GOP), which is considered a safe seat, that will be the beginning of a tide happening around the state," Mr. Wallace said. "I believe it's winnable. And if it is, maybe the House Republicans can get a majority and start working on sensible policies."
Repealing the income tax increase is Mr. Anderson's primary focus. If it stays in place, he said he foresees drastic unemployment increases.
"It's obviously not working. It has been devastating in this state," he said. "Since it was implemented a year ago, we're seeing thousands and thousands of businesses and jobs leaving this state. It's particularly important in (District 72) because it's not as much work for a business here to walk across the bridge and set up shop in Iowa. We have created a very unfriendly business environment."
Mr. Wallace said his priorities also include the state's budget crisis and job creation.
"We need to have policies that come out of the General Assembly that reward businesses, families and people for starting and staying right here in Illinois," he said. "Right now, the General Assembly doesn't have a very good track record, and I intend to do something about that."
Mr. Wallace pledges to never vote for a tax increase if he's elected.
"If we reward families and businesses for staying in Illinois, the size of the pie will get bigger and we will have more taxpayers, more people contributing to this budgetary disaster ...," he said. "(To balance the budget) everything has to be on the table.
"It's going to take each member of the General Assembly, both parties, to find what is essential, what is needed for people to live in the state of Illinois and what is not. ... We have to shave a lot of waste and inefficiency off our budgetary process."
Balancing the state's budget starts with creating jobs, Mr. Anderson said.
"The way we bring jobs in is creating a healthier work environment for people and businesses," he added. "That will happen through regulatory reform and workman's comp reform as well."
Regarding pensions, Mr. Wallace said he does not favor "not paying the benefits that were promised," but instead favors "a new system for newcomers into the system that is something like a 401k."
On the topic of pensions, Mr. Anderson, himself a public employee, said he is "a believer that a promise made is a promise kept. Article 13 Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution says we can't take pensions away from those who have them.
"I don't know all the numbers, and I don't have all the answers, but something needs to happen. But punishing business owners and individuals to pay down what the state created is unfair."
Name: Neil Anderson
City: Rock Island
Occupation: Paramedic and firefighter at Moline Fire Department
Education: Davenport Assumption High School, Iowa Central Community College and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate
Family: Married with one son and a daughter on the way
Political Experience: none
Social Networking: Facebook (Neil Anderson), Twitter (@electneil)
Name: Jonathan Wallace
City: Rock Island
Occupation: Owner of NoCollarMedia.com, Republican communication analyst assigned to state Rep. Rich Morthland's Moline office
Education: Augustana College graduate
Political Experience: Former township trustee for Coe Township, 2009-2011
Social Networking: Facebook (Jonathan Wallace for State Representative), Twitter (@WallaceforIL)
Illinois House of Representatives
Duties: Enacts state laws, acts on federal constitutional amendments and proposes state constitutional amendments. It also can impeach executive and judicial officials. State representatives serve two-year terms.
2011 Salary: $67,836/year
According to the most recent finance reports on file with the Illinois State Board of Elections, the Wallace for Illinois campaign committee raised $3,692.04 in individual donations between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. The committee finished the year with $1,156.37 on hand.
The Neil Anderson for IL 72nd District committee raised $6,615 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 and finished the year with $2,420.47 on hand. Since Jan. 1, the committee has reported $4,600 in donations.
Aledo, IL Details
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