Four 66th District State Rep. Candidates Face Public

The McHenry County League of Women Voters took on two state representative districts and one state senate district Thursday night.

With his fake Republican opponent Jeffrey Lichte (he who had a Jack Franks yard sign in his year in 2014 and has consistently voted in Democratic Party primaries) missing in action, Steve Reick left the stage and it was occupied by the four candidates running for Mike Tryon’s State Rep. seat.

Carolyn Schofield, Paul Serwatka, Allen Skillicorn and Dan Wilbrandt.

Carolyn Schofield, Paul Serwatka, Allen Skillicorn and Dan Wilbrandt before the talking began.

All four candidates have served in municipal government:

  • Carolyn Schofield – Crystal Lake, plus McHenry County Board
  • Paul Serwatka – Just elected by a write-in vote to the Lakewood Village Board, beating all incumbents
  • Allen Skillicorn – Elected five years ago to the East Dundee Village Board
  • Dan Wilbrandt – Serving on the West Dundee Village Board.

The questions went from the complex to the arcane.

With two minutes to explain how the State Aid to Education Formula should be changed, generalities abounded.

Wilbrandt looking left 2-4-16

Dan Wilbrandt

In reply to a budget impasse question Wilbrandt got off a good line:

“I do not want to be the only one left here after everyone else has left.”

The arcane question was whether every bill should get a committee hearing.

With one-third fewer state representatives today than in the 1970’s, the number of bills is probably double.

Wilbrandt said, “Yes.”

Carolyn Schofield

Carolyn Schofield

Schofield allowed as how “maybe not all” should get a hearing.

“It’s insane that one person can stop a bill from coming out of the Rules Committee,” Serwatka asserted.

Allen Skillicorn

Allen Skillicorn

Skillicorn thought it was unrealistic that every bill get a hearing, but thought that any whose sponsor could obtain co-sponsorship from a majority of the chamber should.

He added that House Speaker Mike Madigan has only scheduled ten session days this spring.

There was a question about how taxes could be lowered.

All focused in on local property taxes, rather than state taxes, which most people think will be raised whenever Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner can reach some “grand bargain.”

Schofield and Serwatka targeted state mandates on local government.

Skillicorn mentioned Prevailing Wage requirements (which sent government building projects way, way above private construction) and the DuPage County consolidation bill.

Wilbrandt thought generating more jobs would be needed.

Paul Serwatka

Paul Serwatka

Freezing property taxes for two or more years was the topic of another question.

Serwatka agreed they should be and argued for getting rid of Prevailing Wages.

Skillicorn said such a freeze was tied to Rauner’s proposed reforms.

Wilbrandt agreed, but wanted local people to have the ability to raise property taxes by referendum.

Schofield said she had “concern with a property tax freeze taking control of local governments” and [punishing] those governments that have been economical.  She also wanted to find a way that social services were taken care of.

The greatest problem with the local Republican Party was posed.

Skillicorn argued for a stronger organization in the suburbs.

Wilbrandt agreed that “We need to growth the Republican Party and not worry so much about our differences.  Enough with the infighting.”

At this point Serwatka left the stage, not to return.

Paul Serwatka spent much of the latter part of the debate in the men's room suffering from symptoms of the flu.

Paul Serwatka spent much of the latter part of the debate in the men’s room suffering from symptoms of the flu.

(Between the State Rep. and State Senate portions of the program, I went to the bathroom and found him showing symptoms of the flu.)

Schofield, answering the GOP question, said one of the greatest problems was that the Republican Party “has become the party of ‘No.'”

“When we are in Springfield we are in the superminority.”

She said she believed in “working with all parties.

“I respect both sides of both issues.”

A question was asked about Route 62’s being turned into four lanes through Barrington Hills.

Wilbrandt favored the idea, but noted, “It’s funny that we want to improve roads so people can get in and out faster.”

“I completely agree with that…if they feel it’s a project they need to make their village thrive.”

Barrington Hills, of course, does not want Route 62 to be widened to four lanes.

Skillicorn pointed to the population boom west of Randall Road.

“There traffic is an issue.”

There was a question on township consolidation.

“I spent my entire summer researching this issue.  I was a neutral party.”

She pointed out that she lived in Grafton Township were things “weren’t good.”

Schofield said she worked with Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti to advance legislative improvements.

Skillicorn seemed to criticize Schofield’s efforts, saying, “There should have been some leadership on this.”

He said local governments have to concentrate on duplicative services, “something similar to the DuPage consolidation.”

“There is lot of buzz,” Wilbrandt noted.

There was a chance to give the question to the voters, but, “It got blocked.”

He pointed out that West Dundee, East Dundee and Carpentersville were consolidating fire protection.

In response to whether midwives should be licensed, a fight involving the Illinois Medical Society, the two men on the stage indicated agreement, while Schofield said she would be happy to facilitate discussions between the Medical Society and the midwives.”

The final question asked each candidate’s greatest personal accomplishment.

Wilbrandt pointed to his service “providing justice [in the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office] to those who don’t [have it].

Schofield said it was bring “a Mom,” in which role, she said, played every role in life.

Skillicorn pointed to his service on the East Dundee Village Board, where he the levy has been frozen since he took office in 2011.

Later Skillicorn told me, “Tt actually lowered taxes because we didn’t capture equalized assessed valuation growth either.”


Four 66th District State Rep. Candidates Face Public — 31 Comments

  1. Weakest candidate was Schofield and that’s With Serwatkas absence thru most of the debate.

  2. Paul Serwatkas is the true conservative in this race.

    We need a real conservative in the Illinois House – not compromisers like Barb Wheeler who was once a conservative but now has become a squishy moderate thanks to her new BFFs in Springfield.

  3. Informed – Wheeler is a rock solid conservative…scoring 100% from the American Conservative Union for 2013 and 2014.

    Because someone talks about different proposals does not make them less conservative…it is how they VOTE.

    And Wheeler proves time and time again she is a staunch conservative.

  4. My apologies to the League and to all those who attended.

    Rounding my 48th hour with the flu when I arrived at MCC, the League’s Susan Fugleberg, suggested that I go home and kindly offered to read a written statement on my behalf, but, I thought I could tough it out.

    That was a mistake.

  5. Pensions….no word of pensions…the Pension Freight Train keeps coming…

  6. **[Skillicorn] added that House Speaker Mike Madigan has only scheduled ten session days this spring.**

    LOL – Cal, you say this as if its true.

    You’re not going to call him out out completely making stuff up?

    Serwatka came across as angry, with no substance.

    Skillicorn came across as loud, and gave general meaningless answers.

    Willbrandt came across as the most rational, but unprepared to talk about actual policy.

    Schofield came across as VERY prepared, but also refused to take much of a position on anything.

    But I was really, really disappointed with the caliber of questions that were asked.

    They were really weak.

    And really didn’t ask anything that relevant to the general public.

  7. Here is a State Representatives issue.

    Illinois Policy Institute
    Springfield couldn’t bail out CPS even if it wanted to
    February 5, 2016
    By Ted Dabrowski

    Here’s a few teasers.

    State-run teacher pensions (TRS) have a shortfall of $37,000 per student, while Chicago’s shortfall totals $24,000.

    Downstate and suburban teacher benefits have ballooned by 940% since 1987.

    Today nearly 50 percent of the state’s education funding goes toward pensions.

    Only a decade ago, just 22 percent of the state’s education budget went to pensions.

    Read and learn.

    Time to put in place a contingency plan.

    There have been no signs of compromise on the part of those receiving and inline to receive a pension.

    TRS is the biggest of the 20 public sector pension systems.

    TRS does not include retiree healthcare, be it through the heavily state subsidized TRIP/THIS program (state contributes more than local), or, believe it or not, many suburban Chicago school districts have their own separate school district financed retirement perks and programs.

  8. Alabamashake – Schofield came across as VERY prepared?

    Are you kidding me?!

    She basically read all her answers, which led one to wonder if some of those questions came from her supporters in the audience so she’d at least seem like she had a chance against the candidates who actually had ideas and knew what the issues were about.

    Half the time she looked like a frightened child, and the only time she brightened up was when they started talking about township consolidation (at which point I think Skillicorn and Wilbrandt did an excellent job of calling her out).

    Serwatka came across as way too agressive, an extremely awkward and poor speaker, and as someone who would have real difficulty working and communicating with others in Springfield.

    Plus, you could tell he was having some trouble focusing and understanding the questions themselves.

    (I understand he was sick, though I wonder how much was illness vs stage fright.)

    Skillicorn spoke well, but throwing statistics and numbers around was somewhat off-putting.

    It was sometimes difficult to know exactly what his message was.

    You could tell he is planning to be in politics his whole life.

    Wilbrandt did an excellent job of not only answering the questions in a straightforward manner, but also explaining his plans and goals for the state and community.

    He was the only one up there who seemed like he knew the issues inside and out, and could communicate it to the audience in a non-off-putting way.

    All in all, Wilbrandt was far and away the best one up there. He’s the candidate the Republican Party desperately needs!

  9. That wasn’t the flu, Paul just had performance anxiety.

    He’d probably be the same way in Springfield too.

  10. alabamashake, very prepared for what?

    A PTA meeting with her white tights and patent leather MaryJanes?

    Schofield was the most shallow candidate up there!

    I’ll give you an example of the most ridiculous “reason to vote for her” because of her duties as a Mom.


    Then any Nanny should be able to run as state rep!

    These high squeaky voiced wanna be valley girls should really find somewhere else to apply their mommy “skills” and leave fighting for taxpayers in Springfield to the serious contenders.

    Next election I’d like to see another group hold debates.

    These ‘forums’ with mambie pambie questions and no debate really are of so little value by the League of Wicked Vipers.

    All three guys did rather well.

    It will be difficult to choose among them.

    Paul has proved he’s a fighter, I like some of the other two’s points and was pleasantly surprised Dan seemed like he has knowledge and gumption.

  11. gettaClue… stay classy with the blatant sexism and misogyny.

    It says all we need to know about who you are.

  12. More pension reading, this one about State University Retirement System (SURS).

    State legislators hiked SURS pension benefits.

    SURS is one of the 20 pension systems in Illinois.

    Illinois Policy Institute

    Pensions vs Higher Education

    by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

    Some eye opening news:

    The truth is that more than 50 percent of Illinois’ $4.1 billion budget for state universities is spent on retirement costs – making it easy to understand why there’s not money out there for much else.

    A decade ago, retirement costs made up only 20 percent of the state’s total higher-education spending. Today, that percentage has ballooned to 53 percent.

    Combined student tuition and fees grew anywhere from 74 to 112 percent between 2006 and 2016, depending on the university.

    Plenty more to read…


  13. If you are a Mom, (it’s a full time job) you should probably be at home with your kids.

    Worked for me!

    Sorry to burst the indoctrination bubble everyone is in, but,I believe all the problems in the world started to become our downfall when women entered the workplace.

  14. Mark’s comments are what voters need to concentrate on.

    Why is there no petition for a Constitutional amendment being circulated by the State / County GOP?

    There is a petition for term limits but that will do absolutely nothing to fix the pension issue in the near future.

    In D.C. there is no real effort to win ANY war any more.


    In Illinois there is no real effort to fix the pension crisis.


    Relative to keeping the mentally ill out of jail but related to the state financial crisis, why are State mentally health facilities closed or in critical need of repairs?

  15. Did it look like Schofield had the questions AND answers before asked?

    When the cards are done, did some have the questions WITH the answers.

    Anyone attending the Crystal Lake City Council meetings would have seen how UNPREPARED she was.

    Who are her supporters?

    That will tell you a lot.

  16. Someone was wholly unprepared.

    He might have had a cough (which he was very obvious about) but it looked more to everyone in the room like a complete meltdown.

    Fight or flight…

  17. **I believe all the problems in the world started to become our downfall when women entered the workplace.**


    These comment are something else.

  18. AngryHuman – I completely agree.

    I keep seeing the same reply “Serwatka is a fighter” on every blog post that seems to mention him.

    How is he a fighter?

    Maybe that comment is meant literally, as in the fighting ring with another dude.

    Maybe it is because he fights AGAINST the people of Lakewood when it comes to community decisions.

    It certainly cannot mean he’s able to fight FOR the people of the 66th District and provide real soulutions to the problems our state has.

    When the questions got tough (and they were not even close to being tough questions – quite sad), he bailed.

  19. There is no petition to change the pension clause because the State Constitution does not allow citizens to amend any portion of the Constitution but the Legislative clause.

    Any change must emanate from the Illinois General Assembly.

    That means it is a question that should be asked of legislative candidates.

  20. Looked like the flu when I saw him in the McHenry County College men’s room after the debate.

  21. Apparently some on this blog where either not in attendance at the debate or simply have a smear agenda planned against Schofield.

    Just crazy some of the sexiest comments and lack of intelligence by some on here.

    Apparently the smear campaign is the way some are choosing to play this instead of focusing on who is most qualified and can help the residents.

    Grow up

  22. Just because a politician is well researched does not make him or her a good representative.

    Schofield’s record is a reflection of Shepleys on the CL City Council and Gottemoller and the establishment on the County Board.

    We need independent thinkers, not followers.

  23. Since when does expressing a negative opinion of a candidate on a blog post comment section constitute an entire “smear campaign”? If a candidate cannot handle some criticism, they have no business being in politics. Admittedly, there have been some alarmingly ridiculous sexist comments on this string.

  24. **We need independent thinkers, not followers.**

    I didn’t see any thinkers on that stage.

    There wasn’t an original thought or idea on that stage.

    There were a bunch of ridiculous talking points, with little/substance, and they all clearly lacked any kind of policy knowledge to address any real problems.

  25. Serwatka or Wilbrandt or Skillicorn in that order.

    (Carolyn is essay over her head , but points for matching her mini dress to her sweater) LOL

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