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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
(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.”