The Dundee Township Republican Organization (DTRO), just across the county line from Algonquin Township and chaired by Michael Bielak of Algonquin, deserves a great deal of credit for not only hosting a terrific picnic, but for allowing elected officials and candidates to speak, including primary challengers. But beyond speeches at their event on September 8, DTRO members recorded the speeches on video and published the videos on the DTRO YouTube channel to be viewed after the September 8 date.
McHenry County Blog particularly thanks Committeepersons Linda Prestia of Carpentersville and Cliff Surges of Gilberts for recording the event’s speeches, and their decision to allow a non-incumbent Republican primary challenger to speak.
Here are the video links to State Representative Allen Skillicorn’s and challenger Carolyn Schofield’s speeches this past Sunday at the DTRO picnic:
- Allen Skillicorn DTRO Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2yRWWmBmTo
- Carolyn Schofield DTRO Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4PSDedlKfk
McHenry County Blog encourages listening with discernment not only to both speeches, but to additional analysis concerning the 66th district race, and the 3rd time Skillicorn and Schofield are in competition for the Illinois General Assemby.
“3rd time”? Yes, the 2016 primary, the 2020 primary, and last year when both Skillicorn and Schofield competed for the vacant state senate position in the 33rd legislative district, along with 5 other candidates that was won by Don DeWitte’s appointment.
ANALYSIS: The 66th district Republican nomination is Allen Skillicorn’s to lose. He is the elected 2-term incumbent who believes he deserves a 3rd term, and is touting his staunch opposition against higher taxes of any kind and support for the Republican Party platform as his voting record shows.
At the DTRO event, former State Representative Jeanne Ives formally endorsed Skillicorn’s reelection (the link to Ives’ video link, including the endorsement of Skillicorn can be found here).
As mentioned above, both Skillicorn and Schofield were passed over in favor of Don DeWitte for the state senate appointment last year, and DeWitte won a 4-year term last fall. State Senator DeWitte of St. Charles endorsed Schofield at her campaign kickoff in Huntley last week, and was in attendance at the DTRO picnic. Here is what DeWitte says about Schofield:
“Residents of the 66th District understand the uphill sledding that Republicans must deal with in Springfield given super-minority positions in the House and Senate,” said DeWitte. “Carolyn has dealt with that bipartisan process in her role as a County Board member and has been successful getting initiatives approved for her local constituents. That ability to work across the aisle will serve her well in bringing tax dollars back to her constituents in the 66th District.”Source: Carolyn Schofield Campaign Facebook Page Post 9/6/19
Schofield was also endorsed by McHenry County Board Vice Chair Michael Skala (R-Huntley) and said Schofield would be a welcome change in the 66th District and gave the most passionate reasons Skillicorn needs to be replaced:
“Right now the people of Huntley who live in the 66th District are not being represented,” Skala said. “They have a Representative who can’t pass bills, believes the key to success is voting ‘no’, and whose actions only widen the political divide in Springfield. We need real solutions, not angry soundbites. Carolyn has been successful as a member of the county board and I believe she’ll be successful in Springfield. She has my full support.”Source: Carolyn Schofield Campaign Facebook Page Post 9/6/19
While we are not sold that Schofield should replace Skillicorn on next year’s Republican ticket, let alone will be successful in Springfield (and her Facebook meme announcing her candidacy last month showed she and her inner circle do not read McHenry County Blog), a bipartisan process that failed earlier this year had to do with the capital bill Skillicorn was against, but what Schofield spoke of positively at the DTRO picnic. And McHenry County Blog cannot forget events like this from earlier in the year:
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen (R, Aurora) is by no measure a tax and spender as his 20-year record in Springfield and his nearly seven years as county board chairman proves. That is why this quote from June gives some credibility to Schofield’s claim Skillicorn needs to be replaced:
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen blasted local state lawmakers for not delivering money for the Longmeadow Parkway that would help prevent the need for a toll bridge to complete the project, but at least one state senator said she never heard from him.
Now, expectations for any state funding might depend on whether lawmakers would contribute some of the member initiative money each received in the budget to spend on in-district projects.
The bridge will create a new crossing over the Fox River near the McHenry County border, but a lack of local funding, so far, will lead to a toll to pay for the bridge and future maintenance. County officials hoped to get about $40 million to eliminate the need for what is expected to be an unpopular toll.
“It does blow me away that this would be the circumstance,” Lauzen said Wednesday.
The lack of state funding is even harder to swallow because increases to the gas tax and fees for driver’s licenses and vehicle titles will push an estimated $73 million of additional money from Kane County residents’ wallets to state coffers each year, according to Lauzen’s calculations.Daily Herald, 6/4/19
The Herald article goes on to point out that DeWitte was involved with Lauzen concerning the capital bill, but made no mention of Skillicorn, or David McSweeney, whose district is where the bridge, now under construction, is being built.
So where was Allen Skillicorn on a possible funding option for Longmeadow that could have completely eliminated bridge users, including his constituents, from the added cost and inconvenience of paying a toll? During his 2016 campaign, it is not forgotten Skillicorn showed at best, tepid support for the Longmeadow bridge and corridor, and he did kowtow to bridge opponents.
But the successful construction, preferably without tolls, is important to the entire upper Fox Valley region, including the 66th district, and there is credibility that opposing any new revenue stream does not support your constituents and is a hindrance to effective representation.
That does not mean Skillicorn, or any other representative should be a tax-and-spender, but there is a rare time when an effective representative of the people, even a Republican, must surrender their own ideology and party platform for the benefit of the people represented.
Had Skillicorn been able to eliminate Longmeadow tolls as part of the capital bill while providing Kane and McHenry Counties a significant means to build a major transportation corridor linking Route 47 in Huntley to Route 62 in Barrington Hills, and the economic benefits of this long range planning, the legislation should have been supported, tax/fee increases funding included.
There is proof Skillicorn has worked with the Democratic supermajority in Springfield this spring. His support for the recreational cannabis bill was possible only with negotiations with Democrats to insure his concerns were addressed. If Skillicorn can do this with legalizing recreational pot, it could have been done on the capital bill, too.
Given this major opportunity miss by Skillicorn on the capital bill, something Skillicorn said in his speech about what happens to “politicians that don’t help you out” can be applied to him, too. Whether it is Schofield or someone else remains to be seen.
But closing as the analysis opened, the primary is Allen Skillicorn’s to lose, but it is hoped he would want to win it.
- Daily Herald 6/4/19 Article: https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190605/no-state-funds-for-longmeadow-parkway-leaves-lauzen-fuming