Catching up With Former Congressman Manzullo

(Oregon,IL) This past December, the Illinois Conservatives PAC celebrated our eight year anniversary. During that time our group has grown to nearly 3,500 members. As a group, our first endorsement of a candidate was none other than U.S. Congressman Don Manzullo. To celebrate our anniversary, we thought it would be nice to catch up with now former Congressman Manzullo and see what he is doing these days.
 
Donald Manzullo served in the United States Congress from 1993-2013, representing the 16th Congressional District in northern Illinois. Manzullo was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and was the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. This allowed Manzullo to meet the various heads of states from several different countries including China, Poland, Romania, Israel, Norway, Italy, and Jordan. Some of Congressman Manzullo’s proudest achievements include passing legislation that saved the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars by reducing or eliminating unnecessary regulations in several areas including clean air attainment, industry, and education. Manzullo also made it possible for the Chicago Rockford International Airport to achieve its international status, resulting in the airport authorities naming the international terminal after him.   Congressman Manzullo co-founded and co-chaired the bipartisan House Manufacturing Caucus and also served as a co-chair of the House Automotive Caucus. Mr. Manzullo has had the opportunity to meet eight Presidents: Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Ford, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.
 
The former congressman was known for going out of his way to help young people while in office. Manzullo said, “My greatest achievement is having served as a mentor to innumerable young people, some of whom worked in my congressional offices as interns or employees. I hear from them from time to time and share in their success and their choices of professions. Being a congressman is a great opportunity to bend the twig of a young person so that he or she grows in the right direction.” Several former Manzullo staffers continue to serve in Washington D.C. The former congressman gave this advice to young people considering a run for public office: “If you decide to run for office, do it for the right reason. You must have a servant’s heart and truly believe the people you would serve are more important than you are. Holding political office is not about the officeholder. It’s about the people served. During my 20 years serving in Congress, some of the greatest victories are so personal to the individual served that I cannot share the details. Ronald Reagan said that it is amazing the things that can be done if the politicians don’t concern themselves about who gets the credit.”
 
Manzullo currently serves as the President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America (keia.org), which is a nine person, not for profit, public policy and think tank organization. The purpose of the organization is to strengthen relations between the United States and South Korea. Manzullo does not do any lobbying.
 
 
Manzullo still resides in rural Ogle County and has continued to  raise beef cattle on his property. On a personal note, Don Manzullo has been not just a political role model, but a personal hero to me. His love that he shows his wife Freda has showed me how to be a better husband and a person.
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It’s time to cut Illinois property taxes

Property taxes are hurting Illinois families and each day that goes by without tax relief, the worse this problem becomes. Everywhere that I go in my district, people tell me that high property taxes are forcing them to think about leaving the state. We have to stop the exodus from Illinois.

We not only need to freeze property tax levies, we need to cut them. Taxpayers simply cannot afford to pay ever-escalating property taxes.

My constituents are also worried about the massive tax increase being considered by the Illinois State Senate that liberal Democrats and some Republicans are promoting. The Senate tax increase bill would increase both the personal and corporate income tax rates by 33% and impose a massive new job-killing tax on small businesses. In Springfield and at the local level, we need to cut spending – not raise taxes!

Recently, I filed House Bill 1768, which would require most units of government to cut property tax levies by 10 percent over two years and then permanently freeze property tax levies at the reduced level. School districts and community colleges would be immediately required to permanently freeze their property tax levies. The only way that property taxes could be increased is by a local voter referendum.

I also strongly support efforts to reduce unfunded mandates on all local governments.

The relief Illinois residents need is an immediate reduction in property taxes. Only with reduced property taxes can we begin to stop people from leaving Illinois.

Talk is cheap. The time for action is now.

The solution has been in front of us for several years. I have fought for property tax relief since I’ve been in Springfield. Earlier this year, the House approved a permanent property tax freeze bill (HB 6630). I was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill. That legislation received 76 votes in the House.

In the House, I have voted more than 20 times in recent years to permanently freeze property tax levies. The House has consistently supported property tax freeze legislation over the past two years.

We do not need to keep debating the issue and defining the problem. Property tax rates are hurting working families and our senior citizens. They need relief – it is really that simple.

We know from a CoreLogic report released last year that Illinois now has the highest property taxes in the country. We also know that Illinois lost nearly 115,000 people from July 2015 to July 2016, in large part due to escalating property taxes here in Illinois.

The longer we delay action on solving the high property tax issue in Illinois, the more people are going to leave. I hear all of the time from my constituents that they simply cannot afford to keep paying their out-of-control property taxes. The current course of action is not sustainable.

The Legislature cannot continue to ignore the negative impact of rising property taxes on our state. The time has come for both legislative chambers to send a property tax reduction bill to the governor and for him to sign it into law. We have debated the issues long enough. What taxpayers need is action, not more talk.

Illinois needs to lower property tax rates now!

• Rep. David McSweeney serves Illinois’ 52nd House District.

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Originally Posted: Northwest Herald

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Illinois Prevailing Wage Costs Taxpayers

Prevailing-Wage2Illinois first passed its prevailing wage law back in 1941. It was passed to help protect employee salaries being reduced during bidding for a public project. It was also used as a mechanism to ensure that a labor dispute did not stop work on a public project. Unions once had a majority of construction employees as members. This has drastically plummeted with it down to 14% as of 2013. So it begs the question, in the year 2015 do we still need a prevailing wage law in the State of Illinois?

Has the prevailing wage laws changed over this same time period to reflect the new membership realities? The answer is no. Wages continue to be set at a union rate while 86% of the work force is not part of the union. There are many studies that show prevailing wage laws raise the cost of a project by 30-40 percent. Matt Crumb from Maclver Institute stated “As it turns out, prevailing wages can be up to 40 percent higher than competitive market wages, meaning taxpayers are hit with an extra cost burden on many government projects.” Reed the full story at Wisconsin Prevailing Wage:

Prevailing wage is a backward policy designed to ensure government contract workers are paid wage rates and receive benefits that are “prevailing” in a given industry or region. As it turns out, prevailing wages can be up to 40 percent higher than competitive market wages, meaning taxpayers are hit with an extra cost burden on many government projects.

Illinois is only one of nine states that require prevailing wage to be applied for every public project. The additional costs to county, towns, and villages are significant with this requirement. These same governmental bodies are all likely to have a reduction in state funding under Governor Rauner’s budget so eliminating the requirement of prevailing wage could be a key way for these types of governmental bodies to save money. It would also encourage governments to continue with long anticipated building projects.

Although the Governor does plan to cut back some revenue to smaller governments it appears with the elimination of prevailing wage and the institution of right to work, municipalities will be able to make up the difference.

As you can see the savings potential with the elimination of prevailing wage could help cover the cost of budget cuts for governments around Illinois.

American Resolve

 

Today, America was terrorized with attack leading to the end of several lives and over a hundred injured so far reported. Although it isn’t entirely clear who was behind this attack, what is known in the coming days and weeks fingers will be pointed in every direction. Already a CNN contributor has blamed “right wing extremists” being behind the attack. Here at Illinois Conservatives, it will not matter if the perpetrator is a Republican, a Democrat, a Muslim, a Christian, an American Citizen, or a foreign national, or anyone else. What matters is that . What is known is that this person and his/her actions have no place here in America, and what matters is that justice will and should be the result. This person came with the goal of changing the day to day lives of Americans, and that will not happen. During the toughest of times and the darkest of moments Americans have showed that they will help one another. After the attacks today it was widely reported that Boston Marathon runners continued to run past the finish line after the attacks all the way to a local hospital to donate blood. The quote of the day goes to District Attorney Dan Conley “Seconds after those bombs went off, we saw civilians running to help the victims right along side members of the Boston Police Department and Boston EMS. And in the hours that followed, police and medical personnel from across the region have sent dozens, maybe even hundreds, of volunteers to help us here in Boston. That’s what Americans do in times of crisis; we come together and we help one another. Moments like these, terrible as they are, don’t show our weakness. They show our strength.”

Together, America is always strongest. The best way to show that these attacks only made America stronger is to come together, pray, and to fly your Stars and Stripes tomorrow.

Schilling looking towards ’14?

Rumors have been swirling since shortly after election night that now former Representative Bobby Shilling will attempt to reclaim the 17th  Congressional District for the GOP in 2014. Former Congressman Schilling has been mum on his future plans other than to return to his small business. Rumors escalated on Tuesday, however, when Schilling posted the following on Facebook “…To all the people who believed in me, trusted in me and were always there to lift me up, we did what NO ONE could do in 28 years and we can do it again.” The last part, where Schilling saids “we can do it again,” led to some political insiders throughout the state claiming that Schilling is indeed leaning toward another bid for congress. Schilling also voted no on the “fiscal cliff” deal, which led to great praise from conservatives throughout the district and state.

A lot of people have asked “can he win”? The answer to that right now is probably. In 2008, when Schilling challenged former Rep. Phil Hare, the Rock Island Republican won his county by 994 votes (Schilling-23,054 and Hare-22,060). Despite this, in 2012, in the matchup between Democrat Cheri Bustos and Schilling, Schilling lost Rock Island County by a margin of 6,629 votes. This clearly seems that Schilling lost support in his home county, but he actually received 28,789 votes (increase of over 5,500 votes). Cheri Bustos though received 35,418 votes (an increase over Hare’s numbers by over 13,000 votes). A total of 64,207 votes were casted in 2012 compared to only 45,114 in 2010. Therefore, it is very reasonable to expect that in 2014, the amount of votes that are casted will go back down closer to the 45,000 range because of it being an off year election and therefore lower voter turnout. If Democrats stay home, the Republican candidate can possibly win Rock Island County and have an easier time winning the 17th.

Another question being asked is ‘why was it lost in the first place?’ The district went from a Democratic +3 district in 2010 to a Democratic +7 district in 2012. Only 47 percent of the old 17th District from 2010 was placed in the new district in 2012 meaning the incumbent advantage was erased in over half of the district. There were over 90,000 more people that voted district wide in 2012 than in 2010 and in a Democratic leaning district an increase in 90,000 votes is a toxic statistic to any Republican candidate. Obviously, the reason for so many more ballots being cast is because it was a Presidential year. President Obama is still very popular in Illinois and he gave every Democratic candidate in Illinois a bit of a bump with having his name alongside them on the ballot.

Can the 17th district be reclaimed by Bobby Schilling? That is the million dollar question (more likely multi-million dollar question if he does run.) I am confident he can. Even though the numbers show that the district now leans farther to the left, Schilling was able to win in 2010 because he was an independent mind strong enough to stand up to outside pressure. Schilling showed that time and time again in Congress and could have the opportunity to do so some more if he takes the opportunity next year.


Manzullo’s term ends

It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. As I leave office this week, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support the last 20 years. Below is my final speech I submitted for the record last week and a link to an abridged version of the speech I delivered on the House floor this afternoon.

Mr. Speaker,

It’s difficult for me to come to the floor today after 20 years in Congress and say “goodbye” to my constituents and fellow colleagues.

When I was ten years old, I decided I wanted to be a Member of the United States House of Representatives. I want to thank everybody for making possible my boyhood dream. After I graduated from law school, I immediately settled in a town of 3,500 people, Oregon, Illinois, the county seat of Ogle County. I raised beef cattle on a small farm, and at age 38 met Freda, the woman who changed my life dramatically.

In 1990, I ran for Congress and lost in the primary.  I decided I would not run again, until Freda encouraged me to fulfill that boyhood dream.  In 1992, I won the March primary and the November election against incredible odds.  How this unknown country lawyer, with no political experience and who lives outside a town of 42 people, could get elected to Congress is a testament to what we call the “American Dream.”

During the Freshmen retreat in Baltimore, Kay Cole James, who later became President George W. Bush’s Director of the Office of Personnel Management, warned us that if we ever took for granted the magnificence of the great monuments in Washington – the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington monuments – then it was time to leave.  Every time I’ve seen those monuments – now thousands of times after 20 years – I’ve thought of Kay’s wise counsel.  And I’ve never grown tired of seeing them and what they stand for.

Swearing-in day, the first week of January of 1993, was overwhelming.  I saw my name on the voting board and saw Mom and Freda in the gallery.  Our three kids were on the floor of the House with me.  As the time came for us to raise our right hands to be sworn in, my life paraded in front of me within a few seconds:  the little 10-year-old boy dreaming of this very moment, the virtually unbeatable odds to get elected, the unspeakable honor of becoming a Member of the House of Representatives, the lives given on battlefields to preserve this country’s government, the people who had served from the time of the First Congress under the Constitution.

On swearing-in day, our family made a special trip to view the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives, where it was on display only for a few days.  We had to get permission to get in before regular hours.  Just the five of us stood in front of that document, and my heart pounded.  I was from his state.  He gave his life to protect the God-given freedom of others.

(The newspaper article written about that experience with the Emancipation Proclamation caught the eye of Loretta Carter Haynes, whose family members generations ago were slaves in Washington, D.C.  For years she had been trying to get the National Park Service to ring the bells in the Old Post Office in downtown Washington to commemorate the District of Columbia emancipation act of April 16, 1862, which predated the more famous proclamation by Lincoln six months later.  Our office intervened, and today those bells ring faithfully every April 16).

As the Speaker started the ceremony and asked us to raise our right hands and repeat the Oath, my eyes were flooded and my voice crackled as I tried to repeat the words of office, but was unable to voice them because of the awesomeness of the occasion.  The kids looked at me then and at the next nine swearing-ins, when the same thing happened every time.  This, perhaps, was one of those monuments of which Kay Cole James had spoken.

Committee Assignments are very important in Congress, but I chose two committees that many Members shy away from:  Small Business, because I had been raised in small business my entire life and could relate to the people running small businesses, and Foreign Affairs, where I had developed an interest in international relations, especially Asia, when I studied at American University in Washington between 1964 and 1967.  Four years later, I was also appointed to what is now known as the Financial Services Committee.

It’s hard to imagine the significance of my choosing Small Business and Foreign Affairs committees, especially since few Members ever ask for them as their first choice.  I eventually became the Chairman of the Small Business Committee in 2001, where I expanded the services of the Small Business Administration while cutting unneeded personnel by 25 percent and its budget by nearly $300 million dollars over the course of my six-year term.  Because of my interest in Asia and service on Foreign Affairs, the Speaker appointed me as the first Chairman of the US-China Inter-parliamentary Exchange.

There was an Exchange meeting in Beijing between me and President Jiang Zemin in 2003.  As we were discussing various issues, I asked myself and prayed how I ended up with this great honor of representing the House of Representatives.

People have asked what I consider to be the most memorable events of my career.  Was it interacting with presidents?  Meeting a certain foreign leader?  No:  it has been the opportunity to mentor students and many of my young staff.

In November of this year, I received a note from a constituent who also attends the same church as I do in Leaf River.  He had helped in our 2012 primary.  He wrote to me thanking me for a conversation I had with him in November of 1999 while he attended an annual Youth Conference I hosted.  In his letter to me, he stated: “I shared with you some of the struggles I was experiencing as a new Christian in a hostile high school environment.  Your words of encouragement touched me deeply, and you wrote me a note in my little book that I have kept for almost 13 years.  I scanned this note today and wanted to send it to you as a way of saying thank you for being a mentor to me, both when I was just a kid in high school and now as an adult who is interested in a career in public service.  Your model for serving the people of the United States as an extension of your service to God is something worthy of great respect and admiration.”   He then attached a copy of the note I had written him: “November 19, 1999.  Adam, continue to believe that people who really care need to stay involved, even when circumstances dictate the opposite.  Be of good cheer.  God Bless. Donald Manzullo, United States Congress.”

I’ve always believed that God has a purpose and a plan for every life.  After the 2012 primary, Freda and I received a letter from a lady who attends our church in Leaf River: “I know God has a plan for your lives so I’m not going to say I’m sorry about the outcome of the election—‘cause I’m not.  It’s just time to put your fishing boat and nets away, and ‘Follow him.’” Where He leads, I don’t know.

In closing, my mind goes back to my dear, fellow Illinois congressman, Abraham Lincoln, who, in his Gettysburg address, stated: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but we can never forget what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”

Years from now no one may remember the many times I spoke on this House floor or the causes I championed.  People might look at my portrait hanging in the Small Business Committee hearing room and wonder, “Who is he?”  But the answer is simple.  We all have a part in Lincoln’s unfinished work.  I am just one man, whose deep love for this country caused him to leave his private sector job and enter into a life of public service.  For that great honor, I will always be grateful to the citizens of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois who allowed me to serve on their behalf.  I encourage all Members to truly remember who they represent:  not a political party; not organizations but people.

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Dale Dorch for the Illinois State House of Representatives


For the first time in its history, Illinois Conservatives are announcing its support of a candidate that is not a member of the Republican Party.  As a member of the Constitution Party, Dorch is running for Illinois State House of Representatives in the 117th district.  Dorch is the first Constitution Party candidate to ever get on the ballot for the Illinois State House. Dorch is running against Incumbent Democrat John Bradley and Republican Chris McCann 

Dorch’s political platform includes fiscal responsibility, including cutting taxes.  He is opposed to the infringement of Second Amendment rights, and supports passage conceal carry in Illinois.  Dorch also believes in the sanctity of life, from conception with out exceptions, As Dale says “It’s not the baby’s fault and the baby should not be murdered.”  Finally, he views the U.S. Constitution as a legally binding document and, as representative, Dale Dorch will defend the constitution and fight for the rights of the state under the constitution.  

When told about the endorsement Dale Dorch said “I am honored to receive the endorsement of such a well-respected and principled group such as the Illinois Conservatives. As a Constitution Party candidate I knew this would be an uphill campaign, but with the support of the Illinois Conservatives I don’t feel alone in the fight for true reform.”

As President of the Illinois Conservatives I believe that this is an important endorsement for the group. Dale Dorch is a successful small business owner and would bring a lot of insight to the Illinois State House. The Illinois Conservatives are proud to endorse Constitution Candidate Dale Dorch for State Representative in the 117th district.” added Zach Oltmanns President of the Illinois Conservatives. 

 

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Democratic Super PAC uses unauthorized video of Illinois Conservative members

On the days prior to the Presidential Debate, it is now time to see a rise in the frequency of TV political advertisements for various candidates. October is the last full month before the election on November 6th, and this is a critical month to sway last minute undecided voters one way or another. While we can all expect that the commercials will have something to do with explaining the candidate it is in support of, attacking the candidate’s opponent, or simply a compare and contrast of the different issues at hand, there is something sinister and disturbing is at play in the race for the Illinois 17th congressional district.

A video for a commercial in support of Democrat candidate Cheri Bustos has played throughout the district. In this commercial, the first several seconds shows a photo of Republican incumbent Congressman Robert Schilling at a private barbeque event and features Illinois Conservatives founder Zachary Oltmanns and myself. The photo was taken by a member of a Pro-Bustos SuperPAC which had gained unauthorized entrance into the event and furthermore, illegally took the photo and displayed onto a tv commercial without the permission of Oltmanns or myself. Now we certainly know how campaigns can get when it is an intense race, and that it can turn ugly toward the final stretch. However, this is completely out of line, and we expect more out of Cheri Bustos. This is someone who is running as the congressional representative for the 17th district, and to rely on a member of a SuperPAC to sneak into private events and post photos of those attending without permission is not only wrong, it shows incredibly poor judgment on her part.

We with the Illinois Conservatives organization are extremely disappointed by the Bustos Campaign having to resort to these tactics in the final weeks of the election. We realize she has come under heavy fire for a number of her policies that include a bring-back tax to penalize companies attempting to bring jobs back into the country, and during her tenure with the East Moline City council voted numerous times to increase taxes on working families. However, their frustations should not warrant posting up a last-minute made commercial using a photo without the authorization of those in it. This is most certainly not legal and a negative distraction that they absolutely did not need at this point.

Therefore, we with the Illinois Conservatives organization, with members throughout the state, demand the Bustos Campaign halt any more use of the commercial. If there are any more photos that the campaign or its supporting SuperPAC has in its collection for future use of commercials or literature that includes Zachary Oltmanns or myself, we would appreciate first being contacted and asked for permission BEFORE it is used.

 

By: Demetri Broches