Senator Anderson: Repeal the FOID Act

By: Senator Neil Anderson State Senator for the 36th District

This spring, I introduced legislation to repeal the outdated and redundant Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Act. The FOID Act is nearly 50 years old. Advancements in technology and changes in the law over the last 50 years have made it a redundant, unnecessary burden on the citizens of Illinois.

The FOID Act was put in place back in 1968 to identify people who were eligible to own firearms and ammunition, and to meet the requirements of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. A lot has changed since then. Now, we have access to instant background checks and web-based criminal databases operated by law enforcement. The requirements set out in the FOID Act have outlived their necessity.

Today, Illinois is the only state in the nation that requires such a permit to purchase or possess guns and ammunition. My legislation would repeal the FOID Act in its entirety. However, it will not change Illinois’ current concealed carry law, or change any of the current restrictions against felons possessing firearms. Federal background checks that are required before a firearm can be purchased will remain in place to ensure those who are not legally eligible are not allowed to buy a gun.

My legislation doesn’t expand concealed carry or make it easier for criminals to buy guns. It simply repeals an outdated law that places unnecessary burdens on the citizens of this state.

 

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CPS’ lawsuit shines light on its own bad fiscal practices

There are a lot of uniquely bad budgetary practices in Illinois that if ceased now, could save taxpayers millions.

This is important to remember not only in the context of budget negotiations, but also when judging different groups’ complaints about the budget impasse. If nothing else positive, the impasse has brought certain bad practice to light.

This could not be more evident than with a lawsuit this week coming from Chicago Public Schools, or CPS. CPS is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois State Board of Education, accusing the state of employing “separate and unequal systems of funding for public education in Illinois.”

The lawsuit asks that the state be found in violation of the Illinois Civil Rights Act for maintaining what CPS calls “separate and unequal” systems for funding school districts and pension obligations. The lawsuit points out that most CPS students are minorities and poor, while public school students in the rest of the state are “predominantly white.”

CPS could be right that there is some sort of discriminatory element to the district – but more so in the fact that poor and minority students are sentenced to terrible schools by their zip code. And that CPS has blocked charter school expansion in the city at the Chicago Teachers Union’s wishes.

But what CPS is not right about is the reasons for fiscal crisis. The district’s financial problem is not due to a lack of money. The district spends an exorbitant amount of money, including on some of the highest paid teachers and administrators throughout the country. Beyond that, the district – like many others across the state – engages in the irresponsible practice of pension pickups.

Since 1981, when it was negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement, CPS has been picking up part of teachers’ pension payments each year, meaning the district (and by extension, taxpayers) has been paying 7 percent of the teachers’ 9 percent payment. This practice has cost the district $1.2 billion alone in the last decade.

It’s unsustainable, reckless practice that pushes money out of classrooms.

Pension pickups are just one part of the burden teachers’ pensions impose on taxpayers. Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, does the pension system for teachers outside of CPS, does the same thing and has admitted it can’t meet the lofty investment return targets it previously had set for itself, leaving taxpayers with the tab for the shortfall. And TRS’ mismanagement mirrors CPS. TRS’ pension pickups cost taxpayers $134 million in fiscal year 2015 alone.

TRS’s investment return failures combined with pension pickups mean taxpayers are getting hit by pension costs on three sides. First, taxpayers pay the state’s employer pension contribution through income taxes. Second, many pick up their teachers’ required contributions through local property taxes. And finally, taxpayers have been solely responsible for bailing out the billions in pension fund failures.

Now, at the crux of CPS’ lawsuit, is the district asking for more funding, which would be at the expense of taxpayers throughout the state. Downstate taxpayers – who are already paying for their own districts – would have to bail out a failing district in CPS.

As we examine budgetary priorities during the state’s budget impasse, complaints like that in CPS’ lawsuit should be met with heavy skepticism. The district has been mismanaged and is failing financially, as well as in the classroom. The district needs significant fiscal and educational reforms before asking for a bailout from Illinois taxpayers.

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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IC Exclusive: Illinois Needs Reform for Recovery

By: State Senator Kyle McCarter

 

Last fall, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU-Carbondale surveyed 1,000 Illinoisans about state government issues. 84% of registered voters told them Illinois was heading in the wrong direction. The poll, released on Oct. 10, 2016 found that taxes (27%) were the single biggest reason for leaving.

That level of dissatisfaction is not a surprise when you see what’s going on under the State Capitol Dome. The leadership in the Senate is pushing a “Grand Bargain” budget deal that is only “grand” in its demand for more taxpayer dollars. It’s certainly no “bargain.”

It calls for billions of dollars in higher taxes on income for individuals and corporations and new sales taxes on services. Working families and employers will be hit with tax rates back up to the level they were the last time income taxes were raised. That’ll cost you and I about two weeks of pay each year that the new higher tax rate is in place. In addition to the higher income taxes are dozens of new taxes on common everyday services we purchase. The Grand Bargain calls for sales taxes on cable and satellite TV, car repairs, dry cleaning, tickets to sporting events, club memberships, landscaping and many more services, too many to list without running out of space.

The last time we had a major income tax hike, 200,000 people fled Illinois to other states and Illinois continued to hemorrhage jobs, especially good-paying manufacturing jobs. While other states made adjustments to improve their business/jobs climate, following the 2008/2009 recession, Illinois kept it “business-as-usual.”

There is amazing creativity in Springfield when it comes to taking money out of people’s pockets, but there appears to be no creativity when it comes to reducing government spending and fiscal responsibility. Shrinking the size of government means more Liberty for the people. Unfortunately, it appears some people haven’t learned from past mistakes and instead are once again taking the path of penalizing the taxpayers.

I’ve heard from many people who are upset about what’s happening in Springfield. Here are just a few of the comments:

 

  • “Our company employs over 30 people…Our disgust with this state, the excess of Workers’ Comp and tax costs has reached a boiling point. With the introduction of the Grand Bargain…we had a vote of our board members…and made a unanimous decision to take the costly step of moving our entire business to Indiana.”
  • “Since I’m an owner of a 20-employee business and it looks like Illinois is not going to help me, I’m moving 12 miles west across the river. Just sad.”
  • My son-in-law and I own and operate a landscaping business in Fairview Heights. We are struggling with Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums. We have an excellent reputation…But, the burden is being placed on us by the State of Illinois. This burden is almost too much to bear, so much so that we are discouraged from growing the business and hiring more employees.”

 

While none of the tax increases included in the Grand Bargain have passed, just the talk of new and higher taxes is driving businesses out of state. It’s a signal that Illinois government just doesn’t get it. There’s no respect for those who are working hard and paying the taxes in this state.

There are options to the raise-taxes-or-the-sky-will-fall attitude at the Capitol that surrounds the Grand Bargain budget deal, but establishment politicians don’t want to consider alternatives.

Since 2011, I have offered ideas to balance the state budget, pay off billions of dollars in old bills, eliminate budget debt and address the public pension debt bomb Illinois is leaving to our children and grandchildren. None of these plans includes taking money from the pockets of Illinois taxpayers, rather they would ensure taxpayers keep more of their money. Unfortunately, these ideas were rejected because they required smaller government and less power for Springfield. Smaller government equals greater freedom for the people. Illinois government cannot demand a level of government the people cannot afford. Good things can come out of smaller government. Churches can do more and private charities can do more.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who successfully shrank state government and championed fiscal responsibility once said, “You will be amazed how much government people can live without, once it’s gone.”Changing the budget process to make taxpayers the priority and get Illinois’ fiscal house in order is just one step of reform state government needs and Illinoisans deserve. As the comments above indicate, there are burdensome regulations – like Workers’ Compensation – that hamstring employers, limit business growth and squash job creation.

Illinois has the highest Workers’ Comp rates in the Midwest. We are losing employers, especially manufacturers, to other states where they can save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Our current Workers’ Compensation System lacks one key component that could make a positive difference. It’s called “causation.” Adding a causation standard to the System would ensure employers are treated fairly and injured workers would receive the medical care they need to quickly to return to work. Causation is defined as the workplace being the majority cause of the injury or illness. Such a standard appears logical, but under current Illinois law an employer who is found to be only 25% responsible for an injury or illness, would still have to pay for 100% of the claim.

Why does Illinois government stubbornly refuse to address the fundamental causes of its economic decline? Why would we repeat the mistakes of the past and run people out of this state? Let’s demand Illinois’ leaders move us in the right direction. Let’s demand this government live within its means, just like you and I have to in our families and businesses. Let’s remind Republicans who claim to be against big government that the solution to this problem is smaller government instead of higher taxes.

I urge you to contact your Representatives and Senators. Ask them to answer these questions and respond to our demands. Tell them to vote no on the Grand Bargain’s new and higher taxes. Tell them, #HandsOFFMyMoney!

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Could Mark Kirk Hurt Down Ticket Republicans if He Runs in 2016

200px-Mark_Steven_Kirk,_official_photo_portrait_colorIn 2010 Mark Kirk won in the highly contested U.S. Senate race against Alexi Giannoulias (D). However, his win didn’t translate to many other GOP victories in the state. The Republican nominees for governor Bill Brady and Lt Governor Jason Plummer both lost in a extremely tight race. Mark Kirk received much of his support from Independents and Blue-Dog Democrats, and because of that very few down ticket Republicans benefited from him being on the ticket. The status of the Republican Party in Illinois is still very weak even after the Bruce Rauner win in 2014. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has already announced a run against Senator Kirk. Duckworth will be one of, if not the top, candidates that the Democrats will put out in the entire nation. Senator Kirk continues to have health issues after his heartbreaking and debilitating stroke. Senator Mark Kirk appears to be the most endangered Republican Incumbent Senator in 2016. Duckworth will no doubt have a lot of money to spend and she already has a big backing nationally.

The Republicans need to have a candidate that rallies the base. If the base gets excited and turns out, that could help the Republicans in the Illinois House pick up the one seat they need to breaking the super majority in Springfield. Breaking the super majority in Springfield would give Governor Rauner more flexibility in Springfield. One might ask what Republicans in Illinois excite the base? Some of the following come to mind: former Congresssman Bobby Schilling from the 17th District, former Lt Governor nominee Jason Plummer, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger from the 16th District. In Kinzinger’s case, despite having strained ties with many conservative groups, such a run could help mend the fences if he is the nominee and goes against Duckworth.

The consensus among many Republicans both in Illinois and in DC is that Senator Mark Kirk does not have the capability to run an active and energetic campaign against a solid campaigner like Duckworth who can rake in big campaign bucks and a state that has typically been blue for a number of years. With 2016 being a Presidential year and many democrats being very excited about Tammy Duckworth being the likely nominee the odds of the Republicans losing in a landslide in Illinois is heightened. The Republicans could lose seats in both the Illinois House and Senate where the Democrats already have the super majority. Without a strong Senate candidate Republicans could also lose in the 10th district where a rematch has already been set up against Robert Dold and Brad Schneider.

Senator Kirk has served with honor in the military and has had a successful political career running for Congress and for US Senate as a Republican in the home state of President Obama. If Senator Mark Kirk wishes for his seat to remain in Republican hands, it is best he step aside and allow a Schilling, Plummer or Kinzinger to step up and run an active and energetic campaign to defeat the Democrat Machine’s Tammy Duckworth.

Property Taxes: Who’s to Blame and How to Stop Their Growth

Across the State of Illinois, except for Cook County,  taxpayers will be receiving their property tax bills in the mail.  For most this will cause outrage over how high these taxes are.  Here are a few facts:

PropertyTax2010CountyList1

As you can see 5 of the top 30 counties with the highest property taxes are here in Illinois.  So who is to blame for these high taxes and how can we stop them from increasing so fast?

First, a few definitions:

Levy – The amount of tax dollars the taxing body is requesting from the county tax extension office each year. A levy is a tax.

Extension – The actual amount of tax dollars allowed, based on tax rate, that the tax extension office is allowed to tax property owners and requested in the levy. An extension is the actual levy taxed.

Assessment – The assessed value of the property and improvements (buildings). This is not a tax, but what the shared tax liability is based on.

Tax Rate – The calculated rate that will be multiplied with 1/3 of the assessed value to get the actual tax dollars it will cost each property owner.  (Cook County is 1/6)

PTELL (Tax Cap) – Property Tax Extension Limitation Law that prevents taxing bodies from increases their extended tax by the lesser of CPI (Consumer Price Index) or 5%.

Maximum Rate – The maximum allowable rate that can be extended in each fund per taxing body

First we must know who is at fault for the tax increases.

  • Is the assessor at fault?
  • Is the taxing body at fault?
  • Is it the legislature in Springfield?

Here is a simple chart to show you it’s the taxing bodies increasing their levy every year.  Detail for this chart are the bottom if you want to read further.

PropertyTaxIncreaseCause

Tax rates fluctuate up and down in the opposite direction as the assessments. So when you hear a taxing body saying the tax rate went down, its because the assessment went up. Taxing bodies use this trick to claim they are lowering taxes when in fact they could have, and probably did, raise taxes.

Illinois has approximately 7000 taxing bodies, over 2000 more than the next closest state, Pennsylvania.  This allows property taxes of Illinois to be far above average.

Property taxes in Illinois average 2.28 percent of a home’s value, according to the Urban Institute. In New Jersey, they’re 2.32 percent, and in lowest-taxing Hawaii, they’re 0.27 percent. (The lowest among mainland states is Alabama, at 0.46 percent.)

Springfield does not control property taxes directly.  They put PTELL in place to prevent increases greater than CPI.  They have also been discussing freezing property taxes.  They cannot lower the property taxes. They have increased the homestead exemption over the years and aided senior citizens and veterans. Springfield does not control the raising or lowering of property taxes, that is the sole responsibility of the taxing bodies.

So what can citizens do to stop the ever increasing property taxes?

  1. Attend local taxing body meetings and provide input.  Budget hearings start in June running through September.  Most taxing bodies build the tax increase into their budgets. Ask them if the do.  If they do, a vote for the budget is a vote for a tax increase.
  2. Attend the levy hearings which are typically October through December.  Each taxing body is different so ask by getting involved.
  3. Run for local office yourself or recruit and help others.  These elections are held in off years so 2017 is the next set of races.  On April 7th was the last round.  Voter turn out was barely over 10% in many areas.  These elections are where you can have the greatest impact on your taxes, but few bother to get involved.

Conservatives are winning the debate on spending and fiscal responsibility.  Much of the conversation out of both Springfield and Washington is about where cuts can be made and how to stop the growth of debt.  The same must be done at the local levels. The only way to do this though is to get involved, ask questions and start holding these local officials accountable for their votes.

Please feel free to contact Illinois Conservatives for help in the questions you should ask and to share the stories you have of you local taxing body, both good and bad.

Who is Really Raising Your Property Taxes by Lennie Jarratt

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History is Against Mark Kirk in 2016

KirkCapitolstairsIt’s a known fact that Sen. Mark Kirk is vulnerable in 2016.

Kirk has been generally liked by independents throughout his career, and rode a conservative wave in 2010 to claim President Barack Obama’s old seat. But, following a first term notably marred by health problems, he now will likely be matched against a formidable Democratic challenger next year in Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Factor in the fact that the conservative base isn’t wild about his voting record, and Kirk is going to have quite the uphill battle next year.

A December We Ask America poll has Kirk trailing Duckworth by less than a percentage point at 45.59 to 45, which is not a good sign for any incumbent especially considering the unlikelihood conservatives wake up tomorrow and suddenly fall in love with the freshman senator. He may even have to do battle with a GOP primary challenge before battling Duckworth.

But another grim sign for Kirk has nothing to do with a primary challenge or his struggle with the conservative base. A Kirk reelection would be historically rare for Illinois. The last Republican to win reelection to either Illinois senate seat was Charles Percy in 1978, who held what is now Sen. Dick Durbin’s seat. Percy lost reelection in 1985.

The history with the seat Kirk holds is even worse. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald chose not to seek reelection in 2004, and the next Republican to win reelection was Everett Dirksen in 1968 – the only Republican in the last 100 years to win reelection to the seat. Hence why Kirk’ victory over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in 2010 was all the more stunning.

Kirk has his share of problems heading into 2016 and is possibly the most likely incumbent Senator to lose in the country. Conservatives might not be on his side, but history definitely isn’t.

 

2016 and the US Senate Race in Illinois

200px-Mark_Steven_Kirk,_official_photo_portrait_color2016 is right around the corner, and it is time to start thinking about the U.S. Senate race and especially think about if we should elect Mark Kirk to a second term as the Junior Senator from Illinois.

Senator Kirk was elected with much fanfare back in November 2010. We knew that he wasn’t the most conservative Republican, but many conservatives, including myself, voted for him knowing that the Republican’s needed that seat to fight Obama’s agenda. However, since he has been elected he has repeatedly disappointed the very people that voted him into office in our backs.

Examples include:

  • Sole Republican to vote for Obama’s anti-2nd Amendment surgeon general nominee
  • Opposed lifting the ban of firearms at federally controlled water project sites
  • Voted in favor of the Schumer-Toomey-Manchin amendment which would require universal background checks which violates the 2nd Amendment
  • Voted to invoke cloture on the 2014 Farm Bill which despite the claims of reform spent over a billion dollars
  • Voted “Yes” on Senate Bill 336, “The Market Place Fairness Act”, which is colloquially known as the Internet Sales Tax Bill.

Terrible as his voting has been, none seemed more controversial than what he didn’t do: campaigning and actively supporting the Republican challenger Jim Oberweis against Democrat U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in 2014. When a Republican is afraid to publicly back and endorse your own party’s nominee for the second US Senate seat, it does question how much loyalty Senator Mark Kirk has to members of the Republican Party. After all, if he’s so confident of being an “independent” voice, perhaps it would be best for him to remove the “R” next to his name to truly exhibit to Illinoisans how independent he really is.

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.

Illinois 18th Congressional District: A Safe GOP Seat: Don’t Expect a True New Face

By: Andrew J. Englund

As a member of the 18th Congressional District in Illinois, I felt the need to write about the resignation of Congressman Aaron Schock, effective March 31, 2015. Don’t expect a strong conservative to take the seat in the special election. I do not want to see a carpet bagger run for the 18th district seat. There are qualified conservatives in the district, however an Illinois and national establishment Republican will likely win the seat and will hold it until he chooses to retire or is forced to resign.

I voted for Aaron Schock in 2012 and 2014. I was a part of the 17th Congressional District before the 2011 redistricting and I happily voted for Bobby Schilling in 2010. I was not yet 18 for the 2008 election. I voted for Schock because I believed that his youth would be a welcoming change in Washington D.C. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. As with so many others, he went to D.C. with the intention of changing D.C. and D.C. changed him. The corruption, money, and power in D.C. was far too appealing for Schock. Schock never faced a strong primary challenge, in the 2008 primary he received 72% of the vote and did not have a challenger in 2010, 2012, or 2014. He handily and easily won his general election campaigns: 59% in 2008, 69% in 2010, 74% in 2012, and 74% in 2014.

Illinois 18 is a safe GOP seat, according to the Cook PVI it is R+11. It has been in Republican hands since 1939. Jessie Sumner held the seat from 1939-1947. Edward Jenison held the seat from 1947-1949. Harold Velde held the sea from 1949-1957. Robert Michel held the seat from 1957-1995, serving as House Minority Leader for 14 of those years. Ray LaHood held the seat from 1995-2009 and served as Obama’s Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013. For Ray LaHood’s elections he won 60% in 1994, 59% in 1996, 100% in 1998, 67% in 2000, 100% in 2002, 70% in 2004, and 67% in 2006.

The seat is safe, now is the chance for the constituents of Illinois 18 to choose a conservative. Illinois 18 has not had a consistent conservative in the seat. Aaron Schock has a 75% American Conservative Union (ACU) lifetime rating, with a 52% rating in 2013. In his freshman year (2009) he had an ACU rating of 92%, he had a promising start. Ray LaHood has a 70% ACU lifetime rating, with a 36% rating in his final year (2008).

Schock’s frivolous spending end extravagant lifestyle is common knowledge. He ignored his constituency and focused on self-promotion. He had potential, however he fell into the swamp that is Washington D.C. and was unable to rise above that swamp. I still like Schock as an individual, but I am glad that he will no longer be my congressman. In his resignation statement, he said that he had become a distraction for the district. A truer statement has never been spoken. Thank You Congressman Schock for recognizing that you were a distraction, you had to leave.

Now onto his replacement. According to the Chicago Tribune, State Senator Darin LaHood has stated that he will run for Schock’s seat. Darin LaHood is the son of Former Congressman Ray LaHood. LaHood would not be a new face for the district. Illinois 18 deserves better than to replace Schock with his predecessor’s son. Darin LaHood does have a 100% rating in the 2013 ACU State Legislative Ratings. Former state Representative and former Lt. Governor Nominee Jil Tracy is also considering a run for the seat. Tracy has a 90% ACU rating in the 2013 ratings. Tracy would be a far better choice for the district than LaHood. She remembers her constituents and works hard for them. Tracy will have to overcome the name-recognition and political machinery advantage that LaHood will have. If Tracy runs and if she wins she would be a strong conservative voice for the 18th district.