2 months ago from dailyjournal.com
Jim Durkin was backing Dillard, but that was before his new post
From from dailyjournal.com:
What needs to be done to make the Republican Party relevant again in Illinois?
It's a question of message and timing. We have spent the last two major elections running against a very popular president in Illinois. Thankfully, that is not going to happen again.
We have been losing ground with independent voters. Both parties have been losing regular voters to independents. Both parties are shrinking. The latest poll I saw showed 23 percent of voters in Illinois identifying themselves as Republicans and 30 percent of voters identifying themselves as Democrats. The balance are independents.
Democrats have done a better job selecting and grooming young candidates. They have been thinking two- to three-cycles ahead and we have not.
How can Republicans win more seats back in the Illinois House?
When we lost the governor's race, we lost any control of the redistricting process. The Democrats were sharp and they drew up a nearly impenetrable map.
The recession has hurt Republicans, too. We are catching blame, unjustly. There is a thought that all Republicans are white collar country club members — bluebloods. That's not true.
We have to tell people that we are pro-family, committed to lowering taxes and making government less onerous.
Does it seem strange that Republicans catch blame for the economy?
It's perplexing in Illinois because the Democrats are in charge and the state unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. If we're not the worst, we are very near the bottom.
How should Illinois solve the problem of its pension deficit?
First, this is not completely a "we" problem. We all have to solve it now, but Republicans were not the ones who voted for the pension holiday (stopping to make the pension payments).
The reality is that we can no longer afford the three percent compounded pension increase every year. I apologize, but that's the way it has to be.
I do think we can keep the defined benefit program if the state makes its payments and the contributions are increased.
What we have is not sustainable. We cannot have any more pension holidays or pension sweeteners. Without a solution we will have young families leaving Illinois because they don't want to absorb the legacy debt.
What can be done to get the Illinois economy back on track?
I don't understand why the Democrats insist on policies that are so anti-growth and anti-business. The legislature keeps passing bills that strain business and demonize profits.
Listen, the State of Illinois is generating enough money. We raised billions more in taxes and spent it without pension reform. The Democrats just want to keep spending.
What is your opinion of legalizing same-sex marriage?
That is really up to each and every member to vote their own district. The single greatest social issue in Illinois is not same-sex marriage. The issue is that we have so many breadwinners without a job. If there ever was a social issue, that's it.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, everyone knows how they are going to vote. And the Democrats are the ones with the power and the votes.
When there was the lame-duck legislature the Democrats managed to pass Civil Unions, end the Death Penalty and approve an income tax increase, all in 72 hours. Any time they want to do it, they can.
Who should Republicans nominate in the governors' race?
Kirk Dillard has been a friend and a great leader for years, but I told him that the House leader has to be neutral. I'm not going to stick my nose in the governor's race. I do have a good vibe about Republican chances.
My hope is that we're unified behind any nominee — Kirk Dillard, Dan Rutherford, Bill Brady or Bruce Rauner.
My job is to be a voice for this caucus (of Republicans). We want to emerge without scars and without bad feelings.