State Sen. Sue Rezin, a two-term incumbent Republican from Morris, is being challenged for her 38th District seat by Democrat Heidi Henry, of Marseilles, in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election.
Rezin believes compromise and a better business environment are key in helping solve Illinois’ budget issues, as well as helping lower property taxes. Businesses look at “predictability and stability,” two components now missing from state finances and operations, she said.
“Our only answer has been to tax more. We need to freeze taxes, then take a breath and make changes,” she said. The revenue loss that would result from reduced taxes would be offset by revenue raised through a strengthened economy that would follow — revenue that could also help fund pensions.
Henry, a newcomer to the political arena, says she knows firsthand the financial difficulties faced by Illinois residents, as she and her husband were swamped with debt from their son’s medical treatment. In relation, she says she’s “more like the people that live here.”
A priority for Henry is addressing school funding, which she believes should not be so heavily supported by real estate taxes. A progressive tax is a way to bring “parity” to schools, she said, adding a 1 percent tax on an annual income of $78,000 is a good place to start.
Rezin is opposed to a progressive tax, noting it would encourage more taxation.
Tackling health care costs at the state level also is one of Henry’s priorities. While Illinois cannot afford universal health care, the creation of a bigger pool of insureds would reduce costs, she said. “Everyone is one disease, one heart attack away from bankruptcy,” she said.
As far as health care, Rezin says she’s not sure government is the answer, suggesting the private sector be more involved and prices kept transparent with Medicaid reform.
The two candidates also differ on whether the minimum wage should be raised. Henry would like to see it gradually move to possibly $13 an hour — up from the current $8.25. She believes the increase wouldn’t hurt businesses, as workers would have more money to spend on products and services. Rezin says in her conversations with small business owners, they’ve told her they cannot afford a minimum wage increase.
Both candidates are open to term limits. Henry says she’ll support them if constituents want them, but campaign finance reform is a more important issue to tackle. Rezin suggested starting with term limits for party leaders, such as Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, who has held the spot for decades.
Henry described her campaign as more of a “grass seeds” effort than a “grassroots,” noting she does not have deep connections to Springfield or the Democratic Party. While we commend Henry’s reasons for running, and she claims not to have close ties to Democrats now in Springfield, her political views mirror a traditional Democrat tax and spend approach — something not helpful to fixing Illinois’ significant problems.
Rezin has a record of being able to work across party lines as well as roll up her sleeves and work directly with constituents on local issues, noting she’s “fiercely protective of my district.” She’s been instrumental in creating a flood advisory group to address local flooding issues, settling landfill issues in Sheridan and pushing to allow for a standalone emergency room in Streator. Those efforts put her ahead in this race.
Rezin is endorsed.