Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City)
Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) breathes a sigh of relief at the thought that voters across the state seem to be making a critical connection that may just help turn things around in November.
“We’re not going to be able to fix our fiscal crisis without responsible government,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “It’s good to hear voters are concerned about good and honest government because we have a shortage of that right now. I’m excited that voters seem to be making that connection. Now, hopefully, they’re ready to make a stand for it.”
A new Illinois Education Association survey finds that voters rate “cleaning up corruption in state government” as an issue even more important than “having high-quality public schools,” “reducing crime” and “lowering taxes.” Researchers found that 69 percent of all respondents ranked having clean government a 10 on a 0-10 scale, and 85 percent of them rated it as an eight or higher.
Former Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago)
“It definitely encourages me to keep driving forward,” Wilhour said. “There are times you feel like you’re out there in the political wilderness giving [a voice to] our minority in Springfield, but this lets you know that you don’t stop advocating for the right thing.”
The results of the survey were made public shortly after former state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges after taking $250,000 from one of the state’s biggest red-light camera companies in exchange for favorable voting as chairman of the powerful Senate Transportation Committee. ABC News reports that over the last two decades, Illinois easily tops U.S. states with 891 corruption convictions.
“Voters need to remember this and, come Election Day, they need to send every candidate who doesn’t want ethics reforms or won’t pledge not to support [Illinois House Speaker] Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) back home because they’re not focusing on the right things,” Wilhour said. “The time for us to get serious is here and now.”