Illinois residents 'can’t afford the status quo and the politicians who benefit from it'
Republican Michelle Smith, campaigning for a state Senate seat in District 49, sharply reproached her opponent in the race, Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D), following this week’s failed budget vote in Springfield.
“State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant refused to support a compromise to ensure schools (stay) open and core services are funded,” Smith said. “For the politicians in Springfield, this is about protecting their own power and playing political games. Our schools in our community will open in the fall, but I’m not sure for how long.”
Just before ending the spring legislative session on Tuesday, the Illinois Senate killed House Speaker Mike Madigan’s unbalanced budget plan, which would have spent more than $40 billion despite 2017’s predicted revenue of only $33 billion. The flawed proposal encountered strong bipartisan opposition, ultimately failing in a vote of 17-31.
“Spring session is over, Madigan and the Democrats are destroying our state,” Smith wrote on her Facebook page that same day. “I promise if I am elected to the State Senate that I will (fulfill) my obligation to the taxpayers and not be a bobblehead.”
To Smith’s chagrin, Madigan bypassed months of negotiations and meetings attempting to reach a working compromise between Democrats and the governor in presenting his own lopsided budget.
“It is paramount (that) both sides put their egos to the side and work together to pass a budget,” she said. “It is time for them to put their political differences to the side and do what is right for those they represent. Our children deserve better!”
Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republicans attempted to compromise with Democrats by proposing a stopgap budget that would guarantee schools would open in the fall, and state agencies and prisons would continue running. The Republican proposal was balanced and required no new taxes, but Madigan (D-District 22), Senate President John Cullerton (D-District 6) and other Democrats rejected the plan.
Madigan’s flawed proposal would allot $7.2 billion more than the state takes in. Moreover, it contained no financial reforms or revised spending priorities, and would raise the taxes for the average family by $1,000 each year.
“I’m running for office because too many people are being hurt and ignored by these same politicians,” Smith stated. “They can’t afford the status quo and the politicians who benefit from it. The people of our community need leaders in Springfield fighting for their interests.”
Smith is a mother of four and currently serves as president of District 202’s board of education, Illinois’ fourth largest school district. Additionally, she runs a family-owned business with her husband.
“I will not be just another politician,” Smith said. “When elected … I will work with anyone who is serious about serious change in Springfield.”
Organizations in this Story