GOP State House hopeful Strick says people need to be involved in their government
The constituents of Illinois are upset according to Michael Strick, Republican candidate for House District 84, who has been knocking on more than 50 doors every night.
He has been spreading the word about his NoMoreMadigan initiative, which asks candidates and incumbents alike to pledge to not vote or reappoint Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan for another term.
“Mike Madigan has been in office since 1971, and people are shocked when I tell them that,” Strick said. “Everybody out there has been crying for term limits and fair maps.”
Strick, a small business owner, said he believes that many of Illinois’ failed policies and much of its mismanagement can be traced back to the speaker.
“(The constituents) are upset that Illinois is the laughing stock of the country,” Strick said. “We’re 50th in almost every metric related to other states. I believe it all boils down to Mike Madigan being in power for 33 years as Speaker of the House. People want to hear that change is going to happen. I really want to push that on the constituents — if we get rid of Mike Madigan, change will happen in Illinois.”
So far, reception to NoMoreMadigan has been effective and positive, Strick said. State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Dist. 42), and candidates Heidi Holan and Andy Kirchoff have pledged to vote against appointing Madigan for another term. Strick has been active on social media such as Facebook to spread the message and asking others to pledge.
“We’ve been really targeting different areas with different messages about NoMoreMadigan.com.,” Strick said. “We’ve been getting a lot of traction and a lot of responses on that. People are sick of it. They are ready for someone new to come in and turn around Illinois.”
Social media has been a useful and, at times, vital tool for candidates to reach out to voters of the state. Another campaign that has gained traction on Facebook is #whenmadiganwasfirstelected, which juxtaposes images of the year when Madigan was first elected for office. While Strick has yet to see the meme, he said he finds it encouraging to see others joining in the fight to get rid of Madigan.
“All those things are coming into my campaign, and it’s nice to see that other people are getting on board with that.” Strick said.
It’s important to get people involved. He pointed to Chicago as an example of failed government and how its residents are at the receiving end of that failure.
“What I believe we need to do is just get more people involved in politics and becoming aware what is going on in Illinois,” Strick said. “Especially in Chicago with all the tax hikes they are having. (Mayor) Rahm Emanuel has just increased all the property taxes to pay for these employment liability pensions and now he is considering increasing taxes on utility bills. Chicago is just going to be taxed to death and they’re going to have a mass migration just like Detroit had. Things will get even worse.”
Strick asserted that the current status quo in Chicago and statewide is not sustainable, especially the burden placed on taxpayers.
“People are going to be taxed out of their homes,” he said. “It’s just untenable. They just can’t do that without major repercussions. I don't understand how (Chicago) can just keep going with what is happening.”
As the taxpayers struggle to maintain their livelihood, their money goes toward paying their lawmakers, who are the fifth-highest paid lawmakers in the nation with a base salary of $68,000.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Strick said. “It should be a citizen-service type job, but then we have these career politicians that have been in there forever, like Madigan. There are other politicians that have been there 25 years as well and it’s become their jobs.”
Strick said he believes the system is bloated and needs a reduction.
“I’ve always believe in limited government,” he said. “Illinois has almost 2,500 forms of government from the park district to townships and everybody is getting their share of the pie. Everybody wants to keep the status quo because they don’t want to lose their jobs.”
The small business owner uses the DuPage Forest District Preserve as an example of government excess. The area, according to Strick, has acres of land, but also has several high-paid commissioners to serve on its board. Each year, the land increases and so does the budget, Strick noted.
“They keep getting the dollars in so they want to keep spending the dollars instead of saying ‘we have enough land, let’s maintain what we got and then let’s start abating some of these taxes that come in’ and those types of things,” Strick said.
Strick compared this spending to times when he was a sales manager.
“A sales manager gets a budget for his year to spend,” Strick said. “If he doesn’t spend all the money that is in his budget, he loses it. Then his budget for next year is reduced. I see that happening in government. Government entities are given a budget and more than likely 100 percent want to spend everything that is in their budget instead of cutting back.”
This type of mismanagement and reckless spending is the reason why Strick is campaigning in Illinois. His NoMoreMadigan pledge is a step toward what he considers a better future for the state. He has called for his fellow candidates to pledge and is waiting for one specific pledge to come in: that of his opponent and the current incumbent of his district — State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit.
“I recently received a flyer from my opponent, Kifowit, who has stated that she is going against all of Madigan’s proposals and voting against some of his bills,” Strick said. "Yet I have not received her pledge that she will not vote for Madigan in the upcoming election if she is elected. So I’m still wondering why I haven’t received that pledge back from Kifowit.”
Strick concluded that Kifowit is still straddling party lines.
“If she is against Madigan and everything else, why isn’t she signing the pledge saying that she will not appoint Mike Madigan in office if she is elected?” Strick asked. “I think it is lip service from Kifowit. She is just telling her voters what they want to hear but people in the district are waking up.”
He said he is waiting for her response.
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