Republican Randy Frese - 47th District State Senate
The challenger for an Illinois Senate seat in western Illinois is Randy Frese (R-Paloma). He is completing his second term as Adams County Circuit Clerk.
Frese said he is running for the Senate because state leaders are squandering opportunities for future generations, including his three daughters.
"We are just tremendously over our heads in debt in this state. There is not an area you can turn to that isn't getting paid or is backlogged for their payment. It's terrible," Frese said. "It's sad to see what's happening to the state of Illinois."
Frese said as a state senator, he would be a job facilitator rather than a job creator.
"We need to facilitate the overall environment in the state of Illinois to the point where businesses want to invest and want to grow and want to expand. Right now we're not seeing that."
He said a good example is Caterpillar, which was courted by Galesburg for a new plant. The heavy equipment maker instead chose to build elsewhere, citing concerns about the business climate in Illinois.
Frese said jobs would be his top priority if elected. He said state revenues will increase if more people are working.
Frese said Illinois needs significant reforms in its worker's compensation and TORT systems. He said causation should be part of worker's compensation reforms - workers should be required to prove an injury was suffered on the job rather than at home or elsewhere.
Frese said the Medicaid reform passed by the Legislature this year was needed but he opposed the idea of increasing the cigarette tax to raise money for the program. He said instead of implementing "pinpointed taxation laws" the state should go after fraud within the system. He said non-residents are receiving Medicaid resources from Illinois.
Frese said he's held a lot of conversations with people about the state's deep pension system debt. He said state workers have lived up to their obligations for funding the pension system while the state has not. Frese said "adjustments" might need to be made to the pension program for future state employees.
Frese said reforms can also occur by getting rid of the pension system for state lawmakers.
"I will not participate in a legislative pension, will not sign up for it, and will introduce legislation to just eliminate it," Frese said. He would prefer a 401 (K) style program for lawmakers. He said if elimination of the program saves even one dollar it would be worth it, "..and it's going to save a lot more than one dollar."
Frese opposed the gambling expansion bill approved by lawmakers this year (a measure vetoed by Governor Pat Quinn). He said gambling is not the solution for the state - he said small businesses and healthy businesses can create jobs and help the state.
Frese said he grew up on farm in Adams County, attended Western Illinois University, and ran a small business for 20 years before getting involved in county government.
Frese said he would like to serve on the budget, agriculture, and higher education committees if elected. He would not seek a leadership position in the General Assembly.