Jim Durkin, Illinois House 82nd District Republican nominee, incumbent

Candidate profile

Jim Durkin

Running for: 82nd District House Seat

Political party affiliation: Republican

Political/civic background: Served in the Illinois House of Representatives from January 1995-January 2003, and January 2006-present

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Fenwick High School, Illinois State University, John Marshall Law School

Campaign website: www.jimdurkin.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jimdurkin82

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jimdurkin82


The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Jim Durkin submitted the following responses:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.

Let’s start with what should NOT have happened: the Democrats and Governor Pritzker passed a partisan budget that was $5 billion out of balance. Balancing the state’s budget on hypothetical, hopeful revenues has proven to be a disaster year after year, and these irresponsible and negligent budgets have plunged our state further into debt. At no point were Republicans brought into the negotiations, and that is unfortunate for all of Illinois.

2. What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?

Being Governor in Illinois is a tough job on the best of days, and I do not envy the choices a governor has to make. However, we have seen Governor Pritzker put over a million Illinois residents out of work with the stroke of a pen without having a functional unemployment system. To this day, the IDES system is a complete disaster and it’s at the expense of those who are desperate to put food on the table for their families.

We all understand that we are living in unprecedented times, but the General Assembly is a co-equal branch of government and should be doing its job. The Governor continues to run state government via executive order over and over again. Myself and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle did not abdicate our constitutional responsibilities during this pandemic. Our governor cannot rule with unilateral authority.

3. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, legislatures in some states have taken up the issue of police reform. Should Illinois do the same? If so, what would that look like?

I am a reasonable lawmaker and have a reputation as one who works together with all members and stakeholders (regardless of party affiliation) to come up with good solutions to problems in our state. Coming from a law enforcement background as a former prosecutor at Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, I would like to work together with my colleagues to come up with thoughtful, meaningful criminal justice reforms. People in Illinois should never live in fear of their government, and unfortunately that exists today. That is unacceptable and needs to be

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Mark Batinick, Illinois House 97th District Republican nominee and incumbent.

Candidate profile

Mark Batinick

Running for: 97th District IL House

Political party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Commercial Real Estate Agent

Education: Business Education 1992 University of Illinois

Campaign website: MarkBatinick.com

Facebook: Mark Batinick campaign, State Representative Mark Batinick official

Twitter: @mbatinick


The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Mark Batinick submitted the following responses:

The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.

There needs to be a multi-prong approach to this issue. The federal government has given the state billions of dollars in assistance. Unfortunately, the assistance comes with significant strings attached to it. Some of the necessary response costs are covered while others are not. Giving the states more flexibility in spending the money will incentivize efficiency while also helping to deal with the shortfall related to COVID.

Secondly, a budget shortfall is not a new problem for Illinois. We have to stop the cycle of over-spending and over-taxing, which leads to a net-out migration of higher-income earners. This type of policy-making only places a further burden on the budget. We cannot fund projects that are ineffective or inefficient. Previously, I have passed legislation changing things as small as mandates on certain types of ink usage required in printing to outdated maintenance schedules on state vehicles. I’ve also addressed larger issues by introducing legislation that led to the lump-sum optional pension buyout. This program has been over-subscribed and can be expanded.

What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?

Solid B. The Governor acted relatively quickly to halt the spread of the pandemic. Decisions made hastily aren’t usually perfect but in this instance there was definitely more good than bad. The Governor certainly listened to some of my suggestions. I was the first elected state official to push for the use of face coverings indoors. I started a local campaign and gave away PPE to help make that happen. He acknowledged my efforts publicly several times. Being a Republican pushing early for the use of masks also made it much easier for him to implement their use statewide. People forget that early in the Pandemic there was a lot of pushback against the face covering requirement. It is always helpful for significant policy decisions to have bi-partisan support. My initial conversations to him about this were the end of March with an open letter mid-April. The requirement was put in place at the beginning of May. I wish it has been put in place even sooner.

Big box stores were allowed to stay open and sell all of their items while small businesses selling the same items

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Steve Reick, Illinois House 63rd District Republican nominee, incumbent

Candidate profile

Steve Reick

Running for: IL House District 63

Political party affiliation: Republican

Political/civic background: Incumbent Representative

Occupation: Tax Attorney (Retired)

Education: University of Illinois (B.S. Accountancy, 1975) and University of Georgia (J.D, Masters of Accountancy, 1980)

Campaign website: ILikeReick.com

Facebook: Steve Reick


The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Steve Reick submitted the following responses:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.

I would like to have seen more of an effort to cut costs before borrowing money. Businesses and households throughout the State were tightening their belts, but State government didn’t do its part. Other states didn’t hesitate to trim payroll, why couldn’t we? At least the level of borrowing would’ve been lower. Going forward, Illinois is going to have to trim a lot out of future budgets to come up with the money to repay this obligation. I’m ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make those hard choices.

2. What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?

I’m going to give him a “B-” on the public health part. He was blindsided by the pandemic just as much as we were, and I’m not going to fault him for his initial reaction from a public health perspective. I opposed his plan of putting McHenry County into the same region as Chicago, a decision which was partly rationalized by the fact that METRA comes out here, but when ridership fell by 95%, that excuse fell flat. Also, he sent mixed signals, as did so many others, by giving the protests a pass on his public health orders and holding public events at churches and daycare centers immediately after attending rallies. He should’ve self-quarantined until he found out he’d tested negative, which took almost a week.

On the economic side, I’m giving him a “D”. There was no rational reason why big box stores were allowed to stay open while Main Street establishments were forced to close. If, God forbid, we see a resurgence of the disease, I hope he’ll have learned that small businesses can work within safe guidelines just as the big boxes did and thus have a fighting chance of staying in business. His attempt to assess criminal penalties against business owners in May was a fiasco both from a policy and a political perspective. As a member of JCAR, I was taken totally by surprise by those rules, and we had little choice but to file a motion to suspend. I didn’t support the new rules just issued because statutory law should

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Yesoe Yoon, Illinois House 17th District Republican nominee

Candidate profile

Yesoe Yoon

Running for: Illinois State House of Representative – 17th District

Political party affiliation: Republican Party

Political/civic background: Village of Skokie Human Relations Commissioner

Occupation: Neiman Marcus Amore Pacific Counter Manager & Win TV Global Leaders Network TV Host

Education: DePaul University (Master in Public Administration) & Northeastern Illinois University

Campaign website: yoonyesoe.com

Facebook: facebook.com/YesoeYoonforIllinois

Twitter: twitter.com/yesoeyoon

Instagram: instagram.com/yesoeyoon


The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Yesoe Yoon submitted the following responses:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.

Our State government should cut spending by 2.5 percent in every department this year, and each additional fiscalyear in order to cover the gap of the budget shortfall. I do not support raising any taxes in Illinois since we have almost the highest taxes in the nation. Also, State pensions are out of control. Fixing that will improve the State’s credit rating and allow us to issue bonds at a much lower rate of interest. This would be a short-term solution to a budget deficit.

2. What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?

I would give an “F” since Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not cooperate with the federal government to solve the coronavirus problems strategically, but instead he had been focusing on attacking President Trump that did not help us at all. Some of our citizens could not receive any assistance when COVID 19 hit Illinois very hard in April. Our citizens were struggling to get unemployment insurance as well as assistance from damages of the looting. Also, Illinois’ law enforcement has been weakened. The focus has to be on the citizens rather than the power game of political agenda.

3. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, legislatures in some states have taken up the issue of police reform. Should Illinois do the same? If so, what would that look like?

It depends on what kind of reforms, but defunding the police is not a wise decision. I defend our police. Our legislatures should support allowing our police to give them better training and recommending to take simulation tests in order to prevent incidents like George Floyd.

4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?

I disagree since there is no privacy for the police.

5. Federal prosecutors have revealed a comprehensive scheme of bribery, ghost jobs and favoritism in subcontracting by ComEd to influence the actions of House Speaker Michael Madigan. Who’s to blame? What ethics reforms should follow? Should Madigan resign?

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Jeff Muehlfelder, Illinois House 19th District Republican nominee

Candidate profile

Jeff Muehlfelder

Running for: IL State Representative – 19th District

Political party affiliation: Republican

Political/civic background: Member of Northwest Side GOP Club – first time political candidate

Occupation: Chicago Police Detective

Education: Bachelors Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois (2000)

Campaign website: NWSGOP.com

Facebook: facebook.com/JeffFor19


The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Jeff Muehlfelder submitted the following responses:

The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.

First of all, let’s not pretend that the state’s finances would be fine if not for COVID-19. It would be dishonest to blame years of financial mismanagement on a pandemic that’s only been affecting revenues for 4 months. The only way to permanently solve the budget shortfall is to reduce discretionary spending of taxpayers’ money wherever possible while enacting policies that grow the tax base instead of driving it out of the state.

What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?

F – His overbearing unconstitutional emergency orders have not made Illinoisans any safer. They have ruined more financial lives than the pandemic alone would have while at the same time violating the constitutional rights of individuals. His top medical official Dr. Ngozi Ezike has explained that anyone who has tested positive for COVID at the time of death or who is suspected to be positive for COVID at the time of death is counted in the official COVID death statistics, regardless of whether or not COVID was the actual cause of death. If a non-symptomatic carrier of COVID dies in a car accident, they are counted as a COVID death. The COVID death statistics are intentionally artificially inflated in this manner to scare citizens into giving up their freedoms and to agreeing to expand voting by mail in a state already notorious for voter fraud – while the disease itself has proven to be less deadly than the flu for those who are young and healthy . When first amendment protected activities such as worshiping in church are classified “non-essential” and shut down while liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries are classified as “essential” and allowed to remain open, when law abiding citizens are unconstitutionally required to wear masks to transact businesses and criminals are released from prison because masks won’t protect them, when law abiding citizens are not allowed to walk a lakefront but violent rioters are encouraged to “protest” in downtown streets a short distance away, when mom and pop businesses are closed down while large corporate chains are allowed to remain open – it is not that difficult to see that despicable leftist politics

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Stephen Wright House – Paw Paw, Illinois

Before we get to the Reagan landmarks in Dixon we stop in Paw Paw, Illinois, a small village many of you Illinois residents have probably passed on Interstate 39, you know you are there when you see the large electricity generating windmills on the horizon. Before 2005 the 850 person village of Paw Paw had no properties included on the federal National Register of Historic Places. The listing of the Stephen Wright House changed that in May of that year.

After mingling amongst the windmills of the Mendota Hills Wind Farm for a bit, I made my way over to the village proper and sought out the Wright House. The house was constructed sometime between 1895 and 1906 by Paw Paw native, and real estate speculator Stephen Wright.

The home is an excellent example of Queen Anne style architecture. It very clearly illustrates the hip roof (wiki) with flanking cross gables (wiki) that is found on about 50 percent of Queen Anne style houses. The roof style is a quick way to identify many less obvious examples of Queen Anne. Viewed from the cross gables, the hip roof is less obvious, making for an interesting visual play, depending on where the viewer stands.

Tomorrow we visit our first Reagan landmark in Dixon. Paw Paw is a village in Lee County, located in northern Illinois. Norther Illinois is full of interesting places listed in the National Register of Historic Places and well worth the look for any history student or buff. Feel free to Google it and have a look for yourself.

Online Resources

Stephen Wright House: National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (PDF)

Wikipedia: Stephen Wright House, Mendota Hills Wind Farm (both by me, for you).

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