Chesney: Public Demanding a Government that Represents their Priorities & Values

FREEPORT, ILLINOIS – On April 16, I held my first “Politics & Pizza” event in Stockton at Main Street Parties & Events. Over 40 citizens attended to hear about what is going on in Springfield as well as ask questions and provide feedback. I was honored to host this event and privileged to hear from so many local residents, even though many are quite upset at the direction our state is headed.

Consistently, the message from citizen after engaged citizen was that our elected officials in Springfield (at least the ones from the Northeast section of our state) are not representing the priorities nor the values of the residents of Northwest Illinois. I heard that one size fits all policies (think minimum wage increase) do damage to the competitiveness of our region while having little impact on communities they aim to benefit. Are we really to believe that we’re going to move a lot of families off public assistance by increasing the minimum wage? We’ll believe it when we see it.

Gas tax increases, plastic bag taxes, and the other array of tax increases being imposed upon “taxed to the max” Illinoisans are breaking the backs of some of our most vulnerable, including seniors and those most ill-prepared to leave our state when the burden gets to be too much. All to raise money for priorities that do not represent anywhere close to the value system of our residents.

To be sure, our taxpayers want us to work together. They are rational in understanding government must address our priorities. The public seems to agree those priorities include public safety, transportation infrastructure, and a safety-net to ensure we do not leave our most vulnerable behind. Most would like to see property tax relief, government reforms, and more voter input over things like Fair Maps for redistricting our State. Nowhere included in that set of priorities are initiatives like taxpayer funding of abortions (thanks to Rauner), taxpayer funding of sex changes (thanks to Pritzker), nor allowing the same “Chicago Democrats” to have unlimited control over income tax rates without voter approval over rate increases.

I heard the message loud and clear from moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas that these are not the reasons they send their tax dollars to Springfield. Our fiscal priorities should reflect an honest notion to address cost-drivers (like taxpayer funded healthcare costs and exploding pensions) while working our way out of the debt-hole of which we have found ourselves at the bottom.

While a progressive income tax is being pitched with a “great introductory offer saving 97% of Illinoisans money”, the reality is that’s all it is. Like an introductory offer from a cable or cell provider, but in this case the contract is going to immediately be sold to Michael Madigan, Inc. Buyer beware.

While we are heading into the “end of session” crunch in a Springfield push to pass a budget on time by the end of May, I plan to hold more “Politics and Pizza” events throughout the Summer to further garner feedback and answer questions about issues facing our State. I will also be hosting a Graduated Income Tax Town Hall Meeting with neighboring Reps. Tony McCombie and Sen. Neil Anderson on May 11 at Morrison Institute of Technology at 9:00am. Please join us to learn more about this proposal and provide your feedback on this latest tax-and-spend proposal by the Democrat Governor and his supermajority in the House and Senate. It should be a great discussion about an important issue. Your input matters.

If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, you can reach Sally or me at 815-232-0774, or visit my website at

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