Martwick versus O’Toole in a bid for senator post
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Incumbent Robert Martwick calls Daniel “Danny” O’Toole a “nice guy” and a “legitimate opponent” in his bid for the 10th Illinois Senate District seat while O’Toole sees it more as a “David vs. Goliath” race in the March 17 primary election.
“It absolutely is David vs. Goliath and sometimes David wins, or should, like in the story,” O’Toole said. “We’re doing everything that we can do (campaigning) and I’m trying to get visible and obviously I don’t have the kind of money to spend that my opponent does but we are doing some mailers and going door-to-door and trying.”
O’Toole, who is a Chicago Police Department sergeant and a U.S. Marine veteran, said that residents complain about increasing taxes and are concerned about finding ways to stop people from leaving Illinois due to its financial woes.
“I have an interesting story and I’m not your typical cop,” he said. “We have to restore legitimacy in government. Not everything is solved by raising taxes. We should try term limits if it would help bring back the legitimacy in government,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole said that term limits would allow for other people who are interested in politics to be able to get elected “so that we are not beholden to the same people all the time.” “What I intend to do as senator is to listen to what the people are saying, and whether it’s airplane noise in Schiller Park or crime in Jefferson Park, I want to go to Springfield and advocate for their concerns,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole said that he was asked by a group of people involved in local politics to run but that he is focused on running a positive campaign. He said that he has heard the rhetoric against Martwick but that he is not going to go negative in his campaign.
“People who support me support me for me and I’m grateful for that. I never just sat back and bashed Martwick. I’m trying to run a positive campaign. If you want to vote for me, and like me, then vote for me. I have an interesting story to tell and I’m a decorated officer who was almost killed three times. I’m not doing this to smear the other opponent but I’m trying to bring legitimacy back to government,” he said.
Martwick, who was a state representative in the Illinois 19th House District for 6 1/2 years, was appointed senator after John Mulroe vacated the office to become a judge last year.
“He is a legitimate opponent. He’s on the ballot. I don’t have anything bad to say about him. He’s a nice guy. He has pulled a Republican ballot the last time around, but you know what, everyone is welcome to see the light. If he voted Republican in the past and now sees the light to vote Democrat I welcome him to the club with open arms,” Martwick said.
Martwick said that he would be spending about $320,000 and that he is doing 10 mailers, going door-to-door, running social media ads and having groups that support him to advocate on his behalf. O’Toole had about $12,450 cash on hand as of Dec. 31 and Martwick had about $569,785, according to campaign disclosures.
“I do get some voters who open the door and automatically say ‘You are Arena’s buddy! You and Arena are thick as thieves!'” in reference to his alliance with former alderman John Arena in the 45th Ward.
“And I say ‘Huh? You don’t like John Arena? What does that have to do with me?’ I try to tell them he (Arena) was the elected official and I worked with him like I do with others. I work with (alderman) Sposato too, are we thick as thieves too? I work with whoever is elected.
“If people are not going to vote for me because they don’t like John Arena they were not going to vote for me in the first place,” Martwick said.
Martwick said that he sought the Senate appointment because it was a good opportunity to represent more people because the district is “twice as big as the House district.”
“It’s inevitable that you will run into a wall in the House when it comes to getting bills passed,” Martwick said. “They tell you at the start of every session that you will basically get to pass five bills and that’s it so there is more freedom in the Senate, there is more freedom to assert yourself.”
Martwick said that if elected he would continue working on getting an elected Chicago school board, work to increase awareness to help get Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “Fair Tax” proposal approved by voters in November. He said that he supports the Illinois Secure Choice pilot program that is a retirement-savings program mandated by the state that employers can opt out of. For more information about the program visit www.ilsecurechoice.com. “We have a large swath of people that will be going into retirement and they have not saved enough money to do so,” he said.
Martwick said that passing the “Fair Tax” is necessary because the current state formula is unfair to the middle class and that those earning under $250,000 wound save under the proposed tax plan, a version of which Martwick authored several years ago in the House.
O’Toole said that he opposes the “Fair Tax” because “it’s just another vehicle for them to be able to raise our taxes in the end.”
O’Toole said that when the “group of people came to me and asked me to run, I sat down with my family and we thought it was the right thing to do.”
That “group,” Martwick said, may have involved 41st Ward committeeman Tim Heneghan, who sought the Senate appointment but didn’t get it last year and “he is still pretty sour about it,” Martwick said. Heneghan is retiring as committeeman.
“As far as the 41st Ward is concerned, I think that Tim Heneghan is expressing sour grapes,” Martwick said. “The appointment process is according to the law. If you’re going to sulk about it because you didn’t have the votes and begin screaming ‘back-room deal’ after you don’t get appointed I wonder if he would be screaming about back-room deals if he was appointed. Then it wouldn’t be a back-room deal?”
On addressing crime issues, Martwick said that it would be “arrogant” of him to say that “I’m going to fix crime.”
“I support a holistic approach. We need to protect victims but we are can’t waste valuable resources on non-violent offenders either. Gun crimes should be addressed but this is not the 90s when it’s ‘Lock everyone up.’ Times have changed and we need to be sensible about changing with the times when it comes to dealing with justice reform.”
O’Toole said that he has different opinions than Martwick.
“I know what crime looks like. I’m not a politician who says ‘I’m gonna be hard on crime’ and then does nothing. I’m not an expert on taxes but I will learn on the job. But I know a thing or two about crime (as a police officer) and what we need is more cops out here,” O’Toole said.
“When you look at Manhattan for example, you can look in any direction and see five cops. We need to have better visibility of police officers in Jefferson Park,” O’Toole said.