Race for 19th House District seat pits Lindsey LaPointe against Jeff Muehlfelder
by JASON MEREL
Following her March 17 primary victory in a 3-way race, Democrat incumbent Lindsey LaPointe is facing Republican challenger Jeff Muehlfelder for the 19th Illinois House District seat in the Nov. 3 election.
LaPointe was appointed last year after John Mulroe vacated his Senate post to become a judge and appointed former state Representative Robert Martwick to the Senate, leaving a vacancy.
The appointment was seen as controversial with some ward committeeman calling it a “backroom deal” between Martwick and former alderman John Arena, the former 45th ward committeeman. Martwick later said that LaPointe had the votes to be appointed and people’s attitudes were “sour grapes.”
“I believe I was appointed for two reasons,” LaPointe said. “I was the most experienced candidate at the time I sought the appointment and had experience in and outside of state government and I have been involved in my community, which is important if you’re going to represent them.”
LaPointe is an unlicensed social worker who has been involved in justice reform work with Adult Redeploy Illinois at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority as well as Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. She was also vice president of the 45th ward Democrats under Arena.
Muehlfelder, a detective with the Chicago Police Department, said he decided to run because “a radical leftist was going to be unopposed if someone didn’t run against her.”
Muehlfelder ran unopposed in the primary and said he is appealing to Republicans and voters who find themselves undecided.
“There’s that silent Trump vote that have worked union jobs their whole lives and turned out for Trump,” he said. “We’re hoping to get those people.”
Muehlfelder said his campaign platform is focused on crime and taxes.
“I’m also concerned about the general treatment of the police by the radical left in the media,” he said. “There’s not much of a voice for law enforcement in the media. I think people in this city are seeing what happens when you use this radical ideology against police officers and the people that are rioting and looting are out of jail within days. They’re making it not be a crime and that’s what happens when you’re a Marxist and don’t believe in valuing personal property.”
He said he is opposed to the “Fair Tax” amendment on the ballot this year that would change the state constitution and allow a graduated tax on different incomes, mainly those making more than $250,000 versus a flat rate tax that is currently in place in Illinois.
“This is really important because most people just see TV commercials and there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” LaPointe said. “We’re voting on an amendment that would allow a graduated income tax. Illinois is one of only nine states with a flat tax. It’s a way to make a structural change to how we tax and it will avoid the one-off taxes such as the parking meter tax.”
Illinois is joined by Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Utah as the states to use a flat tax system.
Muehlfelder said a better approach would be to make Illinois more business-friendly by offering tax incentives to bring in large corporations in order to be more competitive with neighboring states.
“We need to streamline the taxes,” he said. “We have a million different taxes and a million different ways to make it difficult for taxpayers to want to stay in Illinois. Our problem is not that we don’t tax high enough. The problem is, when we raise taxes, people leave and we kill our tax base.”
Muehlfelder also asserted that the “Fair Tax” amendment would open the state constitution up for lawmakers to eventually tax the middle class at higher rates.
“The biggest myth to bust is that it is not some guy in a room with a lever that will change the tax rates,” LaPointe said. “Tax rate changes are difficult to pass and it takes consensus from lawmakers across the state. So we can’t just push a button and change taxes without a majority vote.”
“It’s designed for certain people to pay more in taxes,” Muehlfelder contended, adding that taxing people with higher income would be unfair because people would be taxed for being successful.
LaPointe added that she was one of six House Democrats that called for House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign if subpoenas find evidence of wrongdoing surrounding ComEd’s admission of alleged bribes via Madigan’s supporters to federal prosecutors. “I think it’s the right thing to do for the Democratic Party and everything we stand for,” she said.
Muehlfelder’s campaign had $16,475.75 and LaPointe’s campaign had $39,554.20 cash-on-hand as of June 30, according to illinoissunshine.org.
Muehlfelder criticized LaPointe for being a part of “the machine” and using Madigan’s money for campaign attacks in the primary.
“They have funded campaigns with union backing. Once they decide someone will be their candidate, they just have to put them on the block and people will vote for them,” he said.
LaPointe said that she is running to create more opportunities for the people in the 19th District.
“In order to get anything done, you have to be able to work with people, listen to people and represent people that don’t agree with you 100 percent and from what I’ve seen so far, he’s utterly lacking in that regard,” LaPointe said.