Reps discuss House victories, campaigns
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Incumbents in the 15th, 20th and 50th Illinois House districts who sailed to victories in the Nov. 4 election discussed the campaign and what may come in the future.
State Representative John D’Amico (D-15) received 15,992 votes, or 62.1 percent of the votes cast, while Republican challenger Greg Bedell received 9,775 votes, or 37.9 percent of the vote in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
"We worked extremely hard on this campaign and we knocked on more than 10,000 doors, and the hard work paid off," D’Amico said. "It turned out really well. I carried every ward in the city of Chicago and many districts in the suburbs."
D’Amico said that he treated the campaign seriously because any time there is a challenger "you do not underestimate the opposition." He said that he ran a positive campaign and tried not to go negative.
"I tried to concentrate on the good accomplishments and what we would do for the residents of the 15th District and the state," D’Amico said.
D’Amico ran on the platform that by being involved in the community and investing in schools, libraries and parks, he was able to increase property values and make his constituents’ communities "good places to live."
During a candidate forum on Oct. 22, D’Amico and Bedell had the opportunity to give 5-minute speeches regarding their campaigns, while the candidates in the 20th and 55th House districts engaged in a debate. They answered questions about how to improve the state’s economy, create jobs, address pensions, deal with O’Hare Airport jet noise and flooding among other issues.
D’Amico said that he was proud of his work on transportation bills, such as bans on texting and using hand-held cell phones while driving and graduated driver’s licenses, which he said helped reduce the death rate in the state.
D’Amico said following the election that he is not sure what will happen during the legislative "lame duck" session that will begin on Nov. 19, including the possibility that the state income tax could be made permanent.
"I’ve met him (Governor-elect Bruce Rauner) on the campaign trail and I supported Pat Quinn, but now we have a new governor and we need to put that behind us and concentrate on doing the best for our state through bipartisanship," D’Amico said.
Bedell ran on the platform of job creation, education and ending cronyism. He said at the forum that a priority is "making sure that the legislature returns the tax rate to what the law requires."
"We have to change cronyism, the corporate welfare and the backroom deals because they have resulted in bad debt and nothing left for us," Bedell said.
State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-20) received 18,604 votes, or 62.5 percent of the votes cast, and Democratic challenger Mo Khan received 11,162 votes, or 37.5 percent.
McAuliffe said that he was pleased with the results, despite what he called negative campaigning by Khan.
"The day after the debate he sent out a lot of negative mailers," McAuliffe said. "He then sent out one positive mailer where there were pictures of him and Hillary Clinton."
"I knew that he would keep trying to disrupt things, but I met with my constituents and they were very supportive," McAuliffe said. "It’s hard to run against that sort of expectation when they were telling everyone that he is a shoe-in, he’s got all this money and I knew he was trying to upset me, but once I got to the campaign office on election night and I saw the numbers, I knew I had nothing to worry about."
McAuliffe said that he ran for re-election because he wants to make sure that seniors are living comfortably, that police and fire departments have the resources that they need, and that "it’s about education, health care, jobs, economic development and prosperity."
"I did not vote for the (temporary) income tax increase, and I certainly won’t vote for the permanent one," McAuliffe said during the debate. "The state budget is $35 billion, and it needs to live within its means."
Khan ran on a platform of helping to prepare students to have the skills that they need to thrive in an economy that is transforming and said that fiscal mismanagement has jeopardized the future of the state.
"We have a proliferation of low-wage, part-time jobs at every corner," Khan said. "That’s not what we need to do . . . We need to focus on creating businesses right here in Illinois.
State Representative Martin Moylan (D-55) received 15,026 votes, or 52.7 percent of the votes cast, and Republican challenger Mel Thillens received 13,508 votes, or 47.3 percent.
"We . . . campaigned on the platform that I am a fiscal conservative and all I’m doing is trying to save people some money," Moylan said.
Moylan, who was an alderman and the mayor of Des Plaines before he became a state representative, said at the debate that he did not raise taxes in the municipality and that he voted against Michael Madigan’s bills on numerous occasions. He said that he is proud of bills regarding hazing prevention and also providing rights to people who own mobile homes.
"He kept saying that we were spending money that was tied to Madigan, but I’m an independent," Moylan said. "He tried to make the election about something else, when in fact it was about him and I and about the issues."
Thillens said at the debate that the state is going in the wrong direction on finances and jobs.