McGuire, Johnson compete in Senate District 43
By Bob Okon email@example.com November 1, 2012 6:54PM
Senate District 42
The district represented by state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, used to include much of Plainfield and some of Joliet. After a remapping, it has a small section of Plainfield, but enough of it for Plainfield resident Peter Hurtado to run as the Republican candidate in the election for the 42nd Senate District seat.
Holmes has represented the district since 2006 and previously served two years on the Kane County Board. A former owner of a remodeling company, Holmes said her belief in the construction industry made her a proponent of the $31 billion capital bill that passed in 2009. She is chairwoman of the Senate’s State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Hurtado’s top issue is the repeal of the personal and corporate income taxes enacted in January 2011. He also wants reforms in the state employee pension system and workers compensation laws.
District map: The district lies mostly in Kane County, taking in the city of Aurora and stretching to northern edge of Plainfield.
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:13AM
State Sen. Pat McGuire of Joliet, a Democrat, faces his first election for the 43rd District after being appointed to the seat in February.
He is being challenged by Sandy Johnson, a former bank marketing officer from Manhattan, on the Republican ticket.
The senate seat opened up when former Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi resigned to take a job as a hospital lobbyist. Local Democrats appointed McGuire to the spot.
Johnson points out that it’s not the first time a Democrat got a head start in the senate seat through appointment.
“It’s been more than 20 years since someone has been elected to the seat without being appointed,” she said. “The fact is their first election is as an incumbent.”
Both candidates are in their first state legislative election. It’s the first run for office for Johnson. McGuire has a long track record in Will County as the former county treasurer and a school board member for the Joliet High School District. He also had been appointed city clerk in Braidwood, a job he held until being named state senator.
McGuire said his top goal if elected is “to get Illinois’ fiscal house in order and achieve pension reform. Pensions costs are crowding out money in the budget for education, public safety and human services.”
He said he’d wait until talks between major stakeholders work out a proposal for pension reform before advocating any specific changes to the current system.
McGuire said he wants to eliminate “unnecessary spending” but could not identify any specific cuts he would favor.
He said he would be cautious about allowing the January 2011 income tax increase to sunset as scheduled in 2015.
“I would consider the costs to education and human services,” he said. “We have to be careful about cutting any more deeply than we already have.”
Johnson takes the stance that the tax increase should be repealed immediately.
“If we repeal (Gov. Pat) Quinn’s tax increase, that would act as an immediate stimulus for both business and families,” Johnson said. The state would see more tax revenue, she said, because businesses would invest money into their companies and create jobs. Families would spend more.
She favors reducing pension costs by shifting state employees to a 401(k) system. Her biggest spending target would be Medicaid, saying recipients should be asked to contribute more to their medical bills.
Elections and appointments
The 43rd District isn’t the only seat filled by appointment. Both parties use resignations and retirements to fill legislative seats with candidates that go into the election with whatever advantages an incumbent enjoys.
Johnson said she would favor a change in the current system, which allows the departing legislator’s party to appoint the replacement.
“We should just have an open election right off the bat and
stop doing the appointments,” she said.
McGuire does not apologize for the manner in which he became state senator.
“I saw an opportunity to help residents of the 43rd District,” he said. “I applied and I was interviewed. I was honored to have been selected.”
District map: The district includes most of Joliet and runs through Bolingbrook and Romeoville on the north and the
Elwood area and Channahon on the south.