To the Editor:
An energized group of nearly 50 volunteers met recently in Bethalto to begin collecting signatures for local Republican candidates to be placed on the ballot for the November 2012 election.
The volunteers canvassed neighborhoods in the River Bend area, asking registered voters to sign the required petitions for each candidate.
The volunteers were working for Mike Babcock who is running for State Senate in the 56th District against Bill Haine; Kathy Smith for State Representative against Dan Bieser; and Amy Sholar for State's Attorney against Tom Gibbons. All of the candidates stated that they are for lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.
The general mood of the volunteers was energetic and optimistic, but many expressed concern about the loss of jobs and increase in taxes in Illinois.
"I've never done anything like this before," said Peggy Cline, a Godfrey resident. "But I know my country and state are in trouble. If we don't change the leadership nothing's going to change. It's like they take the taxpayers' money and do whatever they want with no accountability."
Phil Forbeck, a volunteer from Bethalto, was working specifically to support Mike Babcock for State Senate. "I've known Mike for 15 years," said Forbeck. "I support him because I know his integrity. I don't think of him as a politician, but someone who wants to do something right for the community. He may just be the first Republican I ever vote for," said Forbeck.
Babcock said he asked himself what he could do to make a difference, and that he's in the race because he wants people to have jobs. "Jobs should be a number one priority for us in the state of Illinois. My vision is to create jobs again in District 56, focusing our efforts on that as soon as possible," said Babcock.
All of the candidates expressed their gratitude to the volunteers who showed up and said they were overwhelmed with the number of people who are helping out. "Everyday working folks come out to express their support and convictions to me," said Sholar.
"We truly have had an overwhelming response. People are ready for a change," said Smith.