Wood River Township Supervisor Mike Babcock, running for the Illinois State House against the incumbent Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), named the budget, jobs and schools as the top three problems in the state, during a recent interview.
"There are many issues facing the State of Illinois," the Republican Babcock said in an email interview.
"Three of the most pressing issues are the lack of a balanced budget, the out migration of jobs in communities across the state and especially in the 111th District, and our education system. Our school system has been challenged over the Madigan/Beiser rule and we must fund our schools fairly and provide our students with a great education."
Babcock said he's been meeting with business owners throughout the district and all have been pointing to the budget crisis in Springfield.
"We must grow our way out of our problems and fight to get Illinois' economy moving again," Babcock said.
Babcock said the state needs to become more "business friendly."
"For example, Illinois has the seventh highest workers' compensation costs in the nation," he said. "Small employers continue to feel the sting from high unemployment insurance costs and other mandates. In order to turn our state around we must reverse a lot of the policies that have left our state bankrupt."
Babcock maintains that most of these issues are made worse because his opponent won't stand up to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, something Babcock said he would have no trouble doing.
"Out-of-control property taxes, a crumbling educational system, and a system where the Democrats answer to Mike Madigan must come to an end," he said. "Beiser doesn't answer to his constituents, and instead he answers to Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan. If Dan Beiser won't stand up to Mike Madigan, I will."
Babcock, Wood River Township supervisor since 2009 and owner of Babcock & Associates, a local insurance business, formally announced his candidacy May 23 during press conferences at Lincoln Douglas Square in Alton and from the steps of the Madison County Courthouse in Edwardsville.
Beiser, who has represented the 111th District since 2004, did not reply to a Record request for comment.
Babcock said his background and experience will make him the clear leader as a state representative in the 111th District without ever forgetting where he came from.
"I was born and raised in Wood River Township," he said. "As a graduate of Roxana High School and Lewis & Clark College and SIUE I care about this community. As a small business owner and investment advisor, I have been balancing budgets and meeting payroll for years. I'm concerned about the state of Illinois. I'm concerned about what we're doing in the state of Illinois. We are lacking leadership on many levels, and that is why I am running. When elected I will lead the charge to fight the crushing property taxes. As Wood River Township Supervisor I understand how to govern. I've balanced the budget every year. I have cut the levy. I have cut the budget. I have cut the tax rates."
Only few months prior to his announced run for the state House, Babcock recalled his seven years as supervisor in Wood River Township report issued in December.
"When I took office in early 2009, the great recession was in full bloom," he said. "Property values in the township were falling and, in many cases, property taxes were still increasing. I made a commitment to maintain services and cut the Township tax levy."
Babcock said he worked with the township's board and union and non-union township employees to address employee health insurance costs, to reduce staff by not filling vacancies and to cut the tax levy. That tax levy hasn't been raised in the past five years and Cottage Hills sewer district sewer fees also have been cut, according to the report.