Victoria and Kyle McCarter
Republican Kyle McCarter of Lebanon was selected Saturday by GOP chairmen of the district's nine counties to replace State Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville) in the state's 51st Senate District. Watson, who had suffered a stroke last year, stepped down Feb. 16.
McCarter, 46, was a St. Clair County board member prior to his senate appointment. He owns a business, Custom Product Innovations.
He answered a few questions posed by the Record, stating he would like to follow in Watson's "tradition of trust."
"The thing people need to know is that I will do what I say I am going to do," McCarter said.
Record: Why were you the best candidate for this Senate seat?
McCarter: I was chosen because the old formula of politics has not worked for the Republican Party. I think they (the GOP chairmen) were reaching out to a new generation of fresh faces, fresh ideas, and because I came forward with grass roots support from citizens.
Record: What is the roadmap for your initial district tour?
McCarter: I started yesterday meeting with the Farm Bureau in Shelby County and with a Chamber luncheon in Decatur. I plan to spend little time in the office, and only as needed in Springfield. On Tuesday, I have an all-southern news line up with media-radio, TV and Chamber (events).
Record: What is the most difficult problem facing the state of Illinois?
McCarter: The economy has to be central to where we focus our attention, more so than any other time in history. We have a severe recession, people are hurting. Politicians owe it to them to revive the economy. The way to do it is not to increase taxes, that is the last thing to do in this awful economy. We need to help businesses; help employers to add employees.
The state is $9 billion in the hole. You have to look at it from the expense side or revenue side. Right now families are having to take a hard look at their spending. We need to do the same.
Record: How do you answer critics who say your pro-China, low wage positions will guarantee a fight from unions in the 2010 election?
McCarter: Major firms in the 51st District – ADM and Caterpillar are just two examples – (of companies that) rely on trade with China. Major manufacturers routinely purchase components produced in China and use those components in American products, so they can compete in the world marketplace.
My company is an example of how small business can – by offering a superior American-produced service – compete in today's world and help other American companies compete and provide jobs to American workers.
Record: Will legal reform, as a way to create a more favorable business climate, be a priority for you?
McCarter: I'm always going to have a special interest in business. I have a business, that's how I have made a living. My sensitivities will be just the same as when I was a Chamber (O'Fallon) president and board member.
We need to lessen the burden of government. We need tort reform. The cost of lawsuits to businesses is monumental. If we want businesses to succeed we need to lessen their burden.
Record: Should Sen. Roland Burris resign?
McCarter: He probably should resign. But more importantly, it's time for politicians to set themselves apart from embarrassing situations. We have got to be transparent and accountable. We have to go out of our way to do that.
Record: Where will your district offices be located?
McCarter: I am not making changes in the district offices (Greenville and Decatur). I'm planning to spend a lot of time in Decatur, going from the north to south. I really don't expect to be in the office as much as I am with the people in the district.