This piece contains excerpts from an interview conducted by the Madison County Record with Dwight Kay, who has announced his intention to run for state representative in the 112th District against Rep. Jay Hoffman.
Portions of the interview have been summarized. The interview took place Nov. 10 at the Record offices in Edwardsville.
Record: Why are you running?
Answer: "We have a big mess in the state of Illinois ... I think I can contribute to helping fix some of the problems."
Record: You mentioned problems, what are they?
Answer: Kay cites the state's jobless rate and rising unemployment due to the recession and business leaving Illinois for neighboring states. He argues that Illinois' current tax structure and tort laws make the state unattractive to companies looking to make a profit and provide jobs. Kay also cites the state's budget deficit that is estimated to exceed $10 billion.
Recent tax increases are also impacting workers, he said.
"With the current tax structures we have people who have jobs who are finding it very difficult to survive because of all the taxes they are paying," Kay said.
Record: What are your proposals for addressing those problems?
Answer: Kay argues that his background makes him uniquely qualified to tackle the jobs issue.
"As a business man – and I've been in business locally for 37 years – I've created a lot of jobs and helped run a very successful business. I think my experience in business and corporate experience gives me a leg up on just about anybody."
Record: What specifically do you want to do?
Answer: "We have not taken a proactive stance on tort reform. We really need to look at the laws on the books. There's a real need to cut down on the burden placed on business by one regulation after another."
Kay favors actively addressing what he sees as the state's lawsuit problem, decreasing regulations and the size of regulatory bodies as well as addressing tax issues.
Record: You ran against Rep. Hoffman two years ago and he is an incumbent who has held his seat for some time. Do you foresee that as a challenge to your campaign?
Answer: Kay said he saw Hoffman's incumbency and ties to former Governor Rod Blagojevich as a negative for his opponent. Hoffman was allegedly among the top lawmakers who asked for patronage jobs, according to a report by the Chicago Sun Times. Hoffman also served as House floor leader during Blagojevich's years as governor.
"The best response I have for you is that the state legislature has continued to do the same thing it had been doing. With a governor who was impeached, we don't have meaningful ethics reforms. People distrust Springfield."
Kay cited the most common answers to a survey he passed out at 3,000 front doors locally as the reason he believes voters want fresh faces in the state legislature. The surveys have been among the first steps on his campaign, he said.
Record: In addition to the surveys you spoke of, what other campaigning have you done to date?
Answer: Kay has been giving speeches and making public appearances. Next week he plans to meet with the Collinsville School District, he said. His goal is to bring himself up to speed on what matters to the 112th district's voters, he said.
"So that I can bring myself up to speed on the needs of the people of the Metro East who are hurting and whose needs have not been met."
Record: Is there anything else you'd like to say to the voters?
Answer: "I'd like to tell the voters that if they elect me there will be a plan to bring jobs, there will be a plan to balance the budget because they deserve it. Two sentiments I've been told at front doors is that the state government makes them angry or it makes them fearful. And that's a bad combination."
One of his chief goals, Kay said throughout the interview, would be to restore the trust voters have in public officials.
At a glance:
Name: Dwight Kay
Running for: State Representative, 112th District
Running as: Republican Party
From: Glen Carbon
Background: Vice President, Cassens Transport in Edwardsville. In business in Madison County for 37 years. Ran against incumbent State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) in the 2008 election
Family: Married with two children, a son and a daughter.
Top priorities if elected: Job creation, creating an inviting business environment in the state, tort reform
Quote: "I'd like to tell the voters that if they elect me there will be a plan to bring jobs, there will be a plan to balance the budget because they deserve it."