ALTON – Mike Babcock wants to do for Illinois what he has for Wood River Township and has announced his candidacy for state representative of the 111th District in 2018.
“This government economy that never creates enough good-paying job(s) seems to only excel at taking more of people’s money,” Babcock told the Record.
“As supervisor here in Wood River, my office has done everything it takes not to have to raise taxes for the last seven years,” he said. “That’s the kind of commitment and discipline we need across the state.”
The last straw for Babcock in deciding to enter the race to replace Dan Beiser (D-Alton), who has announced he will not be seeking another term, came when lawmakers recently enacted the state’s new, $36 billion budget.
“How do you pass the largest tax increase in state history without balancing the budget or having reforms be any part of it?” he said. “It’s not fair to people, and I’m running on a platform of fairness, especially for homeowners and small business owners.”
Beiser spent more than $2.5 million to defend a challenge from Babcock in 2016, and won by a margin of 52.6 to 47.4 percent, or 24,808 to 22,353. Babcock spent $1.3 million in that cycle. The last election cost Beiser $100 per vote. It cost Babcock $58 per vote.
Babcock, 55, said the first step in achieving his goal necessitates the ouster of longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
“People are tired of Chicago politics,” the lifelong Bethalto resident said. “People are being taxed out of their homes, businesses are closing and industry has left us behind. We can’t keep going down the same road and expecting things to change. Madigan has got to go; he’s running the state into the ground.”
And Babcock has seen enough. His biggest wish is that things could go back to the way they used to be.
“We have to find ways to create good-paying jobs with benefits, like it once was,” he said. “Government should already be doing that. I want to be the voice of the people; they’re ready for change. My goal is to restore faith in Illinois.”