One year ago, our state celebrated the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan, a true Illinoisan, to recognize his accomplishments and celebrate the prosperity he brought to America.
As we now reflect on what would have been President Reagan’s 101st birthday this past Monday, it’s an ideal time to highlight his signature economic philosophies that our state could emulate as we attempt to navigate our way out of our own financial calamity. Ronald Reagan demonstrated the courage it takes to be an effective public servant.
I first met candidate Reagan soon out of college at Illinois State University, when he asked me to lead his Illinois campaign. My passion for politics and my understanding of his message of lower taxes and less government spending made my answer an easy “yes.” As the Illinois state director for then-Governor Reagan’s first presidential campaign in 1980, his wife Nancy and I traveled to many parts of Illinois in a station wagon with a California State Trooper to campaign.
America’s financial turnaround overseen by President Reagan after some very dismal years in the 1970s can help illuminate a way forward for our state leaders to avoid further financial problems in Illinois. Ronald Reagan governed from the perspective that economies flourish and jobs are created when taxes are lowered, regulations on job creators are lessened and government spending is reduced. He often left room for compromise to avoid gridlock, but he always stayed true to his fiscal beliefs. For the state to recover from its financial situation, leaders in Illinois should follow Reagan’s lead and adopt these same principles.
President Reagan was the only U.S. president born and raised in Illinois. He was born in Tampico, spent his formative years in Dixon and attended college in Eureka. The character he developed in Illinois would eventually position him as the most influential leader of the free world.
Happy birthday, Mr. President. Thank you for the life lessons. We in Illinois can learn from you.
Illinois State Treasurer