Long-term public official faces challenge from newcomer
Incumbent Kay Hatcher will face a challenge for her seat representing the 50th District in the Illinois House from Andrew Bernard, who wants to bring a fresh perspective to the office.
Kay Hatcher has spent decades serving the public through various elected offices at the local and state level, starting with her time on the Oswego School Board in 1991, through her time on the Kendall County Board and Kendall County Forest Preserve President, and including her current tenure as Representative of the 50th District in the Illinois House of Representatives. Those years also include an even more vast list of community volunteer activities.
All of her service activity comes from one thing—her love of the area.
“I originally ran for office quite simply because I love the Fox Valley,” Hatcher said. “I have the strategic skills needed to do the job, and the incumbent legislator was going to retire after 18 years of service. This is where my children and grandchildren live, and I want to ensure it remains the best place in the world to work and raise a family.”
She said the state is facing significant problems, and she feels her track record is proof that she knows what it takes to help solve them.
“The challenge is enormous,” she said. “Because of the actions of legislators and governors in previous decades, our state is nearing the brink of economic Armageddon. In the past three years of service I have been able to carry and support legislation that shines a brighter light on state actions, demands a more responsible budget and creates a higher ethical standard. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, and want to continue rebuilding an Illinois that pays its bills and treats people with dignity.”
If given the opportunity to continue her service in the 50th District, she plans to focus on ensuring fiscal responsibility in the state. She said the issues are complex and intertwined, and must be dealt with across the board. She would work to eliminate the recent state income tax increase and address state pension and Medicaid funding issues. She would also continue to assess state programs in terms of their effectiveness, to help improve the state’s bottom line.
Hatcher said the state needs to create a stable environment that encourages businesses to remain in the state, so they can invest in both in people and products. She would also work to rebuild trust in state government.
“It (trust) takes a lifetime to earn and a moment to lose,” she said. “ My first vote impeached a governor now in prison; my last vote removed a member of the General Assembly for questionable actions.”
She said to help rebuild that trust, she would continue to remain entirely transparent, making her daily calendar publicly available, as well as regularly communicating with residents.
“I meet constantly with individuals and organizations to learn more about their needs,” she said. “The more interaction I have with the people of the Fox Valley, the better legislator I become.”
Andrew Bernard said if elected, he would bring a fresh perspective to the Illinois legislature.
“I will bring a new perspective to restoring Illinois,” he said. ”I bring forth a new platform giving tax relief to low and middle income families, while at the same time, bringing in the needed revenue. As a legislator, I will also work to cut the unnecessary waste in Illinois.”
Currently, he serves as the Democratic Chairman of Geneva Township, and is also a Precinct Committeeman in Geneva. His interest in politics and policy, as well as his experience in local politics, has led him to believe that the state needs to change.
“The financial disaster and poor reputation of Illinois government prompted me to seek this position,” he said.
Bernard said the state’s tax code needs to be overhauled. He said that Illinois’ tax structure is regressive, explaining that the state is one of only seven in the nation that maintain a flat rate income tax.
“This type of taxation system is the primary cause for Illinois having to raise taxes on all workers in Illinois; therefore, hurting small businesses and halting new job opportunities,” he said. “I strongly believe that raising taxes on the middle class is harmful to the economy and stunts job creation. The best solution for Illinois is to adopt a progressive income tax system and lower the tax rate for middle class residents.”
He said that a progressive tax structure would have allowed the General Assembly to retain the previous income tax rates for the middle class while still generating additional state revenue from the higher tax brackets.
“When the middle-class residents pay less in taxes, they will spend more, and stimulate the economy,” he said. “In other words, Illinois businesses will need more employees when businesses are growing stronger.”
To further help job creation, Bernard said the state should invest in new infrastructure. This will create new job opportunities, improve current public systems and raise the economic value of the state, he explained.
“Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; thus, creating new job opportunities,” he said. “Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which, in return, will create new revenue and jobs.”
He would also work to reform state welfare programs. He supports a plan that would require recipients of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to pass a drug screening to receive funding.
“This will help ensure that those receiving cash are using public funds wisely and not abusing the system,” he said.
The plans are more than mere tweaks to the existing system, and Bernard said he knows what it would take to take those plans and make them a reality.
“I will achieve my goals by working in a bipartisan manner with all legislators, while keeping direct communication with my constituents,” he said.