ILLINOIS (WMBD) — After defying Gov. Pritzker’s mask mandate, Republican State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) is looking to take his place at the helm of Illinois’ government.
Bailey joined Matt Sheehan live for On the Record Monday morning to discuss his platform and plan to defeat Gov. Pritzker.
Question: Tell me about your platform, and if elected governor, what are your main priorities?
“The platform in Illinois is very simple: to restore moral and financial integrity to the state,” Bailey said. “Good grief, the footprint of government here in Illinois is almost larger than the state itself. You get down in the southern third of Illinois and you really feel that. I think that’s why it’s right for someone to come from that environment and bring the challenge and the changes the State needs. Far too long we’ve spent more than we’ve brought in and it’s devastated us. We have this huge pension problem we refuse to talk about. The pensions are ripe for problems for those who are drawing them for days ahead.”
Bailey said state government cannot fix these issues by just throwing money at them.
Question: Currently there are three official Republican candidates for Illinois Governor. Yourself, former State Sen. Paul Schimpf, and businessman Gary Rabine. How do you plan to secure the Republican nomination?
“Five years ago I was farming, I got fed up with the 2017 tax increase and the budget that just pilfered 32% more in taxes out of our pockets. I got noisy about it. I had 13 men and women working on the farm, and when I saw $1,200 come out of their paycheck for absolutely nothing, it infuriated me. So I ran for the representative seat against an incumbent, a person who stood for what I’m talking about now, but waivered and supported the budget. Then I served the past two years as State Representative, then my State Senator stepped down so I was encouraged by friends and family to take his place.”
Bailey said just one year ago, he stood up to Gov. Pritzker and his mask mandate.
“I sued him, and we won,” Bailey said. “Then I began to realize that the governor’s platform and messaging is much broader than mine. So instead of staying here in Springfield and beating my head against a wall, I decided to run and take this office and get Illinois back on the right track.”
Question: What’s your message to Illinoisans on why they should vote for you over Gov. Pritzker?
“It’s very interesting. Gov. Pritzker is simply out of touch with the working Illinoisan. This man’s solution to every problem is spending money. He loves to throw money at the problem instead of solving these problems. I think Illinois is hungry for common sense, they’re hungry for someone who’s real. I believe that’s what is going to set me apart in the primary and eventually in the general election.”
Question: Many people and businesses leave the state because they feel constricted by high taxes. How are you going to tackle this issue and bring more revenue to the State?
“It’s a multi-pronged approach. We’re going to demand a zero-based budget. Every department in the state is going to start at zero and build their way back up. Forever we’ve been simply passing these budgets without any accountability. The money that’s spent, government regulation is killing us, our work comp is too high. If we reel back these regulations, these unfunded mandates on our schools and communities for years. It’s going to lower our property taxes, it’s going to lower our tax burden in general. It’s going to be a fight but it can be done and it will be done,” Bailey said.
Bailey said he is praying on who should be his Lt. Governor.
“Proverbs 28:2 says that when there’s moral rot in a nation, governments topple easily, but wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability. We’ve sought God’s wisdom from day one, he’s always brought people to the table. Those people always show up, we have multiple names. But it’ll probably be around when we file our petition that we’ll know who that’s going to be,” Bailey said.
Sheehan has reached out to Gary Rabine for an interview during On the Record, he is awaiting a response. He has also reached out to the governor’s office multiple times and has received no reply.
On Wednesday, March 3, Sheehan interviewed former State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-IL). That interview can be viewed below.
Future On the Record segments:
Wednesday, April 21, 2021: Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.