State House candidate discusses bipartisanship at Lincoln Day Dinner
When state Sen. John Sullivan announced that he would not seek re-election after 14 years of representing western Illinois' 47th District, former state Rep. Jil Tracy was spurred by her peers to run for his seat.
"I had been asked by a lot of people to consider running for the state when it was announced, and I gave it a lot of thought," Tracy told the West Central Reporter. "I still want to see some long-term solutions to our state's fiscal crisis, and so I felt like I had some skills, and I knew the area of the 47th District and their issues, and I had a lot to offer (in representing) them."
Tracy has fond memories working with Sullivan, providing an example of what effective bipartisanship looks like.
"Much of the time I was in the House, I worked very closely with Sen. Sullivan, and I think we accomplished quite a bit for West Central Illinois in that regard because we did work together very well and had a great respect for each other," Tracy said. "I thought he understood the issues, and in some of those instances, (we were) on the same page. So I have a great respect for John and his family, and I wish him well; and I understand that at some point, there is a time to step back from public service. I think he had a very good tenure for West Central Illinois."
On whether her experience with bipartanship can extend across both parties, Tracy believes that Democrats and Republican can work together as long as their is an agreement on what is the "root problem" in their state.
"I think we are absolutely in a crisis; and if we look at the root cause of why we are losing jobs, it is because we aren't an employer-friendly state anymore," Tracy said. "Working on workmen's compensation in the House, you ask employers what are the big obstacles they have of doing business in Illinois and they will tell you that they find there is a very high cost of doing business and it relates to worker's compensation rate, their unemployment insurance rate and they see that they are not competitive with the neighboring states. I think everyone recognizes the end problem -- that we have a fiscal crisis -- but if we look at the root problem, then I think we will be able to work together."
Tracy recently attended her party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, which is also referred to as the "Lincoln-Reagan Dinner."
"The idea (is) that Lincoln was one of our foremost presidents and likewise was a Republican in the early days of the Republican party and our values and principles very much reflect that of Abraham Lincoln," Tracy said. "We are proud to have him as our (namesake) for the Republican party, same as [Ronald] Reagan; that's why we celebrate it as Lincoln-Reagan. (The event is) usually around the time of the primary, so it is a very good time for Republicans to get together and celebrate those principles and reflect on them and kind of get us geared up to get into the election cycle."
As for what she'd like to tackle if she wins in November, Tracy says, in addition to updating infrastructure, she is focused on using her legal background to her advantage.
"As a lawyer, I know that workmen's compensation rate needs true reform," Tracy said. "I'm going to continue to work on those. I'm on the Labor and Law Committee as a spokesperson and I very much want to keep working in those areas because I think they are the root problems of why we are losing quality jobs in Illinois. If we get this fiscal crisis in place and now we get our economy turned around in Illinois where are national revenue flow is improved, then we will be able to fund our public education. We will be able fund higher education and then everything will fall in to place."
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