Jonas Petty says Gov. Bruce Rauner's signing of controversial abortion legislation sent a clear message.
"It was a sad day for the state of Illinois overall," Petty told West Central Reporter. "I think it shows the direction that the state is headed. What it says to voters is that now is the time; there has never been a better time to step up and support the conservative values that you think would drive the country in the right direction."
Petty, a Republican, will face off against Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) in the 100th House District in the 2018 primary. He told supporters in September that House Bill 40 will bring more burdens to Illinois taxpayers and shared a link to his Facebook page from Illinois Right to Life that reported that the bill will make state residents pay for abortions "through the full nine months of pregnancy for any reason."
Gov. Bruce Rauner | www.illinois.gov
The group also said the new law could increase abortions in the state by as much as 12,000 per year, cost more than $21 million and result in Medicaid fraud.
Early this year, a Rauner spokesperson released a statement saying that while Rauner is pro-choice, he did not support HB40 and would veto if it reached his desk. His decision to sign the measure into law has shaken the Illinois Republican Party. Petty said he believes Rauner's personal beliefs informed his decision.
"I think it's fair and reasonable to expect that [Rauner] has a set of personal beliefs and that's what drove this decision, because when it comes to the state of Illinois, especially downstate, which is what I represent, he did not do it because it represented the views of the voters in the 100th District," Petty said.
While speculation continues about how badly the decision could hurt Rauner's re-election hopes, Petty said that supporting a candidate who will preserve Republican values is what's most important.
"As of right now, I am going to support whatever candidate gives us the best opportunity to push the conservative values of the 100th District," he said. "If that's Gov. Rauner, great. Right now, that's it. We cant worry about where the governor is headed. He has to take our values, which are under siege, and protect them with every resource we have."
The 100th District covers all of or portions of Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Morgan, Pike and Scott counties.