'Status quo no longer good enough,' Davidsmeyer challenger says
Jonas Petty, who is running in the Republican primary against state Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) in the 100th House District, readily embraces his place in what he sees as a growing movement destined to change Illinois politics.
“For a long, long time we have been told nothing can be done, but seeing this movement says to me that the status quo is no longer good enough,” Petty told the West Central Reporter. “We’re on the verge of seeing the largest turnover in the history of Illinois politics, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s time to get fresh faces willing to make tough decisions.”
Petty, 38, of Pittsfield, insists he more than fits the profile, even though this marks the first time he has ever run for public office.
“I think it’s funny when people say that,” he said. “I don’t think the state should operate any differently than a private business when it comes to financials. You stay out of the red and aim for black. I think it’s a good thing coming out of the private sector where there’s greater accountability. In the business world, that’s how you’re paid; that’s how you gain more customers. You tell someone what you’re going to do, and you do it.”
Petty and his wife, Jane Ann, own and operate several businesses in the Pittsfield area, including, the William Watson Hotel and the Free Press Coffee House. The couple also owns and manages 69 units of commercial and residential real estate, including six residential and two commercial units in Springfield.
A structural engineer by trade, Petty also worked nearly three years with the state Transportation Department’s Bureau of Bridges and Structures.
“For me, this started in the summer when saw taxes increased with no reforms,” Petty said of his decision to enter politics. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and at the same time, I was hearing from constituents about the need to have someone willing to put in the time needed. We need to change the focus in Springfield to where we’re results based, to where we’re talking about doing the best thing to get the best results.”
Petty said the “elephant in the room” as it relates to all the state’s problems is the issue of welfare reform.
“When you see the time, money and overall resources spent by the government on social programs compared to what the state spends on guys going out busting their tail every day, it’s something,” he said. “There are jobs out there, it’s about setting up a system that establishes and rewards that.”
Petty said other issues dogging the state are rising taxes and all the regulations slapped on businesses.
“Structurally, Illinois also has one of largest local governments in the country,” he said. “That needs to shrink, as we turn to a system that is more results based.”
The 100th House District includes all or parts of Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon and Scott.
Petty will face the incumbent Davidsmeyer in the March 20 primary.