Griffith points to daughter as reason to push Illinois' rebound
Joshua Griffith has as good a reason as anyone to want to see Illinois rebound and turn around it’s dormant economy.
“My daughter is now a freshman and soon she will be deciding where she wants to go to college,” Griffith, a father of five who lives in Abingdon, told the West Central Reporter. “Where she goes to college is probably where she will end up settling down and raising a family. I want to make sure Illinois is everything it can be once the time for that decision to be made rolls around.”
Between now and then, Griffith, who is running against Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) in the Republican primary in the 93rd District, knows he has a lot of heavy lifting to do.
Recent Census Bureau data shows Illinois has now slipped to the nation’s sixth largest state, falling behind Pennsylvania as the state’s lingering out-migration issues show few signs of abating.
The Illinois Policy Institute reports the dip in numbers represents the worst decline of any other state and the third-worst decline across the country in terms of percentages.
In all, 33,700 people left Illinois during a yearlong period commencing in July 2016, and that from July 2016 to July 2017 nearly 115,000 residents left Illinois on net for other states. Over the last seven years, that number swells to almost 643,000.
Researchers also noted that at a time when neighboring states are experiencing population growth, Illinois’ decline represents the fourth straight year the state has trended downward in that category.
“It’s disheartening to see the numbers,” Griffith said. “We’ve got a shrinking tax base and the only plan the politicians have is to continue to raise taxes.”
Though this marks his first run for public office, Griffith said he has easily connected with voters on an issue they can all relate to.
“These tax increases are the No. 1 issue,” he said. “It’s something everyone wants to talk about.”
Beyond that, Griffith, who moved his family back to Illinois after a career in the military, said he knows he has what it takes to get the job done in Springfield.
“I was a first-class sergeant by the time I was just 26 years old,” he said. “Leadership and service have always been in my blood.”
The 93rd House District includes parts or all of Brown, Cass, Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.