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Darren Bailey

Republican candidate for Illinois House (109th district)

Darren Bailey

Darren Bailey

Republican candidate for Illinois House (109th district)

Associate Degree at Lakeland College for ag production
Past Political/Civic Experience
I served on the N. Clay Unit 25 in Lousville for 17 years, including serving as the president of the board for 12 of the 17 years. I joined the board in 1993.

Responses to our questions

Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?

The Legislature has found plenty of time to enact legislation creating a state holiday recognizing President Obama but somehow there is no time to solve the budget crisis. The priorities of the political elite in Springfield are not at all the priorities of the vast majority of Illinois residents. It is easier for career politicians to vote for tax increases than it is for them to make the tough choices when it comes to cutting the state budget. The end result of this insanity is we are spending ourselves into insolvency.

Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?


What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.

Illinois is one of the highest taxed states in the country. We have plenty of taxes on the books. We don't need any more ways to tax Illinois residents.

Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.

Absolutely not.

Please list five areas where you would cut spending.

The budget crisis in Illinois is complicated. There is no easy fix to the problems. Having said that, though, we cannot just throw up our hands and act as if nothing can be done. We have to make do with less if we are going to get beyond the current budget crisis. Areas we need to make cuts:

  1. Decrease the money allotted to office leases and implement reforms in how state office lease agreements are made;
  2. Reduce administrative costs at public schools;
  3. Reduce Medicaid fraud and implement higher means tested co-pays for Medicaid beneficiaries;
  4. Consolidate the office of the Treasurer and Comptroller and eliminate the Lt. Gov. position entirely;
  5. Give voters greater options to reduce, consolidate or eliminate local governments as a means of reducing government costs.

Since the Illinois Supreme Court's 2015 decision tossing bipartisan pension reform, what can and should the legislature do to control pension costs, if anything?

Lawmakers should allow voters to vote on pension changes to the Constitution. The General Assembly should also raise the retirement age for new hires to be in line with the age guidelines for social security. The state should also find ways to incentivize employees to move to a defined contribution plan.

Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?


What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?

The Legislature needs to give the Governor the tools he needs to get these costs under control. Instead of hindering these efforts, the Legislature needs to help.

Illinois lost more residents than any other state in 2016 and the trend appears to be holding for 2017. What is the No. 1 reason, in your opinion, for the exodus?

Illinois' taxes are too high.

What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?

We need to lower taxes in Illinois and implement reforms to make Illinois more attractive to prospective employers. Businesses are reluctant to move here because the taxes are too high and because costs such as workers' compensation costs are way too high. We need to make Illinois more business friendly. We also need to root out political corruption. The state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. If we made our state more business friendly to everyone, we would not need to provide incentive deals to try to attract companies like Amazon. Political corruption is hurting our state and people are responding by leaving.

What should Illinois do to promote job creation?

We need business reforms such as lawsuit reform and workers' compensation reform. We need to roll back business regulations and help ± not hurt — the natural industries in Illinois. Most importantly, though, we need some common sense.

An example of the insanity in Illinois is what happened in Grayville. The City of Grayville was promised a prison, but Rod Blagojevich plugged the plug on the project. The city of Grayville spent money laying the ground work for the project to begin but it was all for naught because the state decided not to build the prison. Grayville at one time had a business interested in locating on the site where the prison was to be built. All that was needed was a land conveyance to give the land to the developer. In the end, the state refused to give the land conveyance and the deal fell through. It is insanity like this that is killing our state. Grayville could have had an additional 400 if the state had allowed the deal to go through.

Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?

Yes. I would have voted for it.

What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?

The Chicago Tribune has reported on the many abuses that take place at CPS. Thousands of dollars in gift cards intended to help students were stolen by CPS staff members. Why is it the responsibility of taxpayers throughout Illinois to bail out a corrupt and ineffective school system? CPS needs to get its house in order before taxpayers send more of their money to this problematic school system.

Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?

Yes. Everyone pays for public education whether they their kids are enrolled in public schools or not. People who want to send their children to a private school are paying twice for the same service. Many families cannot afford to pay twice for education services. The opportunity grants will help families who want to send their children to private schools, but up until now have never been able to afford it.

Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?

The problem in Illinois is not money in politics. No law is going to prevent money from finding its way into political campaigns. The politicians make the laws and we are surprised that they find the loopholes in the campaign finance laws? The answer is not more laws that career politicians can jailbreak. The answer is simplicity and transparency.

What help, if any, are you receiving from your party and its leaders, including staff help, advice, legal assistance, money and resources? Be specific.

I am not receiving help from the Illinois Republican Party.

If you are an incumbent, give an example of a time you worked across the aisle on an important issue.


If you are an incumbent, give at least one example of a time you did not vote with your party on a significant issue.


Do you support term limits? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?

Yes. I support term limits and would sponsor legislation and also work for a Constitutional amendment.

Do you support changes to the redistricting process? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?

I support the Fair Map project. We need to take the politics out of the redistricting process. The current process does not serve the best interest of the community. We need districts that are more compact and more reflective of historic district boundaries.

Tell us a little about your family.

I have been married 31 years. My wife Cindy and I have four children and six grandchildren.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I play the trumpet and ride a Harley.

Candidates for Illinois House (109th district)