Senate hopeful says 'total reform' only chance Illinois has
A candidate for the Illinois Senate seat in the 54th District has a message for government: Reform big.
“We have to get back on track,” Rafael Him, a Clinton County Board member, told the Metro East Sun recently.
Advocating for what he described as "total reform," Him said one critical area than must be addressed is protecting residents from unfair and excessive taxation.
“Every time you increase taxes on someone, you’re eroding someone's personal freedoms,” Him said.
In the early days of his campaign, he said he often hears stories of people looking into moving out of Illinois. Some want to stay, he said, but are worried about the state's financial future. Others have made up their minds.
“They're trying to get out,” Him said.
Him wants to promote a better view of the state but finds the financial challenges to be significant.
“I want to be optimistic and fight for the state,” Him said, contending that without free market ideas in play, Illinois has little chance of surviving its long-term budget problems.
In terms of pension reform, Him suggested a freeze on hiring, along with a 401(k)-type pension system.
He also said it would be necessary to “grandfather” people who are already in the system, as they are owed what they have been promised.
“It's not the employees' fault,” Him said of the systemic financial problems that make pensions such a financial burden on the state.
Him also said he would prove his aversion to bloated public finance by declining a pension if elected.
“I don’t want to be involved in (drawing a state pension),” Him said. “Legislators get paid too much.”
He also pointed to school consolidation as another major cost-cutting method, and said he is working with others on a website addressing school consolidation at http://consolidateofallon.com/.
As for Him’s campaign, he said he has heard that the Illinois congressional delegation has urged President Donald Trump to name current 54th District Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) as ambassador to Kenya.
If that happens, Him thinks Marion County Republican Party Chairman Ben Stratemeyer of Centralia would be appointed to take his Senate seat.