Silverstein donation sends 'horrible message,' Kay says
Dwight Kay says the State Democratic Victory Fund’s recent decision to provide more than $55,000 in campaign funds to the re-election effort of Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) sends a clear and dangerous message to voters.
“That kind of money is not just given out because you like someone,” Kay told the East Central Reporter. “It sends the horrible message that if someone is willing to spend that kind of money on a candidate that’s not putting in that much for themselves, that candidate is essentially bought and paid for.”
The organization’s decision to support Silverstein comes as he continues to be dogged by allegations of sexual harassment.
The accusations by longtime local activist Denise Rotheimer became public in October when the legislative inspector general post in Springfield that handles such investigation was going on its third year of being vacant, during which time 27 allegations of harassment reportedly languished uninvestigated.
Since then, Julie Porter has been installed in the post and she recently concluded that Silverstein did not commit sexual harassment, but did violate the section of the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act known as the legislative code of conduct. She recommended that he receive counseling from the Senate’s ethics officer.
What some have called a slap on the wrist is apparently enough to put Silverstein back in the good graces of some party leaders.
“Big money in politics tends to buy big problems for the individuals in that state,” Kay, a Glen Carbon Republican running for the seat held by Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) in the 112th House District, said. “My question is who serves as the House police, the Senate police. In the business world this would not be acceptable and there would be action taken and it would happen immediately.”
Kay stopped short of arguing Silverstein shouldn’t be allowed on the ballot given the serious nature of the allegations that were lodged against him, but he maintained matters like that need to be taken seriously and given the utmost scrutiny.
“That’s critical to the system being one that has any chance of working,” he said.
As for his own campaign, Kay, a former 112th District state representative, said he has knocked on nearly 3,500 doors since formally launching his campaign and feels good about the connection he’s made with voters.
“They all want Springfield turned upside down and they want (House Speaker Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago) gone,” he said. “He’s known across the state for being behind a lot of these crazy taxes we have. He’s taking a lot of hits for their being no tax reform.”
In the final weeks of his campaign, Kay said he has no plans to change what he’s been doing from the first day.
“We’ll continue to walk and talk to people,” he said. “I’ll tell them what I’m about and what I stand for. We feel we’ve done about all we can in this race with the resources we’ve had. We’ve reached out to a lot of people and the good thing is they seem to be getting it.”
The 112th District includes Glen Carbon and parts of Maryville, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Granite City and O'Fallon.