Illinois House candidate Julie Bigham Eggers has signed a pledge stating she will not accept the health insurance or the pension if she's elected.
Eggers also said she will not accept the salary if elected.
Her campaign announced the pledge Sunday, after the News-Democrat reported that that, in an interview last week, Eggers said she was "in it for the insurance" because being a state lawmaker "has pretty good healthcare."
Eggers, a Republican from Columbia, challenged her opponent, appointed incumbent Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, to also sign her "no-perks" pledge. Costello said Eggers' move is a "gimmick" in response to her previous remarks.
Eggers said, "Illinois legislators haven't earned nor deserve the lavish pension and Cadillac healthcare benefits paid for by the taxpayers. By signing this pledge, I will refuse to accept any taxpayer-funded pension and healthcare benefits. The state is broke and we cannot afford benefits like these for elected officials."
State representatives receive a salary of about $68,000. Costello has signed up for the pension and the health insurance.
Costello said: "Clearly, Julie has a problem with changing her positions. It is obvious Julie's political handlers from Chicagoland are trying to spin her erratic and inconsistent statements. There's no way that voters should put trust in her pledge gimmick."
In the interview last week, Eggers said the health insurance is the top reason she's running for the office. But later in the interview, she also stated that she's happy with her private insurance, and might not accept the state-sponsored insurance. Eggers, a business consultant, has two daughters, and her husband is a stay-at-home parent.
The candidates are vying to represent the 116th House District, which stretches from the East St. Louis area to Du Quoin, taking in Dupo, Columbia, Red Bud, Sparta, Steeleville and Pinckneyville. Democrats appointed Costello to the seat last year after Rep. Dan Reitz, a Democrat, retired mid-term.