COLLINSVILLE — An Illinois state senator is planning to throw his bid in for the governor's office and was in Collinsville Thursday morning to meet with local politicians and leaders after catching a Cardinals game Wednesday night with his family.
Kirk W. Dillard, the Assistant Republican Leader in the Illinois Senate, will officially announce his intention to run for the office the second week of July, he said.
"We had to mesh the schedules of our 12-year-old and 10-year-old daughters to find a week when we can all travel together through this great state of Illinois," Dillard said. "Family first."
Dillard has served as a state senator for 20 years and was chief of staff under former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.
"I know how to manage state government and I know how to make a democratic state legislature do things is not in it's DNA to do, like live within its economic means," he said.
Bringing jobs back to Illinois and fixing the state pension crisis to bring the state budget under control are his top goals.
"The metro-east is crucial and on my radar screen as a place with 800,000 people who can reignite our economy. The metro-east area and Rockford are the most underutilized, potential economic areas in Illinois. We have underutilized the economies and we are going to change that and restore them to their past greatness," he said. "We need to become a destination economy for job creation and we have to announce to the world we are again open for business. With resources like SIUE and a work ethic like folks from the metro-east, we should not be losing jobs to Missouri because our tax climate and our state government is in turmoil."
As far as the state pension crisis, he said until that is brought under control with reform, business will not grow in the state.
"Without reform we can never put our state back on fiscal footing or expect business to expand into Illinois if they fear they will be left on the hook for 20 years of pensions they were no part of creating," he said. "We will never grow jobs if we don't get the pension under control."
What would his pension reform look like?
* State employees would contribute a little more to their retirement funds;
* State employees would work a few more years, "since we are living longer."
* The state must make payments a requirement;
* The cost of living adjustments for state employees "can no longer be two or three times to actual cost of inflation."
"We have got to roll back our high income taxes and have a property tax relief component," he added. "Most other states are reducing their state taxes and Illinois is increasing it under Chicago democratic control. Our unemployment rate is going up while the rest of the nation is going down."
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Bruce Rauner, both Republicans, also have announced they plan to run for the governor's seat. Bill Brady, a republican state senator, is also considering a bid.
Gov. Pat Quinn, a democrat, has announced he intends to run a re-election campaign for the office and Bill Daley, former White House chief of staff and a democrat, has announced his intention to run for the seat. Attorney General Lisa Madigan also is considering a run for governor.
It's not the first time Dillard has made a run for the governor's mansion. In 2010 he ran and was defeated by Brady by 193 votes in the GOP primary.