Republican Rafael Him has announced his intent to run for the District 54 Illinois Senate.
The seat, currently held by state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), will be open in 2018, as McCarter does not plan to run for re-election.
“I said during the congressional race I would limit my term, and I’m going to keep that promise,” McCarter said Monday.
Him, a 10-year New Baden resident, said he wants to run because of the “bad condition” of Illinois, mainly because of the repeated failure to pass a state budget.
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“What I’m going to bring is optimism, and I’m going to fight for a balanced budget and free market ideas,” Him said. “I’m going to keep fighting and fighting. It’s an uphill battle, but a winnable battle.”
Him is no stranger to politics and government. He’s a 22-year Air Force veteran, and has served on the Clinton County Board and as a trustee in New Baden. He said his experience in the Air Force made him good at accomplishing any mission he’s given.
If elected, he said he would make it his mission to bring a reform and fight for it.
“I want to help everybody, not just a select few,” Him said. “I want to bring everybody under one tent and not just fight for Republican or Democratic idea. I want to fight for the good of the people.”
On his campaign website, Him said lawmakers need to change the way they do business and address why people are leaving the state, starting with cutting taxes, reducing business regulations and stopping the spending and borrowing culture.
He urges senators to become “fiscal hawks” and remember that they work for the people of Illinois. His “contract with the people,” as he worded it on his website, promises to do the following:
▪ Put citizens above politicians
▪ Fight for fiscal responsibility
▪ Fight for a balanced budget
▪ Fight for term limits
▪ Fight to lower property taxes
Potential candidates aren’t able to file their intent to run in the general election with the Illinois State Board of Elections until November. Candidates can start circulating petitions and gathering signatures in early September, but the official filing won’t occur until a few months later.
McCarter, who holds the District 54 seat now, has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Kenya. Republican members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation submitted a letter of recommendation for McCarter to President Donald Trump last week.