The mailers that incumbent Illinois legislators send to constituents have again become an election issue.
This time, Democratic House candidate Cullen L. Cullen of Edwardsville is saying his opponent, Republican Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon, shouldn't have sent out a state-paid mailer during election season. Kay said he's only trying to be open and accountable to constituents.
State legislators can take advantage of a program that allows them to send "legislative updates" to their constituents, with the state picking up the tab. Proponents -- typically the incumbents -- say the mailers are a good way to keep constituents informed about issues. Critics -- typically the challengers -- say the mailers often do little more than toot the incumbents' own horns.
Cullen said if he's elected, he won't send out any state-paid mailers during an election year.
"Rep. Kay talks about eliminating waste in government and saving taxpayer dollars," Cullen said. "This disgraceful mailer shows that he is just another politician that says one thing and does another. It is less than 100 days before the election, and Kay is spending Illinois' sparse resources on materials that help support his re-election bid."
Cullen said he'd be equally offended if Democratic legislators did the same thing.
In fact, two years ago, it was Republican challengers who were criticizing incumbent Democrats for using state-paid mailers. The challengers to Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis, and Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, chided Jackson and Beiser for sending mailers to constituents during campaign season.
Topics in Kay's mailer included a bill he filed to reduce legislative salaries, as well as Fairmount Park's effort to get slot machines at the horse-racing track. It was mailed to about 38,000 residents in the 112th House District.
Kay said: "Keeping the public informed on issues such as job creation, the state budget, Fairmount Park racetrack and how our schools are funded is important to my constituents. I have received numerous thank-yous from constituents pleased with receiving the update, they like knowing what's going on in state government."
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Former Chief Judge Ann Callis of Edwardsville has been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans.
The national organization has chosen to endorse Callis in her race for the 13th Congressional District,. Callis already has been endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
The Alliance for Retired Americans, a national organization with more than 4.2 million members, said Callis has been "unwavering" in her support for Social Security.