Standing near his longtime girlfriend, Stacy Danes, and in front an American Flag, an Illinois flag and signs that read “Fire Madigan!” “Term Limts!” “Lower Taxes” and “More Jobs,” the current chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Committee launched his campaign for the General Assembly.
Douglas Jameson, 53, of Belleville, made his formal announcement Tuesday to seek the Republican nomination to run for state representative in the 113th House District.
The seat is held by Democrat Jay Hoffman, who has been in the seat since January 2013. Hoffman, who serves as an assistant majority leader, also has served in the General Assembly from January 1991 through January 1997 and October 1997 through January 2011.
Hoffman did not respond to requests for comment.
Jameson, an Army veteran and local real estate agent, officially filed his paperwork with the State Board of Elections late last month and deposited $5,000 of his own money into his campaign fund.
Among those in attendance were St. Clair County Judge Ron Duebbert, County Board members Fred Boch and Steve Reeb, and St. Clair Township Supervisor Dave Barnes.
In Jameson’s announcement at Shenanigan’s Bar and Grill, he called out Hoffman and other House Democrats for not passing a budget.
Jameson referenced Tuesday’s D-Day anniversary and how it was a campaign against an “oppressive tyranny.” He then called the state government oppressive and overburdensome.
“Our mission is to first remove Mike Madigan as speaker of the House by first relieving Jay Hoffman from his post,” Jameson said to the crowd of about 60 people.
Daniel O’Keefe, who is chairman of Jameson’s campaign, introduced the candidate.
“He cares; he gets it. He knows what’s wrong,” O’Keefe said.
In 2012, Hoffman won election with 65.6 percent of the vote. In 2014, Hoffman received 59.5 percent of the vote. In 2016 he had 59.1 percent.
Jameson is confident he could flip the district from blue to red.
“Every day that has gone by without a budget, Jay Hoffman and Mike Madigan not fulfilling their constitutional obligations to deliver a budget to the governor, is another $1 million every day we’re spending,” Jameson said.
“The conditions are different now. They’ve raised taxes; they’ve tried to raise income taxes. It’s basically an assault on family budgets and pocketbooks right now with everything they’ve passed. I think the anger of the average citizen is rising to a level that they’re ready for a change.”
We need a balanced budget that does not increase taxes. We spend too much, we waste too much, we have too many levels of government in the state of Illinois. We need to take a comprehensive review of everything. If it’s not producing jobs or not adding revenue to the state, we need to examine that program for reduction or elimination.
Doug Jameson, candidate for state representative in the 113th District.
Jameson acknowledged he would be going up against a tough opponent in Hoffman.
“Jay Hoffman is an entrenched incumbent that has an unlimited source of money from Mike Madigan out of Chicago deep pockets,” Jameson said. “He’s running every day. If I could, I would have gotten in earlier.”
Jameson said he intends to stay party chairman in the county through the end of his term, which runs through April 2018.
Jameson said he hopes Rauner vetoes the Senate budget plan that would increase income taxes to 4.95 percent and would be retroactive to the beginning of 2017, if the plan reaches the governor’s desk.
“We need a balanced budget that does not increase taxes. We spend too much, we waste too much, we have too many levels of government in the state of Illinois,” Jameson said. “We need to take a comprehensive review of everything. If it’s not producing jobs or not adding revenue to the state, we need to examine that program for reduction or elimination.”
Jameson echoed the economic growth message Rauner has been pushing since the first-term governor took office.
He also called for reducing overburdensome regulations, workers compensation reform, independent legislative district maps and establishing term limits on elected officials.
“We need lower taxes, more jobs, incentive for business development and home ownership,” Jameson said. “We need to freeze property taxes and return the decision making process to local control, the way government is supposed to be.