Metro-East News

Marion County GOP leader sets up primary run for McCarter’s state Senate seat

Ben Stratemeyer
Ben Stratemeyer

Republican voters now have a choice of who they want to be their nominee to replace State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, in the General Assembly.

Ben Stratemeyer, of Centralia, and chairman of the Marion County Republican Party has thrown his name in the hat for the 54th Senate District.

Stratemeyer, who is a certified public accountant, announced his run Tuesday, which sets up a primary against Rafael Him on March 20.

“We can solve our budget problems if we simply take the steps needed to create new jobs and new opportunities,” Stratemeyer said in a news release. “The current policies of high taxes and excessive spending are making it virtually impossible for Illinois to compete. The status quo is unacceptable.”

McCarter has decided not to run for re-election after pledging to self-impose term limits.

Stratemeyer said he opposes the recent income tax increase and would work to roll it back.

“For over 20 years I’ve helped people get control of their finances,” Stratemeyer said. “My top priority as a legislator will be to find ways for Illinois to save taxpayers money. We can’t continue to spend money we don’t have. Overspending doesn’t work for my clients, and it clearly doesn’t work for the State of Illinois. As taxpayers, we deserve better.”

Stratemeyer and his wife, Celeste, have two daughters, Audrey, 22, and Natalie, 19. He also owns a country music radio station.

His family has been in Illinois since the 1820s and says his family is vested in the state, which he called a “mess.”

“It is our home, it is our legacy,” Stratemeyer said. “Illinois needs to be corrected and the ship righted.”

The 54th District runs from Effingham to Edwardsville and includes Nashville, Okawville, Salem and Greenville, among other towns.

“I am running because I want my children and grandchildren to have the same kind of opportunities in Illinois I had,” Stratemeyer said. “Too many people have left Illinois because they cannot find work. We must turn our state around. I can help make our great state a destination again for new jobs and opportunities.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter