Candidate Profile: Blaine Wilhour

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Blaine Wilhour

Office seeking: State Representative - 107th District

Party: Republican

Age: 36

City of residence: Beecher City

Campaign website: wilhour4il.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running because I want to help lead an effort to turn our state around. Bad policies and poor leadership have left our state mired in debt and our budget out of balance. We have sustained population loss that we simply cannot ignore. Illinois has moved below Pennsylvania in terms of population and we are for sure losing at least one congressional seat and possibly two seats after the next census. No one can look at what is going on in Illinois and conclude that our state needs more of the same bad policies. I am going to Springfield to change the status quo. I am committed to enacting the kind of reforms we need to end the culture of corruption in Springfield. If voters are tired of the culture of corruption in Springfield, the high taxes we pay in this state and the over burdensome regulations that make it difficult to attract new jobs and opportunities, then voters should support me.

Who will you support for Speaker of the House and why? I will be supporting Republican Leader Jim Durkin for Speaker.House Speaker Michael Madigan has held power for far too long and under his leadership our state is crumbling. We need new leadership in the Illinois House of Representatives.

What is your position on organized labor and the Janus decision striking down the requirement for public sector workers to pay fair share fees even if they don’t want to? I am the only blue-collar worker in this race.I am a builder and I work every day on a job site with a crew of workers. I support the rights of workers to organize, but I do not see the Janus decision as an existential threat to organized labor. I see it as a decision to protect the interests of workers. If some workers do not want their dues going to fund political campaigns – shouldn’t they have that right? If the public sector unions are doing a good job providing ongoing value and representing the long-term interest of the workers then they should not have a problem retaining members. I think the Janus decision is just common sense.

What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? Gaming is here to stay in Illinois. There are too many jobs at stake for it to go away. I think, though, gaming should be handled better with the interests of the people in mind – not the interests of a few well-connected insiders. We also must respect the rights of communities. If residents don’t want gaming in their communities – they should be allowed to make those decisions at the local level. I will keep an open mind when it comes to any gaming expansion bill, but my priority will be making sure the interests of the people in my district are protected in any gaming expansion bill.

Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? President Trump continues to push for a comprehensive transportation plan. I think before we roll out a new major Capital improvement program, we need to see what happens at the national level. To me, if we are able to secure significant additional federal funds for transportation, that would be the right opportunity to launch a major capital improvement plan of our own. I would not support raising taxes for transportation purposes, but I would be open to exploring options to borrow money and using existing transportation funds and any additional federal funds we might be receiving to craft a much-needed infrastructure plan.

What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? I think the Legislature should have some hearings on the opioid crisis to hear from experts on what is happening and what they think the Legislature should do. The hearings should be held in different regions of the state and all members of the Legislature should be invited to attend the hearings regardless of which committee is heading up the hearings. That is where this should start. Then based on the hearings, the Legislature should begin putting legislation together.

What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates affect the state’s revenues? I support repealing the 32 percent income tax increase recently approved. I am opposed to enacting a progressive income tax. The problem we have in Illinois is not that our taxes are too low. The problem is our spending is too high and bad policies are making it difficult for Illinois to attract jobs and opportunities. If raising taxes is the end all be all solution to our economic woes – why do we have so many unresolved financial issues in Illinois?We keep raising taxes in Illinois, but our economic problems continue to worsen.

Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? I support term limits and I will abide by any term limits law we are able to pass. I do not want to be a state legislator for life, but I am running for very specific reasons. I want to turn our state around. I want to see our taxes lowered and I want to see sound policies put into place to make our state more attractive to potential employers. I am not sure how long that will take and so for now, I have not set in stone how many terms I will seek.