BLOOMINGTON — There are contested races for Illinois House in the 106th, 105th and 101st districts when voters go to the polls Nov. 6.
Republican incumbent Dan Brady of Bloomington faces Democratic challenger Ben Webb of Normal in the 105th.
Brady has been a state representative since 2001 and became deputy minority leader last year. Prior to his election to the Legislature, he was McLean County coroner from 1992 to 2000. He is a partner and funeral director at Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home, Bloomington.
Brady is minority spokesman on the higher education appropriations committee and has been active on the bipartisan higher education task force. He opposes a progressive income tax but favors eliminating the state tax on dividend and interest income.
Webb is a teacher at University High School in Normal, making his first full run for political office after a brief candidacy in the Democratic congressional primary race in the 13th District.
Webb supports a constitutional amendment to switch Illinois' income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate. He also advocates more equitable school funding, expanded funding for the Monetary Award Program for needy college students and a public option for health care.
Republican incumbent Keith Sommer of Morton is challenged by Democrat Jill Blair of Bloomington in the 106th District.
Sommer, a real estate broker, has served in the Legislature since 1999. Before becoming a state representative, he was a member of the Tazewell County Board from 1994 to 1998.
He argues that job growth is the best way to increase state revenue and few state regulations would help businesses grow. He opposes a switch to a graduated income tax.
Blair, a former Heartland Community College administrator, resigned from her job at Country Financial to campaign full time.
She favors changing to a graduated income tax rate, investing more money in education and having a public option for health care. She has said the state cannot “cut our way out” of its budgetary problems.
The retirement of Bill Mitchell after 20 years in the General Assembly left an open seat where two Decatur residents, Republican Dan Caulkins and Democrat Jennifer “Jen” McMillin, face off to serve the 101st District.
Caulkins is retired, a former owner of an assisted-living, long-term care company. He serves on the Eastern Illinois University board of trustees and is a former Decatur city councilman.
He sees the need to control government spending as the top issue. He supports workers compensation reform, opposes a graduated income tax and favors moving state agencies back to Springfield.
McMillin is annual giving officer at Lincoln College and formerly worked on kindergarten readiness and college/career prep initiatives with the Education Coalition of Macon County.
She supports switching to a graduated income tax, greater education funding stability and a comprehensive capital bill. She wants to see enactment of a Working Families Tax Credit and expanded access to the Child Care Assistance Program.