FORSYTH — State Rep. Bill Mitchell is hoping to continue the work that has been started in resolving what he sees as two top issues facing the state and his legislative district.
Having served in the House since 1999, Mitchell, R-Forsyth, is seeking re-election for another term on Nov. 8. He faces an opponent, Christine Law, a Democrat from Forsyth, who has not actively campaigned for the position.
The race is in the 101st House District, which covers all or parts of Macon, DeWitt, Piatt, McLean and Champaign counties.
Mitchell said his focus is on addressing the state's budget crisis and finding a way to keep Exelon's Clinton Power Station open.
“Illinois has become a bad joke, but we've got a great state,” Mitchell said. “We've got to get serious about addressing the problems. We can't play games anymore.”
The budget deficit and unpaid bills are continuing to drag the state down with a broad impact, he said.
“We've never been in worse shape,” Mitchell said. “We can't continue to spend money we don't have. Now we've got a fiscal train wreck.”
Mitchell said keeping the Clinton plant open is another top priority to keep the hundreds of jobs it provides in the area along with tax revenue generated for taxing bodies, including the city of Clinton, Clinton School District and the Richland Community College District.
His one concern is the price tag for reaching a deal could become too high, and an agreement won't be reached.
Exelon continues to meet with various interest groups, which Mitchell said is a sign a deal is still possible. The issue could be discussed during the upcoming November veto session.
“My biggest goal is keeping those jobs throughout the whole area,” Mitchell said. “That's an immediate focus.”
Mitchell, who has never been in the majority party, hopes the ideas he has proposed can ultimately benefit taxpayers. He introduced a taxpayer bill of rights in 2003 proposing the Illinois budget can't grow without an increase in population or adjustment for inflation.
If that measure had been successful, Mitchell said the state could have a budget surplus.
After serving for nearly 18 years, Mitchell is taking a one-election-at-a-time approach and not looking too far ahead with a long list of goals.
“I hope I have served with honor,” Mitchell said. “I will continue to do that.”