The March 18 primary election features two Republican candidates in the 42nd District in the Illinois House of Representatives, with incumbent Jeanne Ives running for re-election against challenger Adam Johnson.
There is no Democratic candidate currently in the race for the seat.
The 42nd District includes a part of Naperville.
“It’s very obvious that the taxpayers need someone like me who understands the game that’s being played against them in Springfield,” Ives said in a recent telephone interview.
Ives is a Wheaton resident and married mother of five, graduating in 1987 from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
She served on active duty until 1993, when she began devoting her time to raising her children.
Ives became active in Wheaton politics, first focusing on a controversial special service taxing area in downtown Wheaton, and later running for and winning a seat on Wheaton City Council.
After serving on that body, she won a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and used it as a platform to advocate for fiscal responsibility in state finances.
With unfunded state pension liabilities totaling anywhere from $80 billion to $200 billion, depending on which expert is doing the estimating, Ives said her first priority if re-elected will be to continue to advocate for pension reform.
Another priority for Ives is reforming the state’s tax code, which she said stifles business growth and reduces opportunities for all Illinois residents.
Ives is opposed to any attempt to place a referendum question on the November ballot asking voters to implement a graduated state income tax.
Her website said that the state already collects more taxes from people with higher incomes.
“What’s not graduated about that.”
Johnson responded to questions by email.
“I’m running for state representative to deliver results that benefit the working families of our community,” read his statement. “My first priority would be to deliver tax relief to put more money in the pockets of working families.”
Johnson in a Warrenville resident, where he resides with his wife and 3-year-old son.
He graduated from Wheaton-Warrenville South High School in 1998 and Harvard University in 2002.
Johnson is a past president of the DuPage Young Republicans and currently employed in the DuPage County Clerk’s office.
Johnson’s positions on significant issues differ very little from his opponent.
“The failure of Illinois politicians to adequately fund pension promises they made was irresponsible and inexcusable,” read his email.
Johnson said that the recently passed pension reform bill was “an attempt to move the ball forward on this problem,” but noted that it remained uncertain that it was consistent with the Illinois Constitution and would remain uncertain until court challenges clarified the matter.
Consistent with his pledge to fight high taxes, Johnson promised to vote no on any attempt to keep the 2011 state tax increase in place, saying that it “has a real impact” on the lives of hard-working families.
He also opposes any attempt to implement a graduated income tax on Illinois wage earners.
“This proposal effectively gives the legislature a blank check that can be used to raise taxes on working and middle class families and then asks us to trust that it will only be used to raise taxes on ‘the rich,’” he said.
Johnson didn’t offer any prediction on the outcome of the March 18 primary.
Ives said she was confident of victory, but working hard.
“I’m not leaving anything to chance,” she said.