Sen. Michael Noland's challenger in the 22nd District is campaigning on the idea that he'll do a better job bringing people together.
Tim Elenz, of Streamwood, is hoping to beat Noland in the Democratic primary. Elenz points to voting differences between the senator and State Reps. Keith Farnham and Fred Crespo. He is calling for a united front among legislators for the good of the region.
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"When you're not working together, you miss a lot of opportunities to bring resources to a district," Elenz said.
Elenz points primarily to a "present" vote by Noland concerning casino expansion -- a move that drew criticism from those relying on revenue from Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino.
Noland, of Elgin, said that vote was tied to working out legislation related to something else and maintained his commitment to protecting the casino. He said he has consistently sponsored anti-cannibalization legislation that would insulate the Grand Victoria and the money it brings into the region.
Elenz, who has never run for a political office before, said he was pulled into the 22nd District race because it was the place of greatest need. He said voter turnout has been terrible and the party could benefit from new people with fresh ideas.
"I just think we need to start pulling together or we're going to fall apart," Elenz said. "The first thing is to re-establish the Democratic Party out here."
Noland was surprised to hear about the tension Elenz suggested among the house and senate representatives, saying his staff meets regularly with the staffs of Farnham and Crespo in a cooperative working relationship.
Noland said he does not think the three representatives in this area should vote in "lock step" on every vote -- saying that would be unproductive.
"If they feel they want to go a different direction or take a different vote, they have the right to process all the information they have available to them and arrive at a different conclusion," Noland said.
Elenz called the need for building consensus among the local legislators his number one campaign issue, following it with economic development and education. Noland ranked job creation, tax reform and pension reform as his top priorities.
The 22nd district includes portions of Cook and Kane counties.