Jim Oberweis says that after losing two 2008 races to become the 14th District's congressman, he was done being a candidate for political office.
The chairman of Oberweis Dairy and founder of Oberweis Securities and Oberweis Asset Management had had it. Before the congressional run, he had unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor and twice sought a U.S. Senate seat.
Oberweis bought a condo in Naples, Fla., and spent much of last winter there "playing more golf than I have ever played," he says.
But when 25th District State Sen. Chris Lauzen announced he was going to run for Kane County Board chairman, Oberweis' interest in serving was rekindled.
"I'm an economist by desire. Tax policy is of great interest to me," he said.
And, if he wanted to do something to fix the state's finances, the time is now, he figures. "I'm 65 years old. The oldest an Oberweis male has lived is to 73," he points out.
Oberweis faces two opponents in the March 20 primary: Dave Richmond of Blackberry Township and Richard Slocum of Sugar Grove.
Economic issues are near and dear to the heart of the one-time junior high school teacher. He believes his business experience makes him uniquely suited to address issues with the state's pension system, budget, bill-paying and workers' compensation laws.
He questions whether current pension agreements are really legitimate, contending there might not have been "arm's-length transactions" because the state officials negotiating the pacts received large campaign contributions from the unions. If such contracts are fraudulent, the state should be able to adjust current retirees' benefits, he believes.
"I know this is a strong position not everybody will agree with," Oberweis says.
He calls workman's compensation "a mess," wants to immediately repeal the 66 percent state income tax increase, and says if district Republicans are looking for somebody to "bring back the bacon" to the district, "I'm not the right guy."
Oberweis says extending Metra service to Yorkville, widening Route 47 and other transportation projects are good ideas. "But first we have to get our spending fixed ... fast," he said.
And fast it would have to be, because Oberweis believes state senate terms should be limited to eight years. He thinks the state is in the trouble it's in because of career politicians, beholden to their contributors.
Oberweis believes that despite receiving at least $110,005 in contributions to his campaign since Oct. 1, he will not be influenced.
"Because I don't care if I get re-elected or not," he says.