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updated: 10/2/2012 11:59 AM

Veteran GOP politician has challenger in House District 61

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  • Democrat Ed Erwin opposes Republican JoAnn Osmond in the 61st state House race.

    Democrat Ed Erwin opposes Republican JoAnn Osmond in the 61st state House race.


Democrat Ed Erwin is seeking to topple veteran Republican politician JoAnn Osmond for the 61st House District seat in the November election.

Osmond, of Antioch, has been a state representative since 2002. Erwin, a Lindenhurst resident, is semiretired and previously worked as an attorney and operated a family business.

All of Winthrop Harbor, Zion, Newport Township, Wadsworth and Old Mill Creek are in the newly configured 61st House District. It also includes parts of Gurnee, Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.

Erwin and Osmond recently participated in a Daily Herald editorial board interview and addressed issues in candidate questionnaires.

One question the candidates answered was how they would pursue cutting the state budget, if elected.

Erwin said while Illinois government may be bloated in some areas, it's thin in others. For example, he said, key positions remain unfilled at the Illinois Department of Revenue.

He said a lack of staffing at the revenue department inhibits the state's ability to fully enforce current tax laws and collect legitimately accrued tax liability. While positions in all departments should be audited, he said, Revenue is among those that should always have full staffing because it takes in more than it spends.

"Rather than continue the roller-coaster cycle of Draconian cuts in difficult economic times only to refill the ranks to overflowing under better economic conditions, the state needs to push harder toward a lean process of government," Erwin said.

Osmond said she'd favor seeking cuts by focusing on fraud, making sure overdue bills are part of the budget and paid, and "absolutely no new programs."

"Look for duplicate programs and consolidations in all departments," she said.

On the issue of tax breaks for companies such as Google Inc.-owned Motorola Mobility, now leaving Libertyville for Chicago, Erwin said incentives that seek only to maintain the status quo are a bad investment. Osmond said the tax breaks given to major companies were done to keep them in Illinois.

Erwin's election committee had $4,025 in the bank as of June 30, according to the most recently available state campaign disclosure documents as of Monday. State documents show Osmond's campaign committee had $8,847 available at the end of a quarterly reporting period June 30.

Top contributors to Erwin so far include $2,500 from the Lake County Federation of Teachers union in July. Abbott Laboratories provided $3,000 to Osmond's campaign in August, according to state documents.

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