The Democratic challenger to a six-year Republican incumbent in the state legislature is blaming the state's fiscal woes on politicians in Springfield who she argues have been there too long.
Her opponent says he's tried to work on solutions, but his hands have been tied by House Speaker Mike Madigan, who has prevented Republicans from advancing their legislation.
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Republican Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst attorney who currently represents the 46th House District, is running in the Nov. 6 election against Democrat JoAnn Franzen, a home health care provider from Roselle, in the race for a 2-year term representing the 45th House District.
The newly redrawn district covers parts of Addison, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Itasca, Roselle, Wayne, West Chicago and Wood Dale.
Franzen is making her second run for office; she was defeated by Republican Franco Coladipietro in the 45th House District race two years ago. She says she doesn't think politics should be a lifelong career since it becomes "too much of a burden on people."
"If people have been in office for so long and nothing's being fixed, then I want to know what are you doing in office if you're not fixing things," Franzen said.
Reboletti said he often sponsors and co-sponsors legislation -- but it may never see the light of day because House rules allow any single representative to object to a bill coming to the floor for a vote. He says Madigan controls the chamber, what bills get to substantive committees, and who chairs those committees. He argues that "Madigan's thumb is on the entire General Assembly in this process."
"I truly believe my colleagues are all good people no matter what side of the aisle they're on. They come there with a purpose. They want to represent their constituents. They want to put the state of Illinois back to work," Reboletti said. "But you can't do that in an environment that only allows certain bills to get through when one person decides what those bills are."
Reboletti said he favors term limits on caucus leaders, though he indicated in a candidate questionnaire to the Daily Herald that he supports House Republican Leader Tom Cross.
Franzen said in her questionnaire that she would vote for Madigan as caucus leader "because he has been an effective leader thus far in the General Assembly." But she also said in an interview that she wouldn't vote the party line, since she agrees with both Democrats and Republicans on some issues.
"It's time we all set down our battle weapons and get things fixed," Franzen said.
Reboletti, a former Elmhurst alderman and Addison Township trustee, decided to run in the redrawn 45th District after the remapping process put him into the 47th District with fellow Republican incumbents Patti Bellock and Chris Nybo. Bellock is running unopposed in the 47th. Nybo lost a Republican primary battle to State Sen. Kirk Dillard in the 24th Senate District.
Reboletti said he would move to the 45th District if he wins. By law, he would have 18 months to do so.
Though only 20 percent of his current constituents reside in the new district, Reboletti said he shares their fiscal conservative views. He's touted the endorsements of the mayors of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Itasca, Hanover Park and Wood Dale.
Franzen said she's lived in the district for 20 years and having knocked on doors during the campaign, believes people aren't as concerned with parties.
"People want jobs, to make money, take care of their families, earn a decent wage, health care and to be able to afford what they used to afford," she said.