Des Plaines mayor reflects on road ahead in Ill. House

Knees weary from walking the campaign trail roughly 60 hours a week in the run-up to Tuesday’s election, newly-elected Democratic state Rep. Marty Moylan stopped in at the Sugar Bowl restaurant in downtown Des Plaines Wednesday morning to thank supporters.

Moylan, mayor of Des Plaines, clinched the 55th House District seat with 20,513 votes, beating Park Ridge Republican Susan Sweeney who garnered 17,959 votes, according to unofficial vote totals from 73 precincts in suburban Cook County and Chicago.

Moylan beamed as he shook hands with voters who congratulated him on the hard-fought victory.

“This has been in Republican hands forever,” he said about the new 55th District, which includes large portions of Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg and parts of Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights.

Moylan said he walked the entire district nearly three times in the last 14 months. He said his message of moderation and fiscal conservatism resonated with enough voters, especially in Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village.

Wife Lisa Moylan teared up as she talked about the 61-year-old’s dedication during the campaign. She said no other candidate worked harder to get to know the district, often walking 10 hours a day over the last 14 months.

Though his new job will force Moylan to spend more time away from his family, Lisa Moylan said she couldn’t be more proud.

“It’s where his heart is,” she added.

Moylan will step down as mayor of Des Plaines before taking office in January. He served two years as a Des Plaines alderman before being elected mayor in 2009. Moylan also retired earlier this year from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134.

Des Plaines resident Charlie Molnar said he hopes Moylan is able to secure more of the Rivers Casino gambling tax revenue from the state.

“If he’s as good a state representative as he is mayor, we’ll all be happy,” he said.

Resident Bill Schaefer said he hopes Moylan brings more state revenue to Des Plaines to ease residents’ tax burdens.

“Our taxes every year, even with the casino, have gone up,” he said. “That would be my only hope that Marty can do something.”

Moylan said his first order of business in Springfield is to get more money for infrastructure projects and education in the district, as well as trying to reduce the city’s commitment to give much of its gambling revenues to the state.

Per the deal that landed Des Plaines the 10th casino license, the city must pay the state $10 million yearly over the next 30 years and share 40 percent of the remaining revenues with 10 disadvantaged communities. The latest version of proposed gambling expansion legislation would have given Des Plaines a roughly $4 million break on what it owes the state. Moylan said while he doesn’t favor it, he expects expansion legislation to pass and he wants to be sure Des Plaines benefits.

“Right now, we have an agreement that’s going to be very hard to break,” he said.

Moylan said the district has many needs, including neighboring Park Ridge’s infrastructure problems with flooding.

“Our city of Des Plaines is way ahead of the surrounding suburbs because we plan for major infrastructure programs,” Moylan said, adding that much of the city’s gambling tax revenue is targeted for meeting infrastructure needs within the community. “Park Ridge is suffering because they don’t have any way of generating new revenue.”

Moylan said he also will work with Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson to bring more businesses to fill vacancies within that town’s industrial park.

“The whole area is suffering because of the economy,” Moylan said. “One of Des Plaines’ main problems is Metropolitan Square here. Now that it’s been sold at a bargain rate, we’re hoping the new owner will bring the (lease) rates down.”

Once in Springfield, Moylan said he will push for repealing the 67 percent state income tax hike by advocating for it to be scaled back incrementally.

  Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan kisses Angeliki Stephenson for her support as he visits patrons of the Sugar Bowl restaurant after winning the 55th State House District race. Bob Chwedyk/
  Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan visits with, from left, Pat Orlow, Leslie Menarik and Marie Grasser, thanking patrons of the Sugar Bowl restaurant for voting for him to represent the 55th State House District. Bob Chwedyk/
  Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan thanks, from left, Bill Schaefer, Charlie Molnar, George Ruckrich and Bill Hanhardt for their support while visiting with patrons at the Sugar Bowl restaurant after securing the 55th State House District seat Tuesday. Bob Chwedyk/
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