Mulligan wins re-election in 65th House race

Updated 11/3/2010 1:51 AM
  • Rosemary Mulligan

    Rosemary Mulligan

Republican state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan coasted to victory Tuesday, securing another 2-year term representing the 65th House District, trouncing challenger Wendy Gruen by a 2-1 margin.

With all 83 precincts in Chicago and suburban Cook County reporting, unofficial vote totals show Mulligan garnered 68 percent or 18,380 votes to Gruen's 32 percent or 8,731 votes.

Mulligan could not be reached for comment.

Mulligan, a Des Plaines resident, had said during the campaign that her top priorities are restoring fiscal responsibility to the state, keeping jobs in Illinois and creating new employment opportunities, and integrating the new national health care into the Illinois system without breaking the bank.

Political newcomer Gruen's top campaign issues were addressing the state's budget crisis, creating jobs and making Illinois more business friendly, and improving the quality of education.

During the campaign, Mulligan and Gruen, who also lives in Des Plaines, differed on how to solve the state's budget problems.

Mulligan, serving her ninth term in the General Assembly, is against raising the income tax and said she would support expanding the sales tax base with a slight decrease in the sales tax rate if the service industry were included.

Gruen supported income or sales tax increases, as well as expanding the sales tax to include the service sector.

However, the candidates had far more similarities than differences.

Both Mulligan and Gruen support civil unions and gay marriage, and the recently-enacted campaign finance caps for legislative leaders and parties.

On state pension reform, both candidates agreed focusing on the future instead of making dramatic changes affecting retirees and current employees is the way to go. They agreed that the larger problem of mounting unfunded pension obligations is the state taking money from pension funds to plug holes in other parts of the budget. They also said they would support raising the retirement age for state employees, though Gruen would consider exempting some workers, including firefighters, security personnel and teachers.

Mulligan supports limits on how much an employee's salary can be raised on pay hikes in the last two years before retirement, which leads to higher pension payouts.

The 65th District includes portions of Maine, Elk Grove, Niles, and Norwood Park townships, and portions of Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Rosemont, Norridge, Harwood Heights, and Chicago.