Our endorsement: Topinka for state comptroller
Incumbent Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been a mainstay in state politics for more than 30 years, serving in the Illinois House, Senate and three terms as state treasurer. Now seeking a second four-year term as comptroller, Topinka's trademark enthusiasm and energy has not waned. In her first term, the 70-year-old Riverside Republican created an online ledger to allow for more transparency of state finances while also trimming the budget and head count in the office, which oversees check writing for the state. She understands state finances and the workings of the state legislature, which gives her some leverage as she tries to push legislation and a constitutional amendment to combine the comptroller's and treasurer's offices. "I can be a horrendous nag," she said. We like her passion about her role and on the issue of combining the offices. She has earned a second term.
Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Carbondale Democrat, says she will work to combine resources of the two offices and find more efficiencies. She also said she wants to provide even more transparency for taxpayers, especially on the timing of when state bills are paid. Simon, 53, is an earnest candidate, but she fails to make a strong case as to why the better-known and much more experienced Topinka should be removed.
Also running in the Nov. 4 election is Libertarian Julie Fox.