Endorsement: Wheeler for House Dist. 50
The race for state representative from the 50th District features two qualified candidates with very different views of government hoping to replace Republican Kay Hatcher, who did not seek re-election. Republican Keith Wheeler, 47, favors very limited government, strongly opposes extension of the state income tax increase and presses a variety of ideas to encourage small business growth, from reducing regulations to further reforming workers' compensation rules. For a newcomer to statewide office, he is impressively well-informed on the details of issues facing Illinois' legislature, and, although his positions on economic and social issues are staunchly conservative, he demonstrates a clear willingness and ability to consider the interests of and work effectively with people who disagree with him. A successful small business owner, he has held top leadership roles in organizations as diverse as the National Federation of Independent Business and the Kendall County Food Pantry. His opponent, Democrat Valerie Burd, 67, is a former alderman and mayor of Yorkville. She agrees the state income tax increase should not be extended, but favors revising the system to allow a graduated income tax, particularly to help stabilize school funding. She's a thoughtful and serious candidate, but Wheeler's ideas and approach provide more of the philosophical balance currently needed in Springfield. He is endorsed.