Endorsements: Schofield for GOP, Ness for Democrats in House District 66
Republican voters in state House District 66 will see a rematch of two veteran politicians in the March 17 primary, while Democratic voters will choose between a pair of candidates with less than two years experience in their current local government posts.
The GOP race features incumbent Allen Skillicorn, an entrepreneur from East Dundee, and McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, a substitute teacher from Crystal Lake. Skillicorn defeated Schofield in the 2018 primary.
On the Democrats' side, Carpentersville Trustee Jim Malone, a union sheet metal worker who was appointed a year ago to fill a village board vacancy, takes on McHenry County Board member Suzanne Ness of Crystal Lake, who owns a corporate training and coaching firm. Ness, who was elected to her District 2 seat in 2018, has received financial support from party leaders.
Skillicorn and Schofield hold similar views on several issues, including the need for pension relief and opposing the graduated income tax. They cite property taxes as the biggest problem facing residents.
The difference is one of style. Skillicorn has a reputation for being combative dating to his days as an East Dundee trustee. He has filed legislative bills to balance the state budget and provide pension relief that have failed to gain traction. While that's not surprising given Springfield's political climate, it may also reflect a lack of compromise and coalition building.
Schofield's resume shows she's served on numerous local and regional government bodies, including many in leadership positions, and she pledges to work to find consensus in solving regional and state problems. That's a more conducive approach to making progress. She is endorsed.
While Ness and Malone both have thin government resumes, Ness has a slight experience edge. She also has more community involvement, with work in local chambers of commerce and starting a nonprofit that leads coaching groups for teens.
She offers more detailed ideas regarding a couple of complex issues. To address growing problems in pensions programs, she supports program consolidations and limiting pensions to one per person; to stem the out-migration of residents, she suggests investing in education and using tuition breaks based on GPA to incentivize graduating high school students to attend college in Illinois.
Malone says Illinois must generate more income to honor pension obligations. Much of Illinois' budget woes stem from its public pension funding crisis, so simply throwing more money at the same outdated model is not the answer. We do like his suggestion to encourage teens to attend trade schools.
Ness is endorsed.
House District 66 covers northern Kane and southern McHenry counties, including parts of Algonquin, Crystal Lake, East Dundee, West Dundee, Elgin, Gilberts, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood and Sleepy Hollow.