Why Republican candidates in 66th House District are running for office

A longtime accountant and a former TV producer, both of whom have been involved in local politics, are vying to become the Republican nominee for the 66th House District.

The candidates are Connie Cain of Gilberts and Arin Thrower of West Dundee. The winner of the June primary will go on to the November election and face state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, who currently represents the district.

The 66th House District, part of the newly drawn state legislative district map approved last year, includes parts of McHenry and Kane counties and runs for almost 20 miles from Crystal Lake to Elgin.

For Cain, who describes herself as a "proud veteran" after serving in the Army Reserves for eight years and a lifelong Illinois resident, the primary issue of concern is reducing the tax burden placed on Illinois residents by the state pension system.

She has been involved for the past five years with the Lincoln Lobby, an offshoot of the Illinois Policy Institute that focuses on ensuring accountability from elected officials on a range of issues, including economics and corruption, according to its Facebook page.

Thrower, who became the Dundee Township supervisor last year, said among her major concerns is eliminating excessive government spending and restoring checks and balances within state politics.

She also said her experience as a township supervisor gives her a head start in building connections and understanding local infrastructure needs that depend on state funding.

Both candidates cited economic concerns and the ability of Democrats to push through legislation unilaterally. They also pointed to the criminal justice legislation known as the Safe-T Act and the law that allows minors to get an abortion without notifying their parents, which each said they would work to repeal.

"Girls as young as 11 need parental consent to get a tattoo or go to a tanning bed, but their parents won't find out if they get an abortion?" Cain said. "Parents should not be left in the dark about their child's welfare."

Thrower said, "Everyone I've spoken with feels this bill isn't right," noting that Ness voted for the measure.

Cain said she thinks unilateral decision-making also is to blame for problems with the current district maps and the state's pension system.

Thrower, who described the criminal justice legislation as "anti-police" and "pro-criminal," said Gov. JB Pritzker and Democrats in the statehouse are not respecting the principle of checks and balances.

"Our governor has taken a go-alone approach since the pandemic, which does not work," Thrower said. "Downstate, the community doesn't want to see one party taking control and making unilateral decisions. I think we have better outcomes when we collaborate."

Cain said Illinois is one of only three states - along with Mississippi and West Virginia - that saw a population decline in the 2020 census, according to a census report on Midwest states from last year. The population loss was 0.1%.

"The state is underperforming," Cain said. "Meanwhile, the Midwest region is growing except for us. It has nothing to do with the cold weather. It's about public policy."

Both candidates said they would work to curb, when possible, excessive government spending.

Thrower said she feels redundancy in programs occurred at all levels, and that was among the initial reasons why she decided to run for township supervisor in 2020.

Cain described the state's public pension system as "the biggest financial problem we have." She said she thinks a change to the state constitution will be necessary to adjust future pensions.

"I fully support protecting earned benefits, and public employees deserve the benefits they worked for," Cain said. "But we should change future benefits to make them more affordable for taxpayers. People who are younger have more flexibility, have a longer time horizon to save for their retirement."

Thrower said she would like to introduce legislation, should she win, that would allow projects such as solar farms to be placed on government-owned lands, where the revenue would help pay for maintenance or potentially go back to taxpayers.

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