Election: 50th District Representative

By on March 7, 2014

Four candidates on March 18 will compete for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination.

juliecosimoJulie Cosimo
Julie Cosimo defines the role of the 50th District Representative as serving the constituents of its district on a full-time basis, in addition to introducing bills and resolutions and serving on committees.

“A representative in any district should be the eyes and ears of the constituents they serve and that of the community,” she said.

Cosimo will challenge for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination on the March 18 General Primary Election ballot. She’s the director of Career Development and a lecturer at Benedictine University, and currently serves as the first vice president of the Kendall County Republican Women, president of the Illinois Small College Placement Association and as a board member for the Kendall County Historical Society.

“In my current position, I speak to employers and job seekers everyday who express their frustrations with the job market and the current state of the economy,” Cosimo said. “I am running (for office) to move Springfield in a better direction by reducing spending, spurring job growth, holding down taxes and improving educational opportunities.”

Cosimo believes she’s the best candidate for 50th District Representative because she has over 17 years of experience in education; extensive experience in workforce development and job creation, including work with thousands of job seekers and employers to create job opportunities; and she founded and ran a successful business, providing her with a strong foundation in understanding the challenges that both employees and employers face.

“I believe that the combination of all of these experiences will be instrumental in moving our state in the right direction. Additionally, over the years, I have served on many committees and boards, of which I believe to be an asset to being able to serve the voters in this district,” Cosimo said.

If elected, Cosimo’s priorities will include creating an environment that will improve the economy and create good-paying jobs; developing a business-friendly environment by removing unnecessary regulations and reducing taxation that prevent businesses from hiring and retaining employees; and putting the Medicaid system under the microscope.

“With the rise in Medicaid fraud, our state needs to strongly look at eligibility requirements and ensure that people that should not be on Medicaid are not receiving it,” Cosimo said. “A system needs to be put in place where there needs to be better oversight for those that receive Medicaid.”

In terms of improving the economy and creating jobs that pay well, Cosimo said it can be done by partnering with businesses and colleges to develop workforce-training programs that will prepare our community residence for a 21st century global workforce.

“We need to get people back to work,” she said.

Cosimo would also join a coalition of “like-minded legislators in Springfield who can work together.”

“There are good elected officials in Springfield that want to make a difference. I will find them, join them and work with them to create a team to provide a better solution for the good of Illinois,” she said. “We will do this by becoming a vocal minority that gets the attention of the media, voters and eventually the legislators in Springfield.”

Cosimo is running for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination because she wants to be influential in restoring Illinois to its natural health while focusing on building a better job market and improving the educational system.

“I have never held an elected office, nor have I ever received or requested any money from taxpayers,” she said.

Beth_GoncherBeth Goncher
When it comes to discussing her qualifications for office, 50th District Representative Republican candidate Beth Gonchar is humble and straightforward.

“There is very little my opponents and I disagree on but I’m the only candidate who can hit the ground running in Springfield,” Goncher said. “This is not the time for on-the-job training. I understand the legislative process. I know the issues and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. More importantly, I understand how bad legislation affects our families and our employers. Springfield is out of gimmicks, and the issues facing our state are urgent.”

A graduate of Rosary High School and Dominican University, Goncher spent numerous years working in human resources before she took a job as Legislative and Constituent Services director for State Representative Tim Schmitz in 2001—a position she holds to this day. She also served on the Board of Directors for The Compassion Foundation, a not-for-profit, before she was named executive director of the organization in January 2014.

Goncher believes the role of the office of State Representative is to be a voice and a resource for the people of the district, as well as the state. She said the position of State Representative should not be looked at as a career, but rather as a privilege.

“I’m outraged at business as usual in Illinois politics,” she said. “I’ve spent years talking with friends and neighbors from all different backgrounds. I know there are others like me who are outraged by the dysfunction in Springfield. Members of the Illinois Legislature seem to care more about getting re-elected than dealing with out-of-control spending, and satisfying special interests than they do about families and jobs. I’ve had enough, and I’m not the only one.”

If elected, Goncher’s priorities will include the state budget, promoting job policies and reforming the pension system while enacting term limits for all state politicians in order to “stop career politicians who got us in this mess.”

“I strongly support and will push for a balanced budget amendment and crystal-clear transparency in the state budget to end the shell games that have put us in this mess,” she said. “(Promotion of job policies) will make Illinois competitive again with our neighboring states. We’re getting left behind and we must have forward-thinking leadership before it’s too late for us.”

Gonchar knows full well what it will take to achieve her goals if she takes office.

“I’m going to work tirelessly to be the voice of communities in our area,” she said. “Places like Elburn and Sugar Grove, Batavia and Yorkville, where common sense still matters and you simply don’t spend more money than you have. I’m outraged at the lack of common sense in Springfield, and I want people to know that our voices will be heard.”

bill_keckWilliam Keck
In his candidacy for the 50th District Representative Republican nomination this spring, candidate William Keck’s message is simple and to the point.

“I want to represent the citizens of District 50 in the Illinois General Assembly,” he said.

Keck served as Kane County Auditor from 1992 to 2012, but that’s hardly where his resume ends. He’s currently treasurer for the Kane County Central Committee and Kane County Western Township, and has served as a charter member of the Sugar Grove Lions Club since 1969. He was the founding director of Mutual Ground in 1975, Sugar Grove Troop 41 Boy Scout leader from 1968 to 1970, and currently on the St. Gall Church Finance Committee and as secretary treasurer for the Sugar Grove Cemetery Association.

Keck is a lifelong resident of Sugar Grove, and describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative who believes strongly in the platform of the Republican Party. He holds a BBA in management from Notre Dame University and a Master of Science in accountancy from Northern Illinois University.

Keck said he is concerned about the state of Illinois’ financial condition and believes that an audit professional can make a difference.

“I am the only candidate with experience managing government budgets,” he said.

Should he be elected, Keck’s priorities will include creating a balanced budget with a revenue stream for each expenditure; honoring agreements and fully funding the pension liability; and encouraging small-business development with tax incentives and a reduction of regulations.

Keck would also work with fellow Republicans and Democrats who are concerned with the condition of Illinois’ finances and want to save the state from bankruptcy.

“Having served five terms as Kane County Auditor, I believe that an audit professional can make a difference in the Illinois General Assembly,” Keck said. “I do not agree with a tax increase at this time. We need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in Illinois government.”

Keck also opposes a progressive income tax.

“Illinois needs to return to the flat 3 percent income tax.”

Wheeler_KeithKeith Wheeler
Keith Wheeler sees the role of 50th District Representative as the people’s representation in the General Assembly in Springfield.

“While the General Assembly is seen primarily in its role of making laws, a state representative is also a resource for constituents when it comes to state government issues, problems and concerns,” he said.

Wheeler on March 18 will seek the 50th District Representative Republican nomination.

He currently owns Responsive Network Services, LLC., and serves as a Bristol Township trustee and Bristol 5 Republican Precinct committeeman.

He’s also currently the board chairman for Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, board chairman for Kendall County Food Pantry, Illinois Leadership Council chairman for National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), current board treasurer for Oswego Bears Youth Football and Cheer Pop Warner program, District 308 Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee member.

As a small business owner in Illinois, Wheeler said he has seen first-hand the damage that Springfield has done to the Illinois business community.

“Employers, jobs and families are leaving Illinois at a frightening pace. In my role as board chairman of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Leadership Council for NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), I hear from fellow business owners that Illinois is not as competitive as we should be. That is demonstrated by our unemployment rate being higher than any of our neighboring states. We see it locally by the increase in the demand for food at local food pantries. I pay close attention to this in my role as the Kendall County Food Pantry board chairman. I am running to help create and support Illinois jobs for Illinois families—that’s actually the theme of my campaign.”

Twenty-two years as a small-business owner means that Wheeler signs the front of paychecks; not just the back. It also means he understands what job creators are dealing with in today’s business climate. He believes he has a pulse on the business community and has working relationships with the organizations that understand what needs to change in order to improve the business and hiring climate in Illinois.

And as a parent with young children, Wheeler’s eye is on the future.

“We need to make Illinois a state with an education system of which we are proud and that we can count on for preparing the next generation for success here in Illinois,” he said.

If elected, Wheeler’s priorities will include job creation, a focus on state spending and pension reform.

“While our state has been struggling to pay its bills and we suffered through a 67 percent increase in income taxes, the Democrats in Springfield increased state spending instead of paying off the outstanding bills,” Wheeler said. “This is the wrong approach to improving the balance sheet of the state of Illinois. We need to examine runaway Medicaid fraud and perform a forensic audit of state spending to root out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending.

In regard to pension reform, Wheeler believes the only way to truly solve the pension mess would be to move to a defined contribution system so that payment to and on behalf of the employee will be complete at the same time the employee is working.

“For this reason, I will support massive expansion of the new defined contribution program that was introduced in the recent pension bill,” he said.

An important step Wheeler would like to lead with is creation of a bipartisan Small Business Caucus to give the job-creating small-business community in Illinois a louder voice in Springfield.

Wheeler created a plan called “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families” in order to make the state “more competitive and give companies, entrepreneurs and hard-working citizens a reason to make Illinois their home.” The outline of Wheeler’s plan includes:
• Make Illinois a more affordable place to do business—stop the progressive income tax which would raise taxes on 85 percent of Illinois families
• Clean up the pension and bill payment mess in Springfield
• Perform a forensic audit to clear out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative state spending
• Restore state funding promised to local school districts to keep our promise to our kids and prevent further increases in property taxes