If retail politics is the key to winning the Illinois State Senate seat being vacated by retiring , the three candidates for the position were doing exactly that by meeting voters Saturday and Sunday.
, one of two Democrats seeking her party’s nomination in the March 20 primary, and Republican , a Highland Park pediatrician, were knocking on doors in Northbrook over the weekend.
The other Democrat, Lake Bluff business consultant , was in as well attending a commemoration of the .
Friedman and Morrison got a sense of what is on voters’ minds and not everyone has the same concerns. When Morrison stopped at the home of Dan and Debbie Rabishaw Saturday, she learned they place a priority on education and Medicaid funding.
Debbie Rabishaw is the president of Northbrook School District 27 and they both work for a hospice organization. “We were pleased when the funding started again,” Debbie Rabishaw said referring to the fact state Medicaid reimbursements were reinstated recently for people on hospice care.
Empathy from Morrison
As the person responsible for administering programs for people in need in West Deerfield Township, Morrison was able to empathize. The township includes all of Deerfield as well as parts of Highland Park and Lake Forest. “I administer to a lot of recipients,” she said.
Friedman also likes to talk to voters about Medicaid but he finds every time he gets into a conversation about non business related issues, people only want to talk about jobs and the economy. “When I talk about Medicaid they keep circling back to taxes and business,” he said.
When Friedman asked Jerry Shifrin of Glenview, who was visiting people in Northbrook when they met Sunday, what mattered most, Shifrin’s answer was quick and direct demonstrating Friedman’s point. Shifrin owns the Chicago Mattress Company.
“I own a small business, we employ 113 people and we have to pay $266,000 for workmen’s comp (premiums),” Shifrin said. “In Wisconsin or Indiana we would pay $65,000 to $70,000. Indiana and Wisconsin have the right environment.”
One thing Friedman would like to do is reduce the number of taxing bodies in the state. He is critical of people receiving property tax bills from townships, school districts, municipalities and park districts. He hears their frustration.
“Illinois has the largest number of taxing bodies of any state times two,” Friedman said. “People are frustrated their property values are going down while their (property) taxes are going up.”
Friedman Wants Less Taxing Bodies
If elected, Friedman would try to reduce the number of agencies. He also wants to see an environment where business becomes more comfortable in the state so Illinois can grow out of its fiscal problems.
Morrison finds people concerned about a wider range of issues. They were asking her about pension liability, budgets, transparency and the environment. One person questioned Morrison about fracking, an issue in the natural gas production areas of downstate Illinois.
“I’m learning about fracking,” Morrison said referring to methods of mining allegedly harmful to the environment. “They (voters she encounters) are very concerned about the environment.”
Meanwhile, as Morrison went from door to door Saturday she heard complaints about the lack of transparency in Illinois politics. “Illinois has a reputation for corruption and they want me to help dissipate that,” she said.
Morrison has already dealt with transparency in her current job. “Everything is on line, the budget, the minutes, everything we do,” she said of West Deerfield Township. “If someone calls we give them the answer or get it for them. It’s the taxpayer’s dollars we’re dealing with.”
While Sumption will save door to door campaigning for another time, he was impressed with the commitment of people at St. Norbert’s Church in Northbrook to do something about gun violence. “We need to redouble our efforts to make our community safe and secure,” he said.