State Senate candidate Paul Schimpf is prepared to take on Illinois political bosses
Illinois State Senate candidate Paul Schimpf is ready to take on Senate President John Cullerton (D-6th District) and Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D-22nd District), and believes he has what it takes to effectively represent the 58th District, according to a campaign commercial by Liberty Principles PAC.
While serving in Iraq, the U.S. Marine who later retired as a lieutenant colonel helped prosecute and convict Saddam Hussein of war crimes.
“Now he wants to bring his conservative beliefs, legal acumen and Marine Corps work ethic to represent your interests in Springfield against a Chicago Democrat machine that wants to ban your guns and banish businesses to other states," the ad said.
Madigan’s influence within Illinois’ legislative body cannot be denied. He has been House Speaker since 1983, with the exception of two years when Republicans gained control over the House, making him the longest-serving House speaker in Illinois history and one of the longest-serving state House speakers in U.S. history.
Chicago Magazine named Madigan the second most powerful Chicagoan in 2013 and 2014. And an article in the Chicago Tribune referred to Madigan as “boss of the Democrats and boss of Illinois.” Because of his prominent position, however, some people have been critical of his level of control over Illinois politics.
Many have blamed Madigan for lawmakers’ inability to come to an agreement to solve the state’s budget impasse. In July 2015, Gov. Bruce Rauner told the press that if it weren't for Madigan, the budget impasse would have been resolved. But some disagreed with the governor and said that without Madigan’s influence, Democrates would still have rejected Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.
The budget impasse has continued for so long because Rauner and the Democrats cannot agree on how to plug a roughly $5 billion budget deficit. But the fact that Rauner was able to reach a rare agreement with Cullerton has led some people to believe that Madigan is the real reason the budget has remained unresolved, as Rauner asserted.
If elected, it will not be the first time Schimpf will find himself challenging the political views of a member of the Madigan family. In 2013, Schimpf ran against Madigan’s daughter, Lisa Madigan, for attorney general.
Cullerton, another political powerhouse, has been a member of the Illinois Senate since 1991 and was elected president of the Illinois Senate in 2009. According to his website, Cullerton has “earned the honor of sponsoring more bills than any other legislator and of having the most bills signed by the governor between 2003 and 2006.”
In addition, Cullerton's pension reform plan to save taxpayers money and reduce Illinois’ $111 billion unfunded pension liability by giving workers a choice in retirement benefits has garnered support from the governor and many others.
Schimpf is vying for the 58th State Senate District seat being vacated by retiring Senator David Luechtefeld, who has endorsed Schimpf for the position. The Republican candidate believes in limited government, individual freedom, religious liberty, and respect for life.
During his formal campaign announcement last October, Schimpf said his successful military career equips him with the ability to take on tough political issues.
“If you have had a successful career in the United States military, you bring two things to the table,” Schimpf said. “First, you are able to work with people from across the political and social spectrum. Second, you are not afraid of a challenge, and you are not afraid to be thrown into the proverbial deep end of the pool.”
Schimpf added that he is not intimidated by the “dysfunction that currently reigns in Springfield,” and said he believes the state’s current condition can be turned around.