Schimpf brings military leadership to the political table in Senate bid
The Illinois political system is broken, says Paul Schimpf, the Republican candidate for the state Senate District 58 seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville).
“It’s dysfunctional; it’s not working the way it should," Schimpf said during a weekend interview on Newsradio WJPF. "I think the missing ingredient up in Springfield is we need people that have demonstrated leadership experience because our model right now is not working."
Schimpf, a retired Marine Corps officer, is an attorney who says his successful 24-year military career enables him to bring two things to the table: an ability to work with people from across the political and social spectrum and a can-do attitude.
“You are not afraid of a challenge and you are not afraid to be thrown into the proverbial deep end of the pool," Schimpf said. "That being said, I’m not intimidated by the dysfunction that currently reigns in Springfield and I believe we can turn Illinois around.”
For such a turnaround to happen, the state has to get its fiscal house in order, which Schimpf says would be his top priority as a state senator.
“I was glad that the stopgap actually passed because we had a lot of institutions that were about ready to go over the cliff," Schimpf said. "The bottom line is our political class is just not capable of solving these problems that they’ve created.”
In addition to a balanced budget, Schimpf said the state needs to revitalize its economy and reform its failing pension system. He has said he plans to lead by example and will refuse to accept a pension from the state.
“However, we’re not going to solve the pension crisis until we get our economy going again," Schimpf said. "The whole key is economic growth. That’s what we’re going to have to do in order to get our pension system solvent.”
In fact, Schimpf said, the budget is actually a symptom of a larger problem.
“The disease is the fact that the job creators no longer want to come to Illinois; they no longer want to stay in Illinois. That is the disease and that’s what we need to address,” he said, referring to over-burdensome mandates that businesses face such as worker’s compensation.
Schimpf said that worker’s comp reform would be something that would make the job creators want to stay in Illinois.
“Because right now, if you want to hire somebody, it’s a lot cheaper to hire people or create jobs in places like Missouri or Kentucky and Indiana," Schimpf said. "Worker’s comp makes it impossible to create new jobs in Illinois and I think that’s actually something that would have a lot of bipartisan agreement.”
And Schimpf also let it be known that he comes from a union family -both of his parents were school teachers.
“I believe unions make a positive contribution to our society," Schimpf said. "I’m not going to support any legislation that destroys unions. But one of the things that I think we need to do with regard to the pensions is we need to make sure that any solution that is put forth is one that adheres to the Illinois Constitution. Illinois needs to keep its pension promises.”
On the topic of term limits, Schimpf said he’s for them.
“I think it’s important that we do have a bit of a turnover in our elected officials because I think most people lose their perspective if they’re up there for awhile,” Schimpf said.
He also has a related plan that he thinks would work to help turn the state around.
“I’m a little different than the Republican Party in that I would like to see term limits modeled after the way we do things in the military,” Schimpf said.
That would call for what’s essentially known as an up-and-out policy in the military, where a person is either getting promoted or getting out – as in retiring.
“What I would like to see the Republican Party have by policy is where you serve three terms and then you run for a leadership position or you run for a higher elected office," Schimpf said. "That to me would make a lot of sense.”
Schimpf also would like the Republican Party to make term limits part of its state party platform.
He also would like to see more political leaders follow in the footsteps of Luechtefeld, who formally asked Schimpf to run for his Senate seat.
“There is nothing I am prouder of than the fact that Dave Luechtefeld actually asked me to run for his seat and that I have his endorsement and his support," Schimpf said. "He’s one of the true statesmen up in Springfield and really sets the example for how our legislative leaders should be acting. I think if we had 150 Dave Luechtefelds up in Springfield, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.”