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Freshmen State Legislators Hit The Ground Running

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – A new year has begun for the Illinois General Assembly, and for some members, it’s a new career.

WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl introduces us to some of the freshman lawmakers. Two of them, Metro East St. Louis suburban Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and North Side Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) have different views of the decisions reached earlier this month on raising taxes.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

“In Metro East, we have a very, very high unemployment rate. People are not hiring. This new tax measure certainly is not going to enhance that prospect down the road,” Kay said. “People in Metro East are very, very conservative folk, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, and that differs a lot from the northern part of the state.”

Williams said, “I do have some experience working down here on staff, and I work for Lisa Madigan. It feels a lot different on this side of things. It’s exciting. I think we have a lot of great opportunities this session to continue the work that was just done, and move forward, and help repair the financial situation in this state, and do some things for people.”

Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) presents herself as a community volunteer and mother of three.

“I think I’m more or less kind of what people would consider a common person, you know, I don’t have a fancy law degree, I’m not a business owner, I’m an average person,” she said, “and I think that’s what was very appealing during the campaign, you know, I think it’s a common sense approach. How would you run your own home?”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

Former Decatur city councilman Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) finds the income tax increase to be something to talk about.

“It’s a jobs killer. It truly is, and before you put another burden on the taxpayers of Illinois, we need to cut our own spending,” he said. “We need to take a look at Medicaid reform. We need to take a look at handouts in that system.”

State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) is a former University of Chicago math professor. He succeeds Republican Beth Coulson.

“I have the fortune of walking in here in the middle of an incredibly tumultuous budget time, and like everybody else, I need to be as helpful and constructive in trying to get us out of this hole as I can be,” Biss said.

State Rep. Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) is wasting no time getting involved. He succeeds Democrat Mike Boland.

“We’re trying to hit the ground running. I’ve already introduced legislation to allow the General Assembly to cut our own pay by 10 percent, in response to some of the difficult times the people of Illinois are making,” he said.