The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Henderson County Republican men and women gathered at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Terre Haute and heard from their representatives and candidates Monday evening.
State Representative Norine Hammond who was appointed to the 94th District after Rich Myers passed away, and State Representative Jil Tracy of the 93rd District, who has served 10 years, will be flipping positions due to redistricting by the Democrats, she said.
"We don't look at it as the 93rd and the 94th District," Norine explained. "Jil and I look at it as West Central Illinois, and we intend to work as a team for the betterment of West Central Illinois."
"We have a lot of challenges ahead for us in the state of Illinois," she said.
"Most importantly we are going to have to concentrate on how we are going to cut our budget in a responsible way that has the least effect on the folks that need our help the most," she said. "Particularly when we are speaking in terms of Medicaid."
Hammond said, "Our Medicaid bill is currently about 2.4 billion dollars. We only talk in billions in the state of Illinois, not millions."
"If we do absolutely nothing with our enrollment, in 2017, five years, that bill will be 21 billion dollars!"
Hammond said they just voted and agreed upon a budget of $33.7 billion. "We think that's what revenues are going to be. So if they take 21 billion dollars out of that, it doesn't leave much for education, public transportation, etc.
"Hammond said, We have some challenges. We believe we are going to have to cut 1.5 billion dollars out of the budget this year on top of what we cut last year. It's going to hurt. There's going to be lots of complaining."
Hammond said she's going to need a cavaliar vest and if anyone has one she'd like to borrow it.
Hammond pleaded for the party members support and hard work in getting Republicans into office so they can meet the tough challenges at hand.
Jil Tracy, lives with her husband Jim in Mt. Sterling (Brown County). She has been an attorney for thirty years and she and her husband have four children, two in college and two who are grown. She grew up in Southern Illinois and met her husband in law school. She has been a state representative in the house for over six years. Her husband is in a business that gives them an interesting perspective of how Illinois needs to improve, she said.
"Our Senate districts stayed the same, but our house districts were turned upside down for no good reason," Tracy said.
Tracy was representing Adams, Brown, Cass, Schuyler, Scott, and part of Pike and part of Hancock, and will, in the new district, she's looking forward to representing Adams, Hancock, Henderson and most of Warren.
"I was probably the most depressed that I've ever been in my whole life, when Bill Brady lost the governorship," Tracy said, because I saw what a goofy governor we had and I knew it couldn't get any better and its only gotten worse. We had the corrupt Governor Blagojevich. Now we have the incompetent Governor Quinn."
Tracy said, "The only way we can put up a good fight as physical and social conservatives in west central Illinois and the rest of the state...to try to curb the out of control spending and restore fiscal responsibility that needs to be there is to elect more Republicans in the House and the Senate.
"We are six seats away in the House from putting Speaker Mike Madigan, who has that dictatorship control on what goes on in the House of Representative, to put him back in the minority and put the Republicans back in the majority.
Tracy said that could mean so much for Illinois because Republicans have been the driven force in getting the budget within the amount of revenues the state expects to bring in.
They looked at what the revenues were going to be and then went backwards to see how much they were going to spend.
They set a limit on what the spending is going to be, and will work within that. "We forgot to put the bills that were unpaid of 8.5 billion dollars.
"And as you can see what's left over until we curb this runaway Medicaid and the public pensions, is not much," she said.
"The core responsibilities of a government-public education, public safety, the transportation dollars-they aren't going to be there because they are squeezed out by Medicaid and the public pensions system.
"So we've got some real challenges and we have a Governor who doesn't have the well or the determination to live with cuts, to put cuts in, and that's why I think it's very important to put in some more House Republicans and Senate Republicans to stand up to this administration that doesn't know how to curb spending.
I'm very conservative socially and very conservative fiscally, and I want to continue that representation."
"I welcome you as my new district," Jil said. "I don't have any opposition in the primary and don't know if I will have any in the General Election, but I don't worry about that, and just carry on and do my job," Tracy said.
Republican Lincoln Day Guest Speakers from left: Jil Tracy (House-93rd), Senate Candidate Randy Frese, and Norine Hammond (House-94th).