Illinois Primary fast approaching

Luis Martinez, News Editor

With the official Election Day coming up on Tuesday, political science professor Jeff Ashley said voters should look at what they believe in and which candidate is more likely to give them what they want.

Eastern is in District 110 for the House of Representatives and District 55 for the Senate.

Both the House and the Senate race in the Eastern area have two candidates for each Republican seat and none for the Democratic seats.

State Sen. Jonathan Kaye is running for representative against incumbent Rep. Reggie Phillips, and Mike Parsons is running for the Senate seat against incumbent Sen. Dale Righter.

“I think that a lot of people at Eastern, their No. 1 concern is whether or not Eastern gets funding,” Ashley said.

Frida Arellano, a junior political science major, said it is important for voters to know the stance of the candidates they are voting for.

“It’s very important for them to know the stance or the way that each representative is thinking of how to fund our school, either by reducing costs or appropriating funds,” Arellano said.

Phillips, a native from Arthur was elected in November 2014 and said the House first plans to pass an appropriation for fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017 and then work toward a larger appropriation plan.

“If we get together and work on a five-year appropriation plan, it could give students confidence,” Phillips said.

Phillips said he plans to work across the aisle to try to get an emergency appropriation passed immediately.

Phillips, 60, obtained his Associate’s Degree from Lakeland College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern. He currently resides in Charleston where he owns several businesses.

Kaye, a businessman from Toledo, said he believes it is necessary for both parties to work together to get bills passed.

“It is necessary for Republicans, who are in the minority, to work across the aisle and create bi-partisan bills,” Kaye said. “By definition, the minority party cannot unilaterally pass any legislation.”

Kaye, 54, is a Paxton native and attended Parkland College and the Alabama Military Academy.

Kaye said Eastern, Lakeland and Lincoln Trail community colleges cannot continue without funding and a budget is needed now.

Ashley said people can get so focused on the primary elections because they think it is a “given” that whoever wins the primary will be a Republican, and that person will go on and win the general election.

“If you think it’s ultimately going to be a Republican, then you need to choose the Republican which best fits your interests,” Ashley said.

Arellano said it is important to choose a candidate who will represent the district well and that people do not just vote for someone because they have a popular name.

“Just because someone is popular and has been mentioned a lot is not enough, you need to know more about it, maybe start researching. It doesn’t take a lot of time just to know,” Arellano said. “We all have access to the Internet, so we can know what they stand for.”

Arellano said it is important for voters to understand their candidates, their platform, their willingness and commitment to community improvement and how they will be a benefit if they are elected.

“Well if you vote here, the benefit is that you get to vote for the representative for this county, meaning that he represents EIU,” Arellano said. “He will represent this community which will affect you as a student, even if you are not from here. That is a great benefit for voting here.”

Righter, who has been in the Illinois Senate since 2003, received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Eastern and his Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law and has a small law firm in Charleston.

Righter currently serves as the Republican spokesman for the Senate Committee on Assignments; Committee of the Whole; Appropriations II; Criminal Law; Environment and Conservation; Human Services; Revenue; Sub on Issues Relating to DCFS, Legislative Audit Commission, and the Local Government and Unfunded Mandates Task Force.

Parsons, of West Union, is a Clark County Board member and is the first opponent to face Righter since 2002.


Righter and Parsons could not be reached for comment by press time.

Mackenzie Freund and Analicia Haynes contributed to this article.

Luis Martinez can be reached 581-2812 or [email protected]