Malak seeks stability, representation for 110th District


Jason Howell

Dennis Malak

Sam Fishel, Staff Reporter

Dennis Malak is certain that through advocacy for stability and responsive legislating, he will be the best choice to represent the interests of Eastern, Charleston, and the entire 110th District in the upcoming Illinois elections.

Malak, of Charleston, said that he has seen first hand the impact of the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield and wants to see stability returned to the lives of Eastern students and faculty.Illinois has been without a budget since July 1, 2015.

Illinois has been without a budget since July 1, 2015.

“It’s time that […] Springfield treated people with dignity and respect,” Malak said.

He further iterated that it is unfair for state institutions, such as Eastern and the Lawrenceville Correctional Facility, to suffer while Gov. Bruce Rauner holds the state budget hostage.

Gov. Rauner continues to push for deep fiscal cuts and “union busting” measures in his “Turnaround Agenda.” Malak said with a laugh that he refers to the Governor’s plan as a “turn-upside-down” agenda.

Malak does not believe that the current damage can be undone overnight.

“The damage that is being done now…is going to take a long time to recover from,” he said, adding that the first step to recovery will be to bring stability back into the lives of Illinois citizens.

In addition to growing stability, Malak supports responsive legislating for the people of the 110th district.

He said that “people in Springfield are not representing their districts.” Instead, they’re “representing a leader or [the] governor and the people are being lost in these battles.”

Of the current representative from Charleston, Republican Reggie Phillips, Malak said that he never appeared “passionate” about Eastern, as evidenced by his voting record.

Malak graduated from Eastern in 1999 and has worked for the university since 2005.

“This is my home. This is where I want to raise my children,” he said of the Charleston community and what it means to him personally.

He further elaborated that he has seen the “anxiety” and “fear” in the students he works with and wants to be responsive to their concerns as well as those of community members.

Ideally, Malak says that he’d like to sit down with small groups of district residents and hear their concerns in a personal manner.

“I’m never going to be able to represent people if I do not listen to them and understand them,” Malak said, adding that he’d like to “truly get to know their problems.”

Though he is running a Democrat, Malak originally intended to run as an independent because he feels that partisan politics is one of the largest roadblocks in Illinois. However, he found that it is far more difficult to get on the November ballot as an independent than with an established party.

To run as an independent, he said, a potential candidate needs to collect 1,500 signatures while an established candidate only needs 500. Malak believes that this distorts people’s ability to run for office without being beholden to party politics.

Despite this, Malak says that he has received a great outpouring of support from Charleston residents so far. He will seek further publicity over the summer months.

Malak spoke hopefully about the future of the state. “We’ll get Illinois back on track. It’s just going to take citizens to stop looking politicians based on party and start looking at their ideas and concerns and what they have done.”

Sam Fishel can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]