Righter talks decision to not seek re-election, Illinois’ political climate

Logan Raschke, Editor-in-Chief

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After being a part of the Illinois General Assembly for 22 years now, State Sen. Dale Righter said it is time for someone else to represent the 55th district. Righter made the announcement that he will not seek re-election on May 31.

Following the end of his term in January of 2021, Righter said he does not have any professional plans set.

When it comes to Illinois’ political climate, Righter said the “signature issue” economically is out-migration.

To combat out-migration, Righter said his suggestions boil down to two main points: investing in public education and abandoning the attempt to ditch the flat tax protection.

He said the Illinois budget includes more than a $350 million increase for k-12 public education, which he fully supports, but the fight against the flat tax protection is a problem for combating out-migration.

The Illinois General Assembly approved a constitutional resolution that would remove the flat tax mandate, calling for a graduated tax system, he said.

State legislature should do what it can to attract more investors to Illinois, but a graduated tax system would scare them off, which leads to less potential for job creation, Righter said.

“You’re not going to attract more investment by sending this signal to investors that you’re going to make it easier to raise taxes. I think that is an absolute mistake; I think that we need to look to balance the budget within the tax structure that we have now,” he said.

Righter said that before his term is over, he would like to continue working outside of his office to urge voters to retain the flat tax protection. He said the vote for the flat tax issue will be in November of 2020, shortly before the end of his term. Beyond that, he said he will work on the next budget proposal in 2020.

Righter said he believes one of the best qualities a state senator (especially one representing the 55th district) possesses is the ability to lay out principles clearly for voters.

“(Candidates) need to tell the voters the principles that guide them because we don’t live in a direct democracy; we live in a republic. Voters don’t make the decisions; the voters pick the people who make the decisions, and so the voters have to rely upon that individual’s judgment when that person goes to the capitol and makes those votes,” he said.

Looking back on the years he has spent as a state senator, Righter said his favorite accomplishments concern the constituent service work done within the district.

He said he enjoyed assisting “everyday people” from different areas in the district through the “bureaucratic jungle,” helping them resolve a wide range of problems when the state government could not.

“Those are the things I treasure the most: being able to help those people,” Righter said.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].