Effingham Daily News
EFFINGHAM — U.S. Senate candidate Doug Truax said there were a couple of events that led him to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Dick Durbin.
First, there was the statement Durbin made on the Senate floor in 2005 in which he compared U.S. troops to Nazis. Then, there was passage of a health care reform bill on Christmas Eve 2009 that Truax said has led to unemployment and economic ruin for many Illinoisans.
"I love this country and I feel like professional politicians like Dick Durbin are ruining it," Truax said. "I would like to change that.
"I think my background contrasts favorably to Durbin's."
Truax was in Effingham Saturday for the annual Lincoln Day celebration.
Truax, 43, grew up in southern New Mexico before receiving an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1988. After graduating from West Point in 1992, he spent six years as a field artillery officer in the Army before beginning a business career that eventually landed him in the Chicago suburbs.
"I think my background contrasts favorably to Durbin's," he said.
Currently the founder and CEO of Veritas Risk Services, Truax manages employee benefit plans — with a particular interest in health insurance. From a business perspective, he takes a dim view of the Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare. But he takes an even dimmer view of the policies he said Durbin has advocated during more than 30 years in Washington.
"He is continuing to ruin the country," Truax said. "Since he was last elected in 2008, 342,000 more Illinoisans are living in poverty with 376,000 more out of work.
"My ideas to get the economy going again are the exact opposite of his."
Truax said reducing the size of the federal government is one thing that can stimulate private sector growth.
"One of the major problems we have is that the federal government is too big," he said. "The first bill I would sponsor as a member of the Senate would be one that would require every federal agency to justify their continued growth.
"Right now, there's no way to control that growth. We have to fix that."
Truax said the impact of what he believes is a swollen federal government is that businesses stagnate.
"All these regulations hinder business growth, because businesses don't want to hire," he said.
Truax said two other priorities he would have as a senator would be to investigate controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service. That agency has been accused of targeting politically conservative groups.
"I think every American should be outraged," he said. "It's a clear assault on our First Amendment rights.
"I would be a senator who would not rest until we get to the bottom of this scandal."
Truax also favors a more muscular diplomatic style than he believes is being offered under Democratic leadership in the White House and Senate.
"I'm a believer that we need to be strong on the world stage," he said. "Leading from behind actually brings us closer to conflict."
Truax would also like to see policies implemented that reduce the national debt from its current level of $17 trillion.
"It's just not right to keep going down that path," he said. "You do that in business and you go out of business."
Truax has to get past state Sen. Jim Oberweis in the March 18 primary before he can face Durbin. He believes he is much more electable than Oberweis, who has never won a statewide race in several tries.
"Durbin is going to be beatable, but my background is what you need," he said. "It's not so much me against Oberweis, but putting forth the right candidate to go against Durbin."
Truax and his wife of 21 years have three teenage children and live in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at email@example.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes