Name: Darren Bailey
Seat: State Senator, 55th District
Describe your background, and how it relates to being a state legislator
Lifelong farmer, school board member for 17 years, married with four children and 9 grandchildren. Member Effingham Assembly, Gideon, Rotary.
Owner Bailey Family Farm, Bailey Family Freight, and BNB Excavating. Cindy and I are founders of Full Armor Christian Academy in Louisville with a site now in Olney. I have an associate of arts in agriculture production from Lakeland and am current Representative for the 109.
Grade the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The real pandemic is the financial mess illinois currently finds itself in. Our governor refuses to listen to the needs and concerns of the diversely different areas of Illinois.
During the early days of COVID, I was on the frontline of encouraging the district to abide by IDPH concerns, but very soon it became apparent to me that the data and information that were coming from the governor’s office was not adding up to what we were being told. Illinois has existing plans in place that allow for county by county over watch, but unfortunately, our governor does not desire to honor that.
What can the state legislature do to help with the recovery from the pandemic?
Unfortunately Illinois is broke. Illinois could offer relief to business by overhauling work comp and stretching out the minimum wage hike or halting it altogether. People are leaving and business plants itself in other states. We must develop a conducive environment for families and businesses to thrive. More people working equates to more taxes paid. The progressive tax amendment will only add to the exodus.
Besides the pandemic, what is the biggest issue facing the state, and how does it affect the people in your district? How will you address it?
Illinois is in dire need of ethics, pension, and tax reform. Because of this, it limits the possibilities for the future of our district. I am currently trying to address this.
Describe an issue that is unique to your district and how you would address it in the legislature.
Illinois needs work comp reform. Currently there is not much oversight with the program resulting in abuse that leads to high rates. With rates twice and more than adjoining states, it makes it hard for new business to to plant itself in the 55th.
What is your position on the progressive tax amendment? Why do you support or oppose it?
The progressive tax amendment will be a disaster for Illinois families and businesses. Illinois tax increases have resulted in 53 billion in new taxes since 2011 and what do we have to show for it? The need more money! The money and the people reside in the middle class. That is where the money will come from. Illinois must prioritize its needs and focus on doing those right.
The appropriate title should be the punishment tax since Illinois politicians fail to see the need to spend within their means.
If you are elected, how would you reach out to constituents who did not vote for you and what would you do to make sure their concerns are heard? How in general will you stay connected to your constituents?
I have set the pace on this for every elected official in Illinois. I am very available and always willing to listen to any idea and opinion.
Describe how you would find ways to work with legislators on the other side of the aisle.
I actually get along quite well with my colleagues in Springfield. I have sponsored and co sponsored legislation that has been passed into law and required votes from both parties.