Op-Ed from Rep. McDermed: My Final Session Could Be My Most Important

As I enter my final spring session, I’m more committed than ever to leaving Illinois a better state than when I entered the Illinois General Assembly. That’s often been difficult to accomplish in the minority party and while I feel commonsense, fiscally-sound policies took some serious hits over the past few years, there were some victories I’m proud to have fought for. Going forward, I hope to bring relief to property taxpayers, fairness to electoral maps, and assistance to those that need it most.

It’s no secret that property taxes are one of the major factors driving Illinois families to move. I hear it every day from my constituents. While everyday Illinoisans only see the number on their bill, it’s an iceberg of an issue. Property taxes are inextricably tied to education, skyrocketing pensions, and ever increasing government regulations and mandates. As a result, it is a tricky issue that will require political sacrifice and participation of both parties. Unfortunately, we saw bipartisanship deteriorate with the most recent property tax reform effort, an 88-member group largely made up of Democrats that failed to produce anything of value for the Illinois General Assembly to take action on. If we are to have any chance of achieving substantial, meaningful reform, Democrats need to listen to the ideas being proffered by Republicans. The few times it’s happened in my tenure have proven that Illinois works best when we work together.

Unfortunately, what we accomplished in a bipartisan manner last year on the capital plan is being overshadowed by the corruption unveiled behind the Democrat members who led the charge on the plan in both the Senate and the House. We can tamp down on corruption by loosening the stranglehold of one party rule in Illinois. That starts with Fair Maps. Gerrymandering produces “safe” districts and safe districts produce lazy lawmakers and, yes, corruption. Competitive elections are good for the state, good for the legislative process, and good for keeping politicians in check.

Finally, I plan to right as many wrongs as I can in the time I have left. That includes restricting the personal information that can be shared by the Illinois Tollway, which can end up in the wrong hands, and allowing first responders to keep their health insurance and their Narcan prescriptions. I’m proposing pragmatic solutions that don’t belong to any party.

It has been an honor to serve as your State Representative and I will continue to do so to the best of my ability until the end of my term. As I stated at the beginning, I’m more committed than ever to leaving Illinois a better state.