While the State Treasurer race between State Rep. Tom Cross (Rep.) and State Senator Michael Frerichs (Dem.) remains too close to call at this time, other races were decided during last week’s General Election. While the official results will not be certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections until Nov. 30, unofficial results of Statewide and local races are available.
For the first time in 16 years, a Republican has won the Governor’s race in Illinois. Bruce Rauner defeated Gov. Pat Quinn in a three-way race. With 99.54% of precincts reporting, the Associate Press declared Rauner the winner with 50.77% of the vote to Quinn’s 45.87% and Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm’s 3.37%. Gov.-elect Rauner will be sworn into office January 12.
Democratic incumbents U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Secretary of State Jesse White won their respective races against GOP and Libertarian challengers. Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka won re-election.
In the U.S. Senate, Democrats lost the advantage with the GOP now holding a 52-46 advantage.
In local Congressional races, Republicans Peter Roskam (IL-6) and Randy Hultgren (IL-14) as well as Democrat Bill Foster (IL-11) fought off challenges in their races. At the end of the night, the U.S. House of Representatives maintained their GOP majority (244-184) with a net gain of 13 seats.
In the Illinois Senate, unchallenged incumbents Linda Holmes (D-42), Karen McConnaughay (R-33), and Michael Connelly (R-21) all retained their seats. With the Democrats losing just one seat last week, they will hold a 39-20 margin over Illinois Senate Republicans.
In Illinois, the House will maintain its current makeup of 71 Democrats to 47 Republicans. Among the local races, unchallenged incumbents returning to Springfield include Mike Fortner (R-49), Robert Pritchard (R-70), and Linda Chapa LaVia (D-83). Incumbents Stephanie Kifowit (D-84) successfully fended off a challenge from Krishna Bansal and John Anthony (R-75) won a challenge from Martha Shugart.
In the four open House races locally, Republicans were able to maintain those seats. Grant Wehrli won over Ed Agustin to replace Darlene Senger in the House 41. Former Aurora Regional Chamber Board Chair Keith Wheeler successfully won the race against Valerie Burd to replace retiring Kay Hatcher in the 50 District. Steven Andersson ran unopposed to succeed Tim Schmitz in the 65 District. Mark Batinick took the majority in the race to succeed Tom Cross in the House 97.
The General Assembly will return to Springfield on November 19 to begin the Veto Session. Legislators in the Illinois Senate and House will be sworn in January 14.
This week, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Celebration of Membership. This event highlights the accomplishments of the business community, showcases the activities of the Aurora Chamber and sets the direction for the upcoming year.
This past year, we had more than 100 businesses assist the Chamber and its partners with the Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Others helped craft curriculum for Aurora University’s successful launch of the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. Additional organizations are involved in a growing number of causes and efforts in our community to create a stronger, more vibrant future for the community in which we all live, work and enjoy.
Looking back, we realized we completed 45 percent more certificates of origin for our business members to export their products around the world. Aurora area goods are being sold worldwide; your neighbors, family members or friends may be involved in this growing global economy.
Still others participated in more than 100 public policy meetings to help improve the business climate and share the business voice with our elected officials at City Hall, in Springfield and Washington.
Through discount programs and member discounts, our members were able to improve their bottom line by spending less. We created important connections for our businesses to collaborate and grow. More than 170 networking opportunities were available to our members.
Key events like the State of the City, the State of the Village and the multi-chamber Holiday Celebration offered opportunities for our community’s leaders to foster a collaborative, supportive economy in our region.
We offered a number of educational events for business leaders to learn better business techniques. With legislation that impacted medical marijuana use, the Affordable Care Act and Fair Labor Standards Act (to name a few), the Aurora Chamber organized programs to make its members aware of the impact to their businesses.
Of course, we cannot do it alone. We counted more than 50 collaborative partners that helped us organize, promote and coordinate programs and activities. We had more than 140 volunteers to lend a hand. We appreciate the assistance our Ambassadors provide at meetings, with welcome calls, mentoring new members and so much more. Our committee members and board members help guide our direction, and in many cases, assist in the implementation of the plans to support our business community.
During Thursday’s lunch, we will recognize our Immediate Past Chair Keith Wheeler of Responsive Network Services for his leadership this past year. We’ll also hear from Laura Newman of Mitutoyo America Corporation who recently accepted the role of board chair.
We are celebrating a remarkable year – and appreciate all of the efforts of the business community in making this region so strong.
One last request as we continue to strengthen our area: Please vote next Tuesday.
It’s easy to be cynical. Some believe our problems are too big and our politics are too small. Some wonder whether voting is worth the bother, whether it will make a difference. The truth is that every vote and voice matters in this election. If you want your voice to be heard, vote. With so many close contests this year, every vote really does count.
Employees can be one of the most powerful voices in this year’s elections. Your vote does matter. But are you registered to vote?
The week of September 22-26 kicked off an Employee Voter Registration effort and The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is participating to ensure you have easy access to all the information you need to be prepared to vote in November. Don’t let “not being registered” be the reason you don’t vote.
We’ve made registering to vote easy for you. Visit the Illinois Chamber’s new and improved Illinois Prosperity Project website at www.illinoisprosperity.org. You’ll start by entering your ZIP code and be able to easily complete the voter registration process. You can also find out how to update your voter registration information if you’ve recently moved or changed address and find other information about voting.
Registering to vote is the first step towards making a difference. The Illinois Chamber encourages you to vote for candidates that support job creation and that will help foster an economic environment in Illinois for employees and employers to succeed. As part of this we just want to make sure your voice is heard by registering to vote. Together Illinois employers and employees vote and make a difference in this year’s election.
Fight for your job today by making sure you are registered to vote in the upcoming November election.
Director of Advocacy
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
This November voters will be asked to weigh in on a number of advisory referendums that will harm Illinois’ economy and kill jobs. Voters will be asked whether or not they support increasing Illinois’ minimum wage to over $10 an hour and if there should be a 3% income tax surcharge on small businesses owners to fund more government spending.
The Illinois Chamber was successful at defeating legislative enactment of the proposals while they were being debating in the General Assembly last spring and we will continue to oppose the ballot measures throughout the fall election campaign.
If successfully passed, Illinois could be on track to have one of the highest minimum wages and one of the highest income tax rates in the nation. A true jobs killing agenda!
Illinois’ economy is still recovering from the Great Recession and continues to lag behind other states when rated on measures that promote a friendly climate for businesses. A hike in the minimum wage would increase labor costs for many small businesses by over 21% and would result in employee layoffs or reduced hours.
The 3% income tax surcharge dramatically increases individual tax rates on small business owners and decreases the amount of resources available to reinvest in the business and create jobs. It also acts as a disincentive to work hard, grow a business and become successful.
According to a recent report, 61% of Illinois small businesses are organized in ways where the tax code treats the income of the business as the income of the owners and would make them subject to the new tax.
While the advisory referendums are non-binding in such that they will not automatically become law if they receive a majority of the votes, it will give increased political cover for legislators to approve a minimum wage and tax hike in the next legislative session.
What you can do to Help Defeat the Jobs Killing Agenda
We have launched a new and improved website dedicated to organizing an online grassroots coalition to defeat these referendums and as a resource for Illinois employers, employees, local chambers, and the general public to use to learn more about the upcoming November election. Click HERE to view the newly launched website.
Illinois legislators need to hear from local chambers of commerce, small business owners, and individuals who care about our economy. They need to know that Illinois’ economy cannot afford this jobs killing agenda!
Educate Your Employees on Which Candidates Support Your Business
With the 2014 General Election now 41 days away, and the general public starting to focus more closely on the key races around the state, the Illinois Chamber is now releasing its voting record for the 2013-14 session of the Illinois General Assembly. It is part of a concerted effort with local and federal partners to urge business leaders – and their fellow employees – to educate themselves on the records of our elected officials and to make sure that as many private sector employees as possible vote in the upcoming election.
The Illinois Chamber’s voting record is compiled from the key votes that impact employers and the economy in Illinois. The legislature bears a great responsibility for the current economic malaise in Illinois. The Chamber’s voting record is a tremendous tool to help voters identify which legislators are working to turn things around and which are chained to status quo policies and interests.
The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to join with The Illinois Chamber, the U.S. Chamber’s Vote for Jobs campaign, and the Business-Industry Political Action Committee’s Employee Voter Registration Week, September 22-26. These campaigns are committed to getting private sector employers and employees as actively engaged as possible in the upcoming election. Both have tools to facilitate that process. Easy steps to participate include:
• Forward on the Chamber’s voting record to employees and colleagues;
• Encourage employees to register to vote (you can simply forward them a link to any of these sites to do so: www.Illinoisprosperity.org; http://voteforjobs.com/voter-resources/; www.elections.il.gov);
• Communicate with your employees and colleagues about key issues that your business is facing and how elected officials are responding.
Surveys consistently show employees welcome reasoned information from their employer when it comes to elections. With encouragement and education, we can help maximize the impact of employers on this election.
Last June, Pew Research Center released a 120-page report titled “Political Polarization in the American Public.” Subtitled “How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life,” the report explains Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.
The survey of 10,000 adults nationwide found that these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process. The partisan rhetoric and lack of compromise continue to cripple necessary reformation of social and economic initiatives within our country and state.
If the most engaged and active are divided along ideological lines as the report states, where are the more moderate, compromising individuals? Why have they chosen to sit out the debate? Is it frustration? Apathy? Overload?
More than ever, we need leaders to help break the impasse. We need voters to put them in the position to bring change.
Whether you are concerned with jobs, healthcare, education, budget, or good government, you must raise your voice. We must cast our ballots in November.
Voting is more importantly a privilege than it is a right. Fewer than half of the 200 million Americans that are eligible to vote this year actually will. Your one vote is very important.
Residents of the Fox Valley who actively participate in the election process help ensure that our region remains a desirable place to live.
In fact, during the last midterm election in 2010, there were 8.9 million Illinois residents who were eligible to vote. However, only 3.8 million (approximately 42.5 percent) cast ballots. This ranked Illinois in the bottom half of states (at number 31) for voter turnout. Nine of the states had more than half of its eligible voters turn out. At the top were Maine at 56.2 percent and Minnesota at 55.9 percent.
Statewide, we have a number of key races that will shape our future: senator, governor and other statewide executive offices. Locally, there are congressional districts and Illinois General Assembly seats being contested. As a result of November’s elections, we will see a number of new faces in the State House. Retirement and higher office races have created opportunities for new representatives from the 41st, 50th, 65th, and 97th House districts.
I encourage you to take a few minutes on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to visit your polling place and cast your ballot. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 7. Early voting begins Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 2.
To register to vote, check your registration or find your polling location, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections at http://www.elections.state.il.us and click on the Voters button at the top. Residents of Aurora who reside in Kane, Kendall or Will counties can contact the Aurora Election Commission at auroravotes.org or by calling (630) 897-4030.