Wednesday, August 17, 2011
State Rep. Sid Mathias To Challenge Fellow State Rep. Carol Sente in Remapped 59th Legislative District (UPDATED WITH PRESS RELEASE)
Political watchdogs in northeastern Illinois have been speculating ever since the Dems released their new map that incumbent Republican State Rep. Sid Mathias (53rd Dist.) and incumbent Democrat State Rep. Carol Sente (59th District) might go head-to-head in 2012, as the Dems saw fit to draw Mathias (barely) into Sente's 59th District. Such a race would pit two well-known, moderate and likeable incumbents, one center-right, and one center-left, battling for the hearts and minds of the middle, in an area of the state known for ticket-splitting and often choosing personality over politics when it comes to their elected officials.
It looks like that nuclear scenario is going to come to pass, as Sid Mathias has finally made up his mind, and will run in the new 59th District in 2012. Mathias told Team America this afternoon that he "is looking forward to a positive race on the issues with Carol." Sid knows that this will be a challenging race, but told me that he feels very good about his decision and is very enthusiastic about getting started with his campaign.
The Dems have recently taken a lot of heat for playing redistricting games and delighted in drawing various incumbents and threatening candidates into or out of current districts to protect the Dem-favored incumbents wherever possible (Mathias's house is a mere two blocks or so into the newly-revised 59th District). The Dems may have just been a little too smart for their own good this time, though, as the choice to stick an experienced, well-known and affable candidate like Mathias into a district with a relative newbie like Sente is more than a bit of a risk. In fact, it may be that whatever college intern working for Madigan who helped with the map may not have noticed that while the new 59th District doesn't include much of Sid's current district (53) -- no doubt by design -- it actually does include somewhere around half of Sid's previous district (which had much more of Lake County in it than it has now) before the last remap in 2000, as Sid pointed out to me.
"I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with many of my old constituents, and meeting new ones as well," Sid told me, a bit tongue-in-cheek.
But, the Dems are the ones who may not be laughing too hard come next November. As a longtime State Rep, and a former mayor of Buffalo Grove (not to mention one that has a train station named after him), Sid has first-tier name recognition all over the area. I am convinced that Sid is the best possible candidate that the GOP could have hoped to run in this district; we now have a real shot at taking this one back.
Sid plans to send out an official press release later tomorrow.
Photo shamelessly stolen from: LakeCountyEye
UPDATED 8/22/11 11:00 am: Here is the text of the long-awaited press release:
MATHIAS ANNOUNCES BID FOR REELECTION
Veteran Lawmaker Stays Put, Will Run for State House
State Representative and former Mayor of Buffalo Grove Sid Mathias (R, Buffalo Grove) is announcing his intention to run for re-election to the 59th Representative District citing his longstanding reputation for finding solutions in Springfield accompanied by a strong need to maintain the fiscally conservative momentum created this past Spring.
“People are desperate for leadership right now, pragmatic leadership willing to work together to find solutions,” said Mathias. “As a full time legislator, I have a proven track record for not only protecting taxpayers, but also cutting through the bureaucratic clutter to bring real ideas forward,” he added.
Throughout his career, Mathias has used his background in law and local government to carve out a place in Springfield, focusing on local transit, mental health, municipal and legal issues. He currently serves as Minority Spokesperson on the Cities and Villages and Mass Transit committees. He also sits on the Judiciary Civil Law, State Government Administration and Tollway Oversight committees.
As a consistent taxpayer advocate, Mathias took the lead, immediately proposing the first legislative to roll-back the Cook County sales tax (HB715, 96th GA) on the heals of the massive sales tax hike. His legislation helped drive the discussion and pushed Democrats into finding a solution.
With an eye on public safety, Mathias successfully sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the public safety of children by cracking down on internet solicitation (HB3283), requiring parental controls by internet providers (HB3289) and by allowing schools to expel student for gross disobedience and bullying via the internet (HB3281).
Understanding job creation is perhaps the most important step to recovery, Mathias successfully guided a measure through the house this past spring aimed at workforce development. The measure, HB2927, sought to create job growth by providing business incentives to hire additional workers by fully leveraging the federal funds provided by both the Emergency Employment Development Act as the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund.
In addition to his work on statewide issues, Mathias has also consistently engaged in local problems, including the ongoing need to expand Route 53 and the continued expansion of commuter rail service. As Mayor of Buffalo Grove, he was a leading force in bringing commuter rail service to Buffalo Grove and beyond, and served as Chair of the North Central Metra Service Mayoral Task force, eventually leading to the Buffalo Grove station bearing his name. And as recently as last month, Mathias was named and ex-officio member of the Illinois Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council. The Council is charged with bringing a regional consensus on whether to move forward with the Lake County Corridor expansion
“This will be a tough election. However, I am not only looking forward to reconnecting with many of my former constituents, but also continuing to challenge those in Springfield who can’t seem to stop spending,” stated Mathias. “There is an urgent need to continue the positive momentum towards fiscal conservatism that was created last spring, and I am up for this challenge”
The tough election Mathias is referring to ultimately stems from the recent redistricting process in which Mathias was “redrawn” into an entirely new legislative district that will contain over 95% new territory for the veteran lawmaker. Ironically, this is not a new situation for Mathias, who found himself with the same choice ten years ago when the same legislative Democrats who crafted this map drew him out of his old district.
As the longtime mayor of Buffalo Grove, Mathias was elected to the Legislature in 1998. He is a graduate from Roosevelt University and the DePaul University College of Law and is a semi-retired attorney. His wife, Rita, is a retired teacher from School District #102 and they have two married sons; Elliot, a graduate of Northwestern University and Scott, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. He and Rita have six grandchildren.