Watseka teacher declares for 106th House seat

Watseka teacher declares for 106th House seat

WATSEKA — A third candidate has joined the race for the Republican nomination in the new 106th House District that includes Vermilion, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston and Woodford counties.

Josh Harms, a 37-year-old Watseka Community High School teacher, is seeking the GOP nomination along with Tom Bennett of Gibson City and former Pontiac Mayor Scott McCoy. There is no announced Democratic candidate in the largely rural and politically conservative district.

Harms, who is married and has two children, said he has not run for any public office and has not been involved in the Republican Party.

"We don't have jobs for the kids coming out of school," he said. "My kids are in kindergarten and my youngest isn't even in school. We have to have something. I don't want them to be forced to move away from here.

"I've sat in the background and complained and I'm just done doing that. Somebody has to run."

Harms said he would follow a conservative agenda including a cut in Illinois' corporate tax rate, reductions in unemployment insurance costs, support for concealed carry laws and opposition to abortion.

His campaign platform can be found at http://electjoshharms.com/index.php.

"I don't borrow money. I don't owe money on anything but my house. I pay my bills," he said. "I know what it's like to live on a regular income. I just make $40,000 a year. I view the state as the biggest obstacle to growing the economy in Illinois. That's why I picked (running for) the state over anything else."

Corporate tax rates have to drop, Harms said, citing the recent closure of a trucking company and the Lifetime Doors plant.

"People are scared of the workers comp rates, they're scared of the unemployment (rate), and they're scared of that new corporate tax," Harms said, although Lifetime Doors announced it was closing a month before the corporate tax increase was approved.

He said he does not favor rolling back the personal income tax increase that was approved at the same time.

"I'm not going to tell people I'm going to repeal their income tax rate because you've got to have money from somewhere and if you're trying to attract business you can't just dump a huge burden on the businesses," he said.

Harms said he has met Bennett and McCoy "and they seem like very nice guys."

"They both seem like they're very interesting and it would be a clean race. I don't anticipate being a mud-slinging contest."

Neither Harms nor McCoy has filed a campaign disclosure statement with the state board of elections. Bennett's campaign has reported raising at least $24,000 in just the last two weeks.

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thelowedown wrote on June 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

He doesn't borrow money? Does he understand that a mortgage is borrowing money to purchase a property?

ekhkm06 wrote on June 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Indeed, I believe he does understand. As he stated, "I don't borrow money. I don't owe money on anything but my house. I pay my bills,"