Dillard's positions take hard right turn

Dillard's positions take hard right turn

GOP candidate speaks against gay marriage, gun control, welfare

RANTOUL — Gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard, who when he ran for governor four years ago was labeled a moderate, hammered away on conservative Republican principles in a speech Wednesday to about 50 Rantoul area Republicans.

Dillard is a state senator from Hinsdale and a disciple of former Gov. Jim Edgar. But unlike Edgar, his gubernatorial campaign has taken a hard right turn this year, and he spoke out Wednesday against gay marriage, gun control and welfare spending.

The 58-year-old former chief of staff to Edgar and 20-year veteran of the Illinois Senate is one of four announced GOP candidates for governor along with Senate colleague Bill Brady of Bloomington, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Pontiac and wealthy investor Bruce Rauner of Chicago.

Dillard attacked Illinois Democrats for welfare and social service spending, saying that "the lion's share" of the 2011 income tax increase "went to expand the welfare rolls in Illinois."

"When George Ryan was governor, one in nine people in Illinois was on welfare," said Dillard. "Today, it's closer to one in three. So in 10 years, the entire Chicago mentality which controls everything in the state capital has tripled the welfare rolls in Illinois."

He continued, "They have not paid down the old bills with that income tax increase like they said they would. (State Comptroller) Judy Topinka will tell you that they still have billions of dollars of unpaid bills."

Dillard said he wanted to be governor in order to repair Illinois' financial condition and its reputation, especially for his two young daughters.

"My vision of Illinois is not gun control. It's not gay marriage. It is to make us what I call a destination economy for people who create jobs. We must become the entrepreneurial capital," he said.

He touched on the same-sex marriage bill that was approved by the Legislature last week, with the support of only one of the Senate's 19 Republicans.

"I saw a couple of you at the traditional marriage rally at the state Capitol a week ago. I found it incredible that I had to stand in the Capitol building in my own state and defend traditional marriage and then get criticized for it," he said. "I kind of shook my head as the father of a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old, wondering where society is going when I've got to do that."

Dillard said he wanted to stop outward migration from the state and ensure that his daughters would stay in Illinois after they reach adulthood.

"I want my 12-year-old and 10-year-old to be 15 minutes from me, not 15 hours, whenever they graduate from whatever college," he said. "I want us to stop the outward migration of 800 and some thousand people who have moved out of Illinois.

"We are the largest net exporter of individuals in this country, and the lion's share of them go to Indiana. They're not going because of the weather, they're going because of the economic situation in this state."

Dillard told the group of Republicans, which included state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, and Jim Rusk, the Rantoul Township supervisor and secretary of the Champaign County Republican Party, that he and his lieutenant governor running mate, state Rep. Jil Tracy of Quincy, would bring all-important geographical balance to the Republican ticket.

"I come from the suburbs, and I have strong downstate roots through marriage and through education," said Dillard, a graduate of Western Illinois University. "If you're going to win the governorship, you'd better, better pick a suburbanite."

Brady and Rutherford are considered downstaters.

"It just makes it much more imperative, with Paul Vallas on the (Democratic) ticket, in fact, it is crucially imperative that the candidate come from the suburbs because Paul Vallas was picked solely by Pat Quinn to help him in the suburbs," Dillard insisted. "And I am the antidote to Pat Quinn, and I am the guy who can get (Democratic House Speaker) Mike Madigan to do things he doesn't want to do."

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Sid Saltfork wrote on November 14, 2013 at 11:11 am

He will pickup the rural vote; but lose the metropolitan, and non-politcally affiliated vote.  If the GOP really wants to win, it must move toward the moderate middle where non-politcally affiliated want to vote.  Otherwise, he is only playing to the right wing with the left wing hammering on him.  Everyone is disenchanted with Mr. Fuddles; but a right wing approach assures a Mr. Fuddles win.  Remember where the majority of citizens live.