Question and Answers with IL State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) – 109th District

1. What are your goals if elected?

As State Representative, I have worked hard to protect our families and our Southern Illinois values. As a fifth-generation family farmer, I support real reforms to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs.

I will continue to stand up to Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrat Machine. I opposed their wasteful spending and repeatedly voted against the Democrats’ unbalanced budgets and Chicago bailouts. I will continue to push for reforms to help get Illinois back on the right track.

With the highest property taxes in the nation, I am fighting for property tax relief for our families and seniors. I support a property tax freeze to provide real tax relief. As State Representative, I have repeatedly voted to freeze property taxes.

I am a proven conservative voice for our families. I am 100% pro-life and pro-family values. I am the only candidate endorsed by the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, Illinois Citizens for Life, and FAMILY-PAC. Last year, I voted against and urged Governor Rauner to veto House Bill 40, which provides taxpayer-funded abortions on demand. Like most Illinoisans, I was appalled when the Governor broke his promise to pro-life advocates and signed that bill into law. I am sponsoring legislation to repeal this horrendous law.

As a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights, I fought to protect the rights of gun owners and helped pass Illinois’ Concealed Carry Law. As a hunter and proud NRA member, I will continue to fight to protect our constitutional freedoms from those who would take away our rights. I oppose the gun-grabbing agenda of the Chicago politicians and voted against liberal legislation to require burdensome state licensing of gun shop owners. I oppose the so-called “assault weapons” ban, as well as attempts to ban extended magazines.

My solid, pro-gun voting record has earned me an “A+” rating from the NRA-PVF. I am proud to be endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association.

2. What is your biggest opposition to your opponent? 

I find it more than a little hypocritical of my opponent to attack me over taxes, while never telling the truth about his own record on taxes. Facts are stubborn things. And it’s a fact that Darren Bailey voted to raise property taxes 14 times in 17 years. Property taxes skyrocketed up 83% on Bailey’s watch.

My campaign did not make up these votes or numbers. These facts come straight from the North Clay CUSD 25 Board meeting minutes and tax levies. Darren Bailey voted for the tax levy every single year he was in office and in 14 of those 17 years, the tax levy went up. That’s a tax increase. He’s tried to spin the lie that a levy isn’t a tax. Even if one accepts that ridiculous spin, the reality is that both the tax levy and the actual property taxes extended went up by an identical 83% during Bailey’s time in office. The truth is Darren Bailey raised property taxes.

Furthermore, Mr. Bailey has repeatedly distorted my record on taxes. He only points to one particular vote, while conveniently forgetting to mention the very next vote, when I did in fact vote against the 32% tax increase. For final passage of Senate Bill 9, I supported the Governor’s Veto and voted NO against the Madigan Democrats’ override motion, which made the tax hike law. I voted NO on their tax increase.

During my time in office, I have repeatedly voted against Democrat tax increases. I voted against Madigan’s 32% tax increase. I voted against the 2011 Quinn/Madigan 67% income tax hike. I voted against Speaker Madigan’s income tax surcharge. I voted against the cigarette tax and the so-called “Amazon” Internet sales tax. Of course, my opponent never mentions those votes. Again, facts are stubborn things.

3. What do you see as the biggest issue facing our state, and how do you intend to address it? 

Without question, the biggest issue facing our state is the ongoing budget crisis in Springfield. For decades, tax-and-spend Democrats led by Mike Madigan overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed, burying Illinoisans under a mountain of debt.

As I stated earlier, I opposed the Democrats’ wasteful spending and unbalanced budgets. Just like our working families and seniors, the State of Illinois needs to tighten its belt and learn to live within its means.

We’ve got a lot more work to do to cut spending and pay our bills on time. To help balance the budget, I am sponsoring tough welfare reforms to cut down on fraud and save taxpayer dollars. My plan requires drug testing of welfare recipients, includes a work requirement to receive food stamps, and bans illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.

4. With mental illness prevalence on the rise and numerous recent youth suicides in Illinois, do you have any plans to address the shortage of effective support services in our state? How will you address this if elected? 

With the ongoing budget crisis in Springfield, now more than ever, the State must prioritize funding for critically important programs. Support services for mental illness, along with health care services and social services for our most vulnerable citizens, must be a priority in budget negotiations. We need to ensure that our limited tax dollars are spent on our own citizens, instead of on welfare for illegals.

5. What inspired or motivated you to run for this position? 

Back in 2002, I was on the Illinois Pork Producer board and working on issues both in Springfield and in Washington DC. I met a lot of great people in that role who often said to me, “David you like this, you’re good at it, you should consider running for office.”

I worked hard to win my second election in 2004. I walked precincts, traveled across the nine counties that make up this district, and had great conversations with the voters about their hopes and concerns for our state. While some talk about taking on the establishment, I actually took on and defeated a Madigan Democrat. I know what it takes to beat Mike Madigan and the Chicago Machine.

I am one of only a half-dozen farmers in the General Assembly. The 109th district is home to some of the richest farm ground and energy reserves in the world. I’ve been privileged to go to Springfield and fight for our farmers and for the agriculture industry, and also for ag-education in our schools.

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your State Representative and I am thankful for all the encouragement and support I have received during this campaign. I believe my values, and my voting record matches up well with the values and the expectations that the people of Southern Illinois have for their State Representative.

6. What are words of wisdom you can share with the youth who look up to leaders like yourself? How do you walk this talk in your own life? 

I have always been motivated by a desire to serve our community and protect our shared values. As State Representative, I have taken thousands of votes, some more difficult than others. It’s easy to be a naysayer; it’s not so easy to make the tough decisions necessary to keep our state solvent and ensure that critically-needed programs continue to serve those in need. As an elected official, you will always have plenty of critics. It’s important to remember where you came from, what your core beliefs are, and most importantly, to always do what you think is right for your district and constituents, regardless of the political consequences.

7. What does accountability mean to you? 

As an elected official, I am accountable to the voters. In my personal life, as a Christian, I am accountable to God and to my family, my wife Maria and our children.

Over the course of my service as State Representative, I have taken thousands of votes, always with the hope and belief that I am doing the right thing for the good people of the 109th District. Some may disagree with my decisions and that is their right. There will always be critics. But as this election comes to a close, I ask the voters to look at my entire record of service and make an informed decision at the ballot box. You may not agree with everything I’ve done or believe in, but I can assure you that I take my responsibility seriously and have always acted in the best interests of my constituents and the State of Illinois.

8. What does integrity mean to you? 

Integrity means doing what you say and saying what you mean. I hope and believe that I have always acted with integrity, whether it was speaking out against the horror of taxpayer-funded abortion, voting to defend traditional marriage and to protect our Second Amendment rights. And I believe I acted with integrity when I supported historic education funding reform, which provided a record $67 million in state funding for our local schools.

I have already denounced my opponent’s blatantly false lies about Illinois’ new school funding reform law. Darren Bailey and his Chicago backers are running an attack ad against me which cites my vote for Senate Bill 1947, the new Evidence-Based Funding Model for Illinois schools.

Bailey is attacking my support of the new school funding reform law despite the fact that Darren Bailey previously stated he supported SB 1947 and would have voted for it himself.

On Darren Bailey’s own website (since scrubbed, PDF attached), Bailey stated the following: “Senate Bill 1947 provides an overhaul in the way the state funds school, sending more money to poor and struggling districts around the state… Senate Bill 1947 is a good starting point…”

In Darren Bailey’s response to the Chicago Tribune’s questionnaire, Bailey stated the following:

Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?

“Yes. I would have voted for it.”

Senate Bill 1947, which I indeed supported, is historic education funding reform which provides a record level of funding for our schools. 18 of our school districts will receive the highest level of State funding ever and all 21 of our school districts get more money. This is no “bailout of Chicago” as my opponent alleges. This is record funding for every one of our schools. More than $5 million in new funding with nearly $67 million in total State funds going to our local schools. It is shameful for Darren Bailey, a 17-year school board member, to oppose this record level of education funding.

I ask the voters to look at all the facts and to pay particular attention to who is funding my opponent’s false attacks against me.