Central Illinois Preps for Primaries
Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for Decision 2012.
In what’s certain to be another exciting race—and another round of partisan bickering over health care, the economy and job creation—candidates on both sides of the aisle are placing names on the ballot in pursuit of winning the March 20 primaries. The general election will take place November 6, 2012.
Agent for Change
Heading into the election for the 92nd District is incumbent Democrat State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, the first African-American woman to win the district, which encompasses all or portions of Peoria, Peoria Heights, West Peoria, Bartonville, Edwards, Norwood, Kickapoo and Bellevue. Unchallenged in this year’s primaries, Gordon was first elected to the Illinois State Legislature in November 2008 after defeating Republican challenger Joan Krupa by a 53.5 to 46.5 percent margin. She handily won re-election in 2010, garnering 62 percent of the vote, 5,229 more votes than Republican Peoria City Councilman Jim Montelongo, who received 38 percent.
Gordon told reporters she was “blessed to have the opportunity to do this again.”
With a track record of strong constituent services, Gordon has put forth an effort to remain active and engaged with those in her district, presently serving on a number of committees, including Consumer Protection; Elementary and Secondary Education; Small Business Empowerment and Workforce Development; and Veteran’s Affairs. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges Committee.
Gordon’s interest in assisting local entrepreneurs in starting businesses led her to work at the Small Business Development Center on Bradley University’s campus and then into public service as an AmeriCorp VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) worker at Illinois Central College (ICC). Working with a kaleidoscope of faith- and community-based organizations, Gordon developed funding opportunities for programs to benefit residents in the local area and also assisted in the creation of a District 150 career-based curriculum for students. Following her service with the AmeriCorps VISTA program, Gordon went on to chair Peoria’s Promise and helped students from the area apply for college scholarships covering full tuition and books at ICC.
In the midst of the state’s economic quandary, local workers and companies have been number one on Gordon’s legislative agenda as she has worked to protect consumers from lenders that enable consumers to obtain loans impossible to repay. Her legislation has also included pursuing lifetime prison sentences for child rapists.
Following graduation from Parkland Community College and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Gordon attended then-United States Senator Barack Obama’s Campaign and Leadership training program and the Peoria Chamber of Commerce’s Political Leadership School.
The 18th Congressional District of Illinois—which includes the city of Peoria north of War Memorial Drive and parts of Peoria, Tazewell, Stark and all of Woodford and Marshall counties—will hold its Democrat and Republican primary election on March 20 with some new names on the ballot. Retired Airforce and Illinois National Guard Master Sergeant Steve Waterworth is facing off against Matt Woodmancy from Pekin. On the opposing side, Republican primary candidate Darrel Miller will challenge 18th Dis trict incumbent Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) who is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House.
This year marks Waterworth’s third time seeking election to the 18th Congressional District. He had previously challenged Ray LaHood in 2004 and 2006, losing both elections with just over 30 percent of the vote. But he claims his previous campaigns have helped him garner confidence in this year’s race while giving him an understanding of how campaigns are run.
Waterworth, a 64-year-old resident of Easton, a town in Mason County, says he’s running against a “do-nothing Congress” and claims Obama is a “really good president” whose health care reforms he plans to defend in Washington. If elected to office, Waterworth says he will help middle-class workers find jobs rather than “working for the richest of Americans,” citing his concern that the nation’s income is unequally distributed.
Woodmancy, a Pekin resident running on the Democrat ticket, will challenge Waterworth in the March primary. An Assistant Manager for Gumby’s Pizza in Normal, IL, Woodmancy advocates for the rights of Veterans and believes in “fair and equal treatment for all men and women who have offered the ultimate sacrifice to defend our way of life.”
Having experienced the harsh realities of the inequities of the system while being raised by a single mother in Central Illinois, Woodmancy says he intends to support the rights of working Americans and protect the middle class. An advocate for Union Workers and Veterans’ Rights, he believes in a return to balanced budgets and basic services for the American People at the local, state, and federal levels.
Second Time Around
Republican Darrel Miller will challenge 18th-District incumbent Aaron Schock. This is Miller’s second congressional bid having unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno, for a seat in the 11th District during the 2010 primary. Miller describes himself as a Mennonite farmer whose “primary spheres of association” include the workers and ministries of the Mennonite Church and the Central Illinois agricultural community.
Miller, a pro-life, limited-government Republican, says his decision to run is based on his desire to overhaul the mindset of some Republicans in the House of refusing to compromise regardless of consequences for the nation. Miller believes the country’s revenue can increase by eliminating tax loopholes and deductions and lowering tax rates and says tax increases are sometimes necessary for generating revenue. Deficit reduction, tax reform and financial reform are among Miller’s main campaign issues.
A 1975 graduate of Goshen Collage, Indiana, with a BA in natural science, Miller resides in Danvers with his wife, Lynette, and three grown children.