102nd District House Race Interviews: Brad Halbrook
Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville is the only candidate of those three with legislative experience, winning a primary in 2012 to the former 109th District. He was appointed to the seat when the incumbent resigned - then under redistricting, was elected that fall – unopposed - to the 110th District.
Halbrook left after one term for family reasons, but has decided to re-enter politics with a new governor in office. He has the endorsement and financial support of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
"I like his business mindset," said Halbrook. "I'm a small business guy, he's a large business guy, and guess there's just a connection there,"
Halbrook says voters in his district are overwhelmingly backing the governor's 'Turnaround Agenda' (property tax reform, worker's compensation and liability reform, term limits, and legislative redistricting.)
He's also critical of what's been called the 'Edgar Pension Ramp' a 50-year repayment plan under former Republican governor Jim Edgar.
Halbrook called it a plan that was easy to swallow in the short term, and merely held out promises in the long term. "It's grown exponentially out of control," he said. He contends compromise is not always the best solution, even with the 8-month Illinois budget impasse.
"(The pension ramp) kicked the can down the road," he said. "If the pension ramp was to worked, it should have had the problem fixed about now. I want to get things done, but I want to do things the right away."
Edgar, meanwhile, is endorsing 102nd district candidate and former St. Joseph-Ogden High School Superintendent Jim Acklin, who Illinois Public Media will have an interview with Thursday morning.
The new 102nd now encompasses an area stretching from Moultrie and Shelby Counties to the Indiana border, including much of southern Vermilion and Champaign County, Tuscola and Arcola in Douglas County and Paris in Edgar County.