Danville Minister/Activist Running For Illinois House

Rev. Frank McCullough

Rev. Frank McCullough Jr., at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Danville. McCullough is running for the Democratic nomination for the 104th Illinois House District seat.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Promoting education, preventing crime and job creation are three top priorities for the Rev. Frank McCullough Jr., as he seeks the Democratic nomination for the 104th Illinois House District seat.

In the last two elections, Republican Chad Hays faced no opposition from Democrats as he was re-elected to represent the 104th Illinois House District, which includes Danville and Rantoul, and small sections of Champaign and Urbana. But Hays is not seeking re-election this year, encouraging Democrats to run for the open seat in the March 20 primary.

McCullough is one of those two candidates (along with Cindy Cunningham). It’s his first bid for elective office since running unsuccessfully for the Danville City Council in the 1990s.

McCullough is the pastor at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Danville. He’s also one of the “Three Kings of Peace,” a trio of local activists (including local NAACP leader Ed Butler and former baseball player Nate “Bo-Bo” Smalls) that visit schools and work with young people to prevent violence.

McCullough says the 104th District has lost industrial jobs over the years. He believes better education and a reduction in crime would help the area attract employers.

“Many time, industries take a look at your crime rate, they take a look at your school scores,” said McCullough. “Those things would attract industry.”

McCullough says he supports changes in the law to allow judges to set stiffer sentences when appropriate for defendants convicted of crimes. He also favors more education for people serving on juries.  McCullough believes the jury selection process should try to choose jurors that more closely match the age of the defendant, in order to ensure judgement by a jury of peers.

McCullough says he wants more to be done to ensure that every child gets a good education. In visiting schools as part of the Three Kings of Peace, he says he’s concluded that many high school teachers in their 20’s are too young to command much respect from their students, because they’re just a few  years older than the  young people they’re teaching.

“How can a child teach a child?” said McCullough, who proposes that older teachers be assigned to high school classes, while teachers in their 20s concentrate on teaching younger children.

McCullough supports changing Illinois flat state income tax rate to a graduated tax, with higher rates for the wealthy. He does not favor the legalization of recreational marijuana, although he says it can be used for medicinal purposes. And McCullough is wary of proposals to open a gambling casino in Danville. While he says it might provide revenue, he worries about gambling impact on crime and mental health.

“It has its highs and it also has its lows,” said McCullough of proposals to expanding gambling in Illinois. “And from what I read, it’s a quick fix, but it wouldn’t last long.”

The winner of the Democratic primary in the 104th Illinois House race will face Republican Mike Marron, the Vermilion County Board Chairman, in the November election.

Story source: WILL