IL House Candidate Bell Says She’ll Bring Communication Skills To Springfield
Shirley Bell of Mattoon says the two-year budget stalemate in Springfield inspired her to make her own run for the Illinois House.
The retired Eastern Illinois University communications professor says the budget impasse cost her university more than 400 jobs, and contributed to the number of people leaving Illinois, which she puts at 114,000 in the last three years.
Bell is running for the Democratic nomination for the Illinois House seat in the 110th District, which includes Charleston, Mattoon and Robinson, most or all of Coles, Clark, Crawford and Cumberland Counties, and parts of Edgar and Lawrence Counties. The district includes EIU, two community colleges, a Marathon oil refinery and plenty of farmland.
Bell says Illinois went without a budget for two years, largely because lawmakers failed to work together.
“If legislation is anything, it’s a joint process,” said Bell. “You have to be willing and able to communicate with people from both sides of the aisle, and work effectively to find solutions for the people.”
Bell says if elected, she’ll use her communications skills to work with voters and legislators.
“I’ve been teaching communications classes for more than 30 years,” said Bell, who spent 19 of those years at EIU. “And I believe I bring those skills with me. And I plan to use them very much.”
Bell she wants to invest in the state’s people by improving funding for education and job training, from pre-school education to higher education, apprenticeships and job training.
To pay for that additional funding, Bell says she supports adopting a graduated or progressive state income tax, “so that those in the top one percent are paying their fair share.”
“Nobody likes paying taxes,” said Bell “But I also believe that we need to fully invest in the services that we promised our people and that our people rely upon.
The incumbent in the 110th Illinois House District, two-term Republican Reggie Phillips of Charleston, is not seeking re-election. Farmer and businessman Chris Miller of Oakland is running for the Republican nomination.