Steve Stadelman Juan Reyes Illinois Senate District 34 election – Rockford Register Star

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State Sen. Steve Stadelman of Loves Park and Juan Reyes of Rockford are candidates for the state Senate in District 34.

ROCKFORD — Democratic State Sen. Steve Stadelman’s bid for a fourth term in office faces a challenge from Rockford native Juan Reyes, a Republican who lists fighting crime as his top priority.

Stadelman, 61, is a former TV news anchor first elected to the state senate representing the Rockford region in 2012. He supported legislation that expanded gaming in Illinois and gave Rockford a casino license, a bill that incentivizes the growth of the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing industry in Illinois and secured $275 million to restore passenger rail service in Rockford. He also supported legislation that provided River’s Edge redevelopment funding that was instrumental in the redevelopment of properties in downtown Rockford.

But Reyes, 50, says Stadelman “skipped the vote” on the controversial SAFE-T Act, the criminal justice reform bill that made body cameras mandatory for police, standardizes use-of-force training and seeks to end the cash bail system in Illinois.

Supporters of the bill say it ends a wealth-based system of pretrial detention that unfairly targets people of color. It replaces that system with one that assesses a defendant’s risk of fleeing and the safety threat he or she poses to the public. Critics say it will too often allow people accused of serious crimes out of jail before a trial and harm public safety.

Stadelman has said he declined to vote one way or another as his way of saying that improvements were needed to the criminal justice reform legislation.

All seats in the Illinois Senate are up for re-election Nov. 8 following the U.S. Census. The winner will serve a two-year term in 34th Senate District and earn a salary of $70,645 a year.

We asked the candidates about the issues they would address if elected and what they would do about them. Here is a closer look.

State Sen. Steve Stadleman, D-Loves Park, is seeking re-election in the 34th District.

Steve Stadelman

Age: 61

Family: Wife, Patty, daughter, Angela, and sons, Austin, Nikolas and Drew

City of Residence: Loves Park

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Profession: Illinois Senator 2013 to present

Work experience: WTVO-TV anchor and reporter 1987 through 2011

Major endorsements: Illinois Sheriffs Association, Illinois Manufacturers Association PAC, Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Sierra Club, Humane Society

  1. Jobs and the Economy: I’ve worked with businesses to bring thousands of jobs to the Rockford area, including funding for infrastructure improvements at the airport and workforce development for companies located there. I also sponsored legislation that provides corporate incentives for retooling of the Belvidere Assembly Plant as automakers transition to electric vehicle production and attract supply businesses. After decades of failed attempts, I worked with local and state leaders on both sides of the aisle to include Rockford in a statewide gaming expansion plan and negotiate revenue sharing that already is delivering millions in revenue to Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park and Winnebago County — and construction of the Hard Rock Casino Rockford means hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs. I remain focused on bringing in more jobs for Rockford area workers.
  2. Healthcare: I’m committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care they need. I helped pass a law to ensure no one in Illinois is denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition and co-sponsored a law to cap out-of-control insulin prices. I will continue to advocate for policies that make affordable health care accessible to everyone.
  3. Education: I helped build support for a historic school funding reform law that treats Rockford-area schools more fairly by providing more resources for local students and staff and easing the local property tax burden. In fact, the Rockford School District’s property tax rate has dropped significantly the past several years in part because of the state’s new funding formula. I will continue to fight in Springfield to ensure all students have access to high-quality education.
Rockford resident Juan Reyes is a candidate for state Senate in the 34th District representing the Rockford area.

Juan Reyes  

Age: 50  

Family: 11 siblings  

City of Residence: Rockford  

Education: East High Graduate class of 1990, Rock Valley College, associates degree in criminal justice, Judson University, bachelor of arts, Criminal Justice Management.

Profession: Self employed  

Memberships: Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Rockford Cosmopolitan Club and Better Business Bureau Advisory Board.  

Political experience: None. 

Major endorsements: None. 

List the top three issues in your race and how you plan to address each them if elected. 

  1. Crime: Public safety is very important in light of the fact that Springfield legislators have passed a law called the SAFE-T Act that has done damage to our criminal justice system. The bill handcuffs the police and lets criminals out on the streets. My opponent skipped the vote on this bill rather than taking a position to defend his constituents. Another bill that effectively decriminalized possession of fentanyl is another example of the damage that Springfield politicians are doing to local law enforcement.  
  2. Budget: The budget is another important issue. The governor and the legislature patted themselves on the back when the bond rating experts moved Illinois from “junk” status to a few spaces higher. That bump was caused by an infusion of federal tax dollars during the pandemic. The piper has not been paid and the pension system obligations will come due. The result will be higher taxes to pay those bills.  
  3. Emergency declarations: If I am elected, I will go to Springfield and call for the legislature to weigh in on the governor’s perpetual emergency declarations that caused so much harm to our Illinois economy. The governor has renewed his authority every thirty days for two and a half years with no check on his power by the legislature. Our legislators are our representatives in Springfield have sat quietly while businesses have been ruined and jobs lost to other states that did not institute harsh rules for COVID. 

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October 31, 2022 at 05:38AM

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