Two Republicans will face off in the 87th Illinois House District Primary
The Springfield area has its first competitive primary of the year. On Sunday, Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress, a Republican, threw her name in the ring for the 87th House District seat.
The Beijing resident joins fellow Republican Bill Hauter in the race. Hauter is a doctor from Morton and a member of Tazewell County Council.
The 87th District includes parts of northeastern Sangamon, Macon, DeWitt, McLean, Woodford, and Tazewell counties. It includes the city of Lincoln and all of Logan County.
“I started out in politics with a little township race, in Cincinnati Township,” Burress said.
SAFE-T law:Republicans announce effort to repeal SAFE-T law, Democrats call it ‘all for show’
Since then, she served on the staff of the Tazewell County Treasurer’s Office for 26 years before being elected to head the office in 2010.
In 2020, Burress made an unsuccessful run for State Senate against incumbent David Koehler, D-Peoria. Koehler won with 53.9% of the vote.
“I wanted to prove to people that I’m a fighter,” she said.
Burress works on a few key issues, including crime, education, and ethics reform. She criticized the SAFE-T law, calling the fact that it was passed late at night “corruption at its best”.
She also pointed out that she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-police. Burress is the widow of a former Beijing police chief.
Burress has vowed to reject any pay raises and reject the lawmaker’s pension plan if elected.
Following:Springfield activist expected to join candidates for 13th place in Congress
His main adversary is Bill Hauter, an anesthesiologist and emergency physician from Morton.
“Since COVID happened, I’ve been marinating in COVID,” Hauter said. “I was so disappointed and opposed to the state’s response.”
Hauter works with associate anesthesiologists in Peoria and takes a few shifts each month in the OSF emergency department.
He cited closures, schools teaching remotely and vaccination requirements as policies he disapproved of. Despite his opposition to these, Hauter said he was vaccinated and believed the COVID-19 vaccination was a good thing.
“I am for vaccination,” he said. “It’s always a personal decision in the end.”
Asked about his priorities at the Statehouse, Hauter said he would like to focus on the state’s COVID response, public pension reform and reproductive issues.
Hauter said he would advocate for a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) as opposed to the state’s current system, which is a defined benefit pension.
“I would never take a pension from the General Assembly if I went there,” Hauter said.
Hauter describes himself as pro-life and said his family supports “adoption ministries” among other alternatives to abortion.
“We try not to focus on changing the laws,” Hauter said, referring to regulations surrounding abortions. “It looks like a chimera.”
Hauter’s wife is the executive director of a pregnancy resource center in Beijing that offers medical care and services to women with a focus on providing alternatives to abortion.