Batinick: Direction state takes ultimately up to voters
State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) says too many people in Illinois recognize the kind of corruption Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of.
“In some ways, it may be an extreme example of what can happen given all Ald. Burke’s power, but if you talk to business owners and people who own real estate in Chicago, you will hear some interesting stories about the relationship between those people and their elected officials when it comes to how things get done,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “I think it’s all another example of how we chase businesses out of the state with all our unwelcoming tendencies.”
FBI agents recently moved to charge Burke, the longest-serving alderman in city history at more than five decades, with a slew of federal charges, including extortion stemming from his alleged shakedown of the owners of a fast food restaurant in his 14th Ward.
The Chicago Tribune reports at least one $10,000 donation Burke pocketed was earmarked for the mayoral campaign fund of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Chairman of the city’s powerful Finance Committee—with control of its $100 million-a-year worker’s compensation program—the longtime lawmaker is also accused of steering business to his private law firm.
“For someone, a small business owner, in Illinois trying to get something done in this state you can’t afford to get bogged down in all this madness,” added Batinick, who won re-election in November by narrowly holding off Mica Freeman, a Democrat, in the 97th District. “Business owners are simply being scared away from Illinois, and that has adverse consequences for all of us.”
In the end, Batinick said, Illinois voters must stem the tide.
“Our voters have to start making better decisions about who they vote for and who they support for remaining in power,” he said. “We need people in Springfield there to handle the people’s business and that have no other agenda.”
The 97th District includes all or part of Oswego, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.