McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield said when she ran for the Illinois House of Representatives’ 66th District four years ago, she was asked about many of the same statewide issues she was asked about during a Northwest Herald editorial board meeting Tuesday.
Pensions obligations continue to be the No. 1 priority, Schofield said, and it is time to have difficult conversations about paying the state’s debts and accept that the Illinois Constitution prevents the benefits of pensions and retirement systems from being diminished or impaired.
However, Schofield said one thing that has changed is the more divisive nature of politics at the state and federal levels. At the state level, Schofield said bipartisanship has gotten worse as Democrats continue to hold a supermajority in both legislative chambers.
“I think everyone can contribute to conversations,” Schofield said. “I would like to go to Springfield for that approach.”
Consolidation has been a widely discussed issue in McHenry County following the passage of legislation by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, offering options for the county’s 17 townships to dissolve via referendum.
Schofield said she does not have a problem with consolidation but what she does have a problem with is using the term “consolidation” without knowing what shape that could take. As an alternative, Schofield suggested the performance of a coordinated investment study similar to what was performed in McHenry County to identify areas to share services and streamline government.
As for statewide initiatives passed by the Illinois General Assembly – including the legalization of recreational marijuana and the incremental increase of the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 – Schofield felt many were not thought out and more of an expression of the Democratic supermajorities of the House and Senate.
Schofield said one of the shortcomings of the marijuana law was the lack of mechanisms that would allow law enforcement to identify motorists with marijuana in their system, which could jeopardize the safety of others.
“Regardless of which side you’re on, the bill was absolutely flawed,” Schofield said.
Schofield would come up short to her primary opponent – state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee – four years ago. Skillicorn did not respond to an invitation to the editorial board meeting.
Schofield and Skillicorn are not the only ones running for the seat. Carpentersville Trustee Jim Malone and McHenry County Board member Suzanne Ness of Crystal Lake will be seeking the Democratic nomination in the March primary.