State Rep. Steve Reick has had a disappointing showing this legislative session.
Reick, a Woodstock Republican, represents the 63rd legislative district, which includes Woodstock, Marengo, Hebron, Harvard and part of McHenry. He was unopposed for reelection in November. In many cases, his views align with ours, particularly when it comes to the need for state government to find and eliminate waste before imposing new fees and taxes.
But his second term is off to an inauspicious start.
Reick has admitted he made a fool of himself during a debate on the House floor March 29 over a proposal to require that every Illinois corporation include a black person and a woman on its board of directors.
During what became a heated discussion of the proposal on the House floor, Reick told supporters that if they wanted equal treatment in this country, they needed to stop being offended by every perceived slight.
We may agree with Reick’s overall position – diversity on corporate boards is good business, but it’s probably not up to the state to mandate it – but Reick’s remarks went beyond that. Equality is not a privilege for Reick or anyone else to bestow. It is a constitutional right guaranteed to all.
Days later, Reick apologized, saying in part, “I was offensive to everybody, including myself, and I’m sorry.”
Last week, Reick was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Springfield.
According to a report from the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy stopped Reick’s truck for speeding about midnight May 2, and later found that Reick was driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.146%. It was early on a Thursday morning, and the legislature was scheduled to be in session later that day.
Reick is the second lawmaker arrested on suspicion of DUI in Springfield this year – Rep. Kam Buckner, a Chicago Democrat, was arrested on the same charge March 29.
Reick called his decision to drive that night “stupid” and “regrettable,” and said he accepts full responsibility.
People make mistakes, and there are few among us who have not needed second chances. However, this makes two attention-grabbing mea culpas by Reick in the span of about a month. These incidents undermine his credibility, both among the public and with his peers in the statehouse.
He needs to get his act together. If he can’t, it falls to local Republican leaders, and ultimately to voters, to take action.