Local Election

Endorsement: Illinois State Rep. Dist. 52: Martin McLaughlin

Martin McLaughlin, Barrington Hills village president
Martin McLaughlin, Barrington Hills village president

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Martin McLaughlin, the village president of Barrington Hills since 2013, is an advocate for reducing spending and cutting taxes.

He is running in the state’s 52nd House District against Marci Suelzer, a Democrat from Island Lake, and Alia Sarfraz, a Green Party candidate from South Barrington.

The three are seeking to replace longtime state Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin ran for state office before, an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate in 2016. The Northwest Herald endorsed him then. We do again.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a budget this past spring that included a projected $6 billion deficit.

He said that in Barrington Hills, village officials started having conversations in the spring about what the pandemic’s economic impact would look like and what that would mean for village revenues.

“I just want the state to recognize the revenue will not be there and to be proactive about that, whatever that takes as far as reductions in spending or cuts or an overall look,” he said in a group interview with the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald.

Suelzer, who has worked part time for a number of years in a community mental health agency and serves as an adjunct professor of crisis and trauma counseling at a local university, pointed to tax breaks for larger corporations and investing in industry through legislation such as the Clean Jobs Act as a way of bridging funding shortfalls.

She said lawmakers should evaluate what services are essential for families, small businesses and individuals, adding that she would oppose cuts to domestic violence shelters and health screening programs, for example. She said one place to cut was unnecessary overhead.

“There’s only two ways to balance a budget,” she said in the editorial board interview. “As a business executive, I know you either have to cut expenditures or raise revenue. We can’t just cut, cut, cut. We also have to figure out how to grow.”

McLaughlin, who opposes Gov. JB Pritzker’s graduated tax plan, said state officials have a history of promising that some new tax – the lottery, video gambling – will solve all of the state’s problems.

“I’m still waiting for the one tax – I’ll call it the nirvana omnibus tax – that’s going to solve all of our spending problems in Illinois,” he said.

McLaughlin also criticized the governor for not involving the state Legislature more in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead relying on executive orders.

Suelzer praised Pritzker’s response, saying that the fact that the state never ran out of capacity in its ICU units or intubation facilities is proof Pritzker took the steps necessary to handle the situation.

“There’s always room for improvement,” she said. “This pandemic, if anything, should be a wake-up call for us that are in the Legislature to be able to come up with almost a pandemic playbook, in the absence of federal leadership.”

Martin McLaughlin is endorsed.

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