Olsen: Rauner speech provides key missing piece
State Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove), a relative newcomer on Illinois’ legislative landscape, recently commended Gov. Bruce Rauner for the ethical tone of his State of the State message in Springfield.
“The key line for me in that speech was (when) the governor said, ‘We have a moral obligation to work together for change,’” Olsen said. “That really summarizes what we’re here to do.”
Olsen was selected by Republicans in the 81st House District to replace Ron Sandack, who resigned prior to the end of his term last summer, rendering Olsen an incumbent, by virtue of his appointment, in November's election. He went on to defeat Democratic contender Greg Hose in the general election by a margin of 3,746 votes — equal to 6.8 percent — to retain his Springfield seat.
As Rauner gave his State of the State message Jan. 25 before a joint General Assembly session, he focused strongly on the concept of bipartisan unity, emphasizing the necessity for both sides of the aisle to resolve the state’s stagnating finances.
Acknowledging continuing budget gridlock, Rauner stressed how much Illinois needs to improve its business climate, achieve affordable workers’ compensation and return to fiscal stability.
"All of us – Republicans, Democrats and everyone in between – have a moral obligation to work together to bring change,” Rauner said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We, together, can return Illinois to a place of hope, opportunity and prosperity."
Touching on particularly controversial topics still simmering from the 2016 election cycle — with term limits, redistricting, workers' compensation and pension and school reform topping the list — Rauner called for compromise and reform and an end to partisanship. Olsen picked up on both the governor’s literal message and his intent, applauding Rauner’s delivery.
“We have to work together in a bipartisan fashion and I think the governor set the stage in today’s speech — that we need to come together; we need to compromise,” Olsen said to reporters. “That is the crucial, crucial element that’s been missing for the past couple of years.”
A native of Downers Grove, Olsen was sworn in to office at the age of 27 in front of his high school, with family, friends and colleagues, including current Downers Grove South High School Principal Edward Schwartz, looking on. He was well received by colleagues who spoke at the swearing in ceremony.
“He (Olsen) is intelligent, professional and well-liked,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) told the Downers Grove Patch in August 2016. “He has proven to be a strong leader and public servant. I know he will do a great job for his constituents as a state representative.”
Prior to becoming a state representative, Olsen was a member of the Downers Grove Village Council and served as a vice chairman on the College of DuPage’s board.
Olsen stressed that the state very much needs a stable platform that potential residents find desirable, expressing optimism that a resolution to the state’s budget problems might ultimately “(attract) people to say ‘I want to move to Illinois; I want to stay in Illinois; I want to be educated in Illinois; this is a great state,’” he said.
“I think the tone that the governor set was a very positive one, so I felt very good about that,” Olsen said.
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