Long sacrifices employment for civic duty in second bid for House seat in District 76
Jerry Lee Long, a Republican from Streator who is seeking the state House seat in District 76, recently left his job of 17 years for the opportunity to run for the office a second time.
"My resignation is going to be devastating again," Long said in an Aug. 18 interview with Illinois Valley Times. "I'm not asking for sympathy. It's necessary for me to do my civic duty. My concern is for Illinois. It is in desperate need of repair. Instead of sitting back and complaining, it's necessary that someone steps up and does something."
Long said he ran for office in 2014 and left his job at USF Holland, along with a considerable amount of seniority, because he was denied a leave of absence.
Long said he financed his own campaign and struggled to make ends meet. He said he saw his sacrifice as part of his civic duty, and when he lost the race, he returned to his job.
After a second rejection for a leave of absence, Long left USF Holland for a shot at defeating state Rep. Andy Skoog (D-LaSalle).
Long said that two years ago, he got a part-time job during the campaign. He said he would make similar choices this time around as well.
On his campaign website, Long calls himself conservative and says he supports smaller government and lower taxes and opposes abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control. He said he also opposes the state’s inability to balance a budget and the debt it is causing.
“Illinois is drowning in debt, and our elected officials want to raise taxes on families in Illinois to solve the problems they created,” Long said. “Our current representatives lack the courage and the wisdom to seek permanent solutions to systemic problems. Runaway debt is going to leave our children with less opportunities and continue to squeeze middle-class families.”
Long said economic growth, not more taxation, is the solution to the state’s financial troubles.
“Our current representative is holding our state’s budget hostage in order to curry favor with party bosses and special interests,” Long said on his website. “The 76th District deserves a representative who is willing to work with both political parties and seek common ground. We need a balanced budget in order to prevent a massive tax hike and ensure vital services continue.”
Long said the 76th House District, which includes all or parts of LaSalle, Bureau, Livingston and Putnam counties, is considered a crucial battleground for new leadership.
“The seat has been linked to the Mautino family for more than four decades,” an Illinois Valley Times article said. “Frank Mautino was appointed to the seat in 1991, succeeding his father, Rep. Richard Mautino, who died of a heart attack. Richard Mautino was representative 16 years.”
Although Long said he does not want to get into mudslinging during his campaign, he also wants people to know how current elected officials are making bad decisions for the state that is hurting citizens.
"It's not negative when you inform the public about laws and policies that a sitting legislator stood up for and that the public finds overwhelmingly objectionable,” Long said. “I will bring to the forefront policies my opponent has stood for that do and will have a negative effect on us as a district and as a state."