Long says it's time for curtain to fall on 'theater politics' in Springfield
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) was first elected when Jerry Long, Republican candidate for the District 76 state House seat, was only a boy — and Long rates that as a strong formative argument for term limits.
"Our corrupt state legislature is failing its citizens,” Long said in an online post recently. “There’s no other way to put it. We have a speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, who was first elected to the Illinois House when I was 9 years old. I’m now 55. What better argument for term limits could I make?”
Having known no other leader, Long grew up as a third-generation union worker with deep roots in Illinois. With no aspirations to become a career politician, the candidate opted to run for office because he saw the state’s direction faltering.
“Illinois has had enough of theater politics,” Long said. “We need to call out political grandstanding for what it is and encourage more political outsiders like myself to run for office. Believe me, I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’ve come up with a lot of ideas that will help restore the public’s trust in their government. Other states have done it -- why not us?"
The 30-year Streator resident, also a three-decade Teamsters member, decided on his candidacy to shape a better future. Still on the road delivering goods, the self-described “average citizen” indicated that his family — his wife Pat, their children and grandchildren — provided the motivation for his candidacy.
On his website, Long said term limits for Illinois politicians would be a logical first step in altering “the culture of corruption” in the state capital.
“Illinois has not only faced the challenges of extended one-party rule, but we are living with the consequences of extended one-person rule,” Long said.
Long also favors personal responsibility and said the state’s welfare programs are due for reform. A pro-life candidate and Second Amendment supporter, Long has received endorsements from associated organizations in Illinois.
Long said economic growth is vital to Illinois’ future — rather than more taxes. Outlining the steps he would take to restore constituents’ trust in the government, Long spoke about additional hot topics in the 2016 election for Illinois, including redistricting reform.
“Along with term limits, Illinois needs a constitutional amendment to promote fair maps in order to restore public trust,” Long said. “For far too long, politicians have been choosing their constituents and not the other way around. Once I am elected, I will remain accountable to everyone who voted for me, and I will proudly represent every constituent of the 76th District.”
Voters who have observed the defeat of several ballot initiatives this year may feel encouraged by the fact that Long, in addition to holding a solid middle-class job demanding a strong work ethic, also has demonstrated communications skills in the past. Not only has he served as a columnist for his local newspaper’s Write Team, but he literally walks neighborhoods to engage with residents — knocking on an estimated 30,000 doors and building a reputation as one of Illinois’ hardest-working contenders for office.
“There are also too many politicians going down to Springfield for political profit and to line their wallets,” Long said “We’ve seen Illinois representatives embezzle campaign dollars, defraud the public and misuse taxpayer dollars to fund their reelection campaigns.”
Proving himself to be a well-rounded, boots-on-the-ground candidate, as well as a hard-working family man with a deep desire to improve Illinois’ status, in his spare time, Long enjoys golf, motor biking, sports, history and economics. Long is a loyal Chicago Bears fan and belongs to the Starved Rock chapter of ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) of Illinois, promoting safety and acceptance of motorcycle use.
“Enough is enough," Long said. “The Illinois Valley deserves a representative with a set of morals and values who will respect this office and not abuse its privileges.”