Parkhurst seeks government reform to end Illinois exodus
Before even taking office, state Rep.-elect Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) is making a strong statement about government reform following a shocking study showing an exodus from Illinois.
“Time is running out. We need great reform of state government. Immediately,” Parkhurst tweeted on Dec. 21 in response to a Chicago Tribune article that shed light on the high rate at which Illinois residents are leaving the state. Illinois has lost more residents than any other state for three years running. This year, it lost 35,708 residents, and the state is now at its lowest population since 2009.
Predictions say the population will likely continue to drop. With the inability of the legislature to pass a new budget combined with high taxes and high unemployment, citizens are leaving Illinois in alarming numbers. The number of births and people moving into the state cannot offset the number of deaths and people moving out of the state.
There is hope that the new batch of legislators, like Parkhurst, joining the General Assembly in January can make a difference on some of the issues plaguing the state. Parkhurst ran her campaign on the platform of reform, saying she will “fight for and protect our community -- our home -- from the reckless actions of Springfield politicians.
One of Parkhurst's main goals is to replace longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). Madigan, who has been speaker for more than 30 years, has been blamed by some for the budget stalemate.
The communications director for Madigan, Steve Brown does not believe the exodus is caused by displeasure towards the government. "I do not think the migration is due to government services as much as some people would like us to believe,” Brown told Dan Proft's "Morning Answer" radio show.
Some believe the population lose is caused by weather. A Chicago Tribune report said the citizens who are leaving are going to warmer states like Texas, Arizona and Florida. However, while other Midwestern states that have similar weather are losing citizens too, it is at a much lower rate than in Illinois. The difference between Illinois and the other states is unemployment.
In 2014, when the population began to drop, Illinois was ranked 39th in highest unemployment rates according to CNN, compared to Wisconsin which is 25th and Iowa which is rank ninth.
Parkhurst aims to address the unemployment issue in Illinois by passing a new budget, believing the loss of jobs in the state is a factor in the uncertainty of Illinois’ economy.
Parkhurst, who has a law practice that specializes in family law, bankruptcy and personal injury, promised to use her experience to defend the people in her district. The Republican beat her opponent, incumbent state Rep. Kate Clooney (D-Kankakee) by 7 percentage points.
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