Draining the Swamp Begins Here at Home

Written by James Blair

The 1912 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Volume 2 describes Sangamon County, home of Springfield as the “…low swamp lands in Sangamon County, and the green coated stagnant ponds that stood from year to year, filling the atmosphere with so much malaria that almost every man, woman, and child in the county were more or less afflicted with chills and fever…”  Here in 2020 the physical swamp is gone, but a bureaucratic swamp remains stifling the growth of Illinois.

Recently State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Effingham) called for a special legislative session to convene at the order of the Governor for the sole purpose of dealing with political corruption.  Springfield is inundated with scandals of self-dealing, sexual misconduct, and abuses of power.  The Illinois General Assembly passed a week bill calling for a task force to research the ethical violations of state legislators during the veto session. Reform by task force is hardly inspiring, but this is the standard course of action for the Springfield Swamp.

Rep. Wilhour and others are working hard to draw attention to the culture of corruption in Springfield, but the fact of the matter is the Springfield Swamp goes well beyond just the State Capitol.

Take the recent scandal involving Illinois Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), from the southwest side of Chicago, who just resigned.  Sandoval, many might recall, received recognition downstate when he threatened to withhold funds that would be generated by a capital bill from State Representative Darren Bailey‘s hometown because Bailey opposed the bill.  Later it was revealed that Sandoval was pushing legislation to benefit himself and family members.  At a fundraiser in August for Sandoval’s campaign, revelers were caught mock assassinating President Donald Trump.  Sandoval is certainly no friend to conservatives, pushing radical gun control, abortion, and massive tax increases.

And here is where the Sandoval story gets interesting. There is a downstate connection to the Sandoval story. A few days before the mock assassination of the President, former Illinois Representative David Reis (R-Onley) donated money out of his previous campaign fund to Democrat Martin Sandoval.  Reis has close to forty thousand dollars in his campaign fund and it now appears that money Republicans and the Republican organizations that donated to him are being used to advance his lobbying career and to cozy up with far-left Democrats.

Former Reis aide JC Kowa is the treasurer of the fund that checks are being written out of to legislators like Sandoval.  Kowa is now an aide to a Republican State Senator, and he also serves as the Richland County Republican Chairman.

The Springfield Swamp is not just the Democrat party. It is also filled with Republicans like David Reis and JC Kowa who are all too willing to sell out conservative principles and values. Since when has it become standard practice for a sitting Republican Chairmen to dole out money to corrupt politicians like Martin Sandoval?  Stagnant bureaucrats like Kowa and Reis need to be drained from the system.  They have abandoned conservative principles long ago to keep position and power.

And who is Kowa’s candidate of choice for the 109th District? Kowa is backing Andy Hires, the current Sheriff in Richland County. A quick check of pictures on the Richland County Republican Party page shows endless pictures of JC Kowa and Hires. Kowa is also supporting the senate candidate – Jeff Fleming – that is running against Darren Bailey.  For both Hires and Fleming, Kowa has made private statements of support and passed petitions to get them on the ballot.  Darren Bailey’s reform agenda does not coincide with the practices of Reis and Kowa.

When Darren Bailey ran for the Illinois House in 2018, he ran because he knew voters in that district wanted a true conservative representing them. He stepped up and took on the 13-year incumbent David Reis and beat him. Now, Darren Bailey is running for the Illinois Senate, creating a vacancy in the 109th District.

The last thing voters in that district need is to empower the Reis/Kowa/Hires Cabal. What the 109th District needs is a real reformer.

Contrast the Cabal to Adam Neimerg. Adam is running on a platform of reform. He supports meaningful ethics reforms such as legislation to end the revolving door that allows former legislators like David Reis to become lobbyists with no waiting period after leaving the General Assembly. And Niemerg is committed to spending reforms and lower taxes.

Draining the lowlands is hard work.  To remove the current swamp in Springfield it is going to take speaking the truth and staying informed.  Illinois needs more leaders like Darren Bailey, Blaine Wilhour, and Chris Miller – leaders that stand on principle and have a strong ethical foundation. Voters in the 109th and 55th would be well served to reject the Cabal and embrace reformers like Adam Niemerg and Darren Bailey.

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