Darren Bailey (Illinois State Senator) is the Republican candidate for Governor in November’s election against J.B. Pritzker, the incumbent Democrat. Bailey, the quintessential American ruralist, spoke to me about his platform, including crime and economics, as well as how he intends to help rural communities such his.
He spoke with me about his prior government experience, the recent Highland Park shooting tragedy, and how he plans to improve the state’s economy if he is elected. Bailey also discussed how the state’s Democratic supermajority prevents a strong political opposition, and why he wants to change that.
Note that the interview has been edited for clarity, grammar, length and clarity.
Cameron Arcand:Can you please introduce yourself and tell our readers about your plans to combat crime in this state.
Darren Bailey: My name’s Darren Bailey. I’m located in Southeast Illinois, about four hours from Chicago. So I’ve been married to the love of my life for 35 years. We have four children and 11 grandchildren, and I’ve spent my life farming row crops — corn, soybeans, and wheat. When we had our grandkids, we also owned a trucking business and an excavation company. Because of taxes, I saw that their future was grim. Their safety is their greatest concern. J.B. Pritzker was my state representative, so I won the election in 2019.
So, for 2 years I served as an ambassador in the State of Texas [representative]. I made some noise and shook up the system. In the end, my state senator resigned. I was therefore encouraged to run. So the last two years I’ve served as the position of state Senator. COVID was a serious threat to the state and it seemed like our governor was just about to lock down the entire state. This frustrated me so I took legal action against him. And I’ve been standing up against the mask mandates and against all these unilateral mandates that he’s been self-imposing. That’s gained us some notoriety that someone would actually stand up and push back. Unfortunately, here in Illinois lawlessness seems to rule the day, especially in Chicago with the state’s attorney, Kim Fox, who number one, refuses to prosecute criminals.
The second is to clean out all county jails, and prisons located within her jurisdictions. She’s just letting people go. Two bills that were approved in January 2021 are gradually being put into effect. One bill is known as the SAFE–T Act. The other is a no cash bail bill where basically you can commit a crime and you’re slapped on the hand, given a court date, and you’re sent to go literally, regardless of whatever you do. If you were to shoot into a crowd, for example, and if it can’t be proven that you were trying to harm one person, then you won’t be held on any bail. It is a mess here, and unfortunately, the Democrats like to…make guns the issue, but I can tell you that in every instance, especially this situation in Highland Park, this young man fell through the cracks at absolutely every level.
Family, school, the civic organizations, and even the local law enforcement we have in Illinois… But unfortunately, Governor Pritzker nor the Democrats who are in control and make no bones about it, are in 100 percent control. They are free to do whatever they like without the participation or support of Republicans.
He was able to acquire things that he shouldn’t have been able to acquire, but because our General Assembly and our governor didn’t follow through or allow our current laws to be followed, things like this are happening here in Illinois. It is easy to see the solutions. These laws must be repealed.
To properly vet the many migrants crossing our southern border, we need to get Illinois back from the list of sanctuary states. Many are also bringing with them gang violence, drugs and human trafficking. The current Illinois laws are preventing all of these things.
CA:Families are finding it difficult to pay for basic necessities. On the state level though, what’s your economic plan to tackle inflation, if it continues to go in this direction? What other plans are you making to help the country recover from the effects of the COVID Pandemic and lockdowns?
DB: The reality is if more money was the answer to our problems, we shouldn’t have any problems in Illinois. So rampant spending, you know, obviously, and irresponsible spending well, that creates inflation and that’s where we’re at. The sad part of it is with all this federal COVID money that Illinois’s been given, we had the ability to pay off many of our debts and the unemployment insurance trust fund. J.B. Pritzker and the Democrats refused to make that happen.
Instead, they went ahead and just spent the money on other items…We have got to rein in many of our regulations that are, that are hindering business and our tax environment…Illinois needs to start focusing on attracting business. It will encourage people to move in and help create an economic environment that supports local businesses, pays taxes and benefits the community. Unfortunately, Illinois’ business climate isn’t like this. We are still being held back by unnecessary regulations and taxes. This is the recklessness of trying to solve every problem with money instead of finding the solutions. That’s the problem Illinois has. Until we get that figured out, we’re going to continue to spiral out of control.
CA: When you’re elected, how do you plan to serve those rural communities specifically?
DB: I think that’s the reason I faced so much opposition in the primary because I’ve been very vocal about the fact that Illinois would be better served you know emulating a model much like Indiana does where we spread opportunity across the state and we grow the entire state instead of the Northern part. Southern Illinois had been served for decades primarily by agriculture, coal, oil. The Democrats tax it out of existence, which is quite interesting. They’re regulating oil out of existence. And then they turn around and wonder why our energy bills have doubled and why we’re going to experience rolling blackouts and brownouts this summer.
It was a mystery to them why petrol and diesel are so expensive at $6. It’s because we’re not producing them. There are these resources, and bad decisions have consequences. Not only is this important, but so are the frustrations of Chicagoans. They’re not being well represented.
The life of a Chicago resident is more restricted than that of residents in the rest. Because of all the unnecessary taxes and regulations they have, the cost of their rent, food and gas is much higher than elsewhere in the state. This is why I believe that my method of government got me to this point. It’s communicating hope and ideas and a better future to the people… So when they have this guy show up, who’s got this Southern accent, who’s a farmer, who’s four hours south, they seem to be intrigued and they listen.