Willcountynews recently discussed Will County's economy with Cedra Crenshaw, Republican candidate for the Illinois 43rd District State Senate Seat currently held by State Senator AJ Wilhelmi.
Interview with Cedra Crenshaw:
Crenshaw: Hi, I'm Cedra Crenshaw, I'm running for State Senate in the 43rd District, which comprises the Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Lockport, Crest Hill, Joliet, Manhattan and Jackson Township areas.
Willcountynews: As you've been out on the campaign trail talking to people in that district, what concerns have you heard, and if elected, what policies would you try to pursue to fix those concerns that people have brought to you?:
Crenshaw: The main concerns I have heard from people in the district are about jobs and economic opportunities. There are many people I'm meeting, for example, a certified school counselor who has been looking for work for the past four years. I met a family in Romeoville who can't pay their bills because the State of Illinois isn't paying its bills. I've met a businessman whose only experience with our state government is being billed, being audited, and filling out reports, in fact, so many reports that it steals time away from what he's supposed to be doing, which is servicing his clients. And so, people want jobs, they want economic opportunities, but, unfortunately, Illinois is one of the most hostile environments for business and people who want to create jobs. So this is what I would like to tackle as an Illinois State Senator.
Willcountynews: As you know, the 43rd District, Joliet, is home to what is now the largest inland port in North America. The Warehouse Workers for Justice group recently did a survey of Will County warehouse workers, they found that a lot of people are getting temp jobs, pretty low paying, are you aware of this issue, and what do you think about it?
Crenshaw: Yes, I am aware of this issue, and I did read reports on it. And, unfortunately, this is a direct result of the failed policies of our lawmakers, like my opponent. What we do in Illinois, unfortunately, is we tax, tax, tax businesses and individuals out of our state, and then with that remaining tax money we try to in essence bribe the remaining businesses to stay in our state. We are taxing high-skilled, high-paying jobs out of the state.
For example, I just had a town hall a couple nights ago, a gentleman in the energy industry remarked how the regulations in Illinois are so stiffling that we are driving good-paying jobs, union jobs, across the border to the state of Indiana. This is happening routinely. For example, Boeing, they announced they are going to build their dreamliner aircraft in South Carolina. South Carolina's governor Mark Sanford said the reason why this was a great payoff for South Carolina is because they have been actively addressing taxation, litigation, and regulation as it pertains to creating a favorable environment for job creation. That's exactly what we need to do here in Illinois. That's exactly what I want to do as an Illinois State Senator. We need to keep our taxes low. We need to reform our lawsuit, tort reform, so we can drive down our workers' compensation rates and we also need to reform our regulatory environment so there aren't so many loopholes that companies have to jump through which will drive them out of state, which is exactly what we are doing.
And to get to your point about the warehouse workers, if we can attract more businesses to our state that will offer better wages, then those workers would have the option to go and work for those companies that pay better wages and their employers would be forced to pay them more money to stay in those warehouse jobs. But without that competition, those employers have no incentive to try to pay them better wages.
So it all goes back to the environment we have here in Illinois towards the people who create the jobs. We need to elect people to office who understand that and who will create a more favorable environment for job creation. Right now we don't have the lawmakers like that, my opponent doesn't get that, and that's why I'm running for Illinois State Senate.