District 59 candidate aims to make state a more business-friendly climate
District 59 state House candidate Dawn Abernathy has looked at the unemployment numbers for Illinois and, when comparing them with other states' numbers and to the nation's overall, she is disappointed and concerned at what she's seeing.
“Unemployment has hit our state hard,” Abernathy told the Lake County Gazette. “Most states have recovered since the recession. Alas, Illinois continues to stall in job growth and job creation. Government doesn’t create jobs; businesses do.”
For businesses to create jobs, Abernathy encourages reforms to make it easier for businesses to remain in Illinois and be competitive.
“We need to have reforms for our businesses to stay here in Illinois and create good jobs -- most importantly, workman’s compensation reform,” she said. “This country was founded by the small-business man. We need to have a better environment for businesses to grow and create more jobs.”
The state’s current relationship with businesses has been a tumultuous one. Recently, it was ranked on a survey from Chief Executive magazine as the worst state in the Midwest for businesses and the third worst state in the nation for business-friendliness. Many of the CEOs interviewed for the survey complained about the high taxes and politicians impeding opportunities for potential business growth.
Abernathy echoes these sentiments and approves of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s initiatives to improve business relations in the state.
“Gov. Rauner is trying to improve the business climate in Illinois,” Abernathy said. “At every turn, the ruling political party -- the Democrats, led by (House Speaker) Mike Madigan (D-Dist. 22) -- continue to destroy opportunities for businesses to expand. The heavy taxes and refusal to reform workman’s compensation have led to not only low job growth, but the exodus of both businesses and families.”
People, not just businesses, are leaving Illinois. In a recent report, Chicago lost close to 3,000 residents, and the state lost over 22,000 residents from 2014 to 2015. Chicago was the only city among the nation's 20 largest to see population loss in
Several of the reasons why people are leaving include the state budget stalemate, high taxes, the unemployment rate and crime.
“Our state is failing, and people are fleeing our state for a better quality of life,” Abernathy said. “I hear this when I am knocking on doors in my district. We have the highest property taxes in the country, our schools are underperforming, we face a debt burden unlike any other, and we have the lowest credit rating in the nation. People are following their jobs, and they continue to leave Illinois for Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. This affects us all.”
It has been affecting college prospects in the state. More and more students are looking elsewhere for higher education due to concerns related to the budget stalemate in Springfield. Many of them are uncertain about funding prospects for Illinois universities and have reflected that unease by not applying for universities in the state.
Abernathy said politicians only have themselves to blame for the exodus.
“The politicians in Springfield continue to keep pushing the blame on everyone other than the real problem: themselves,” Abernathy said. “They continue to bicker and banter rather than bring the reform and changes the state needs to allow for affordable education. Students are looking at surrounding states for an education because politicians are worried about keeping a financial and political structure that protects their power.”
Abernathy said that if she were elected, she would fight to change Springfield. During her campaign for House District 59, she has witnessed the frustration from voters firsthand -- their worries about taxes, employment, education and opportunities.
“I am going to Springfield to make sure we are serving our families and allowing them a choice in getting the finest education,” Abernathy said. “When I talk to people in my community, they are worried about the financial problems facing our state, the lack of funding for our schools and how they can afford their tax bill on June 2. These problems need to be taken seriously. We need leaders in Springfield to work to make Illinois a place where families choose to live and work and can afford to live and work.”
Abernathy is proud to work for and be part of her community, serving many titles. Most recently, Abernathy served on the Village of Mundelein Board that helped foster a Latino Citizens Police Academy. The academy, a 10-week program designed to provide Latino residents in her district with a better understanding of how the Mundelein Police Department and other agencies work together to provide a safe community, improved relations between the police and residents. Recently, the Mundelein Police Department was awarded the First Lake County Municipal League Innovation Award, and Abernathy was there to accept it with the mayor and police chief.