McConchie aims to change 'farce of democracy' in Springfield
State Sen. Dan McConchie, the Republican appointed to fill the 26th District seat after Dan Duffy stepped down, had his first Illinois politics eyes-wide-open moment soon after he took office in April.
Sure, he had heard of the dysfunction gumming up the legislative works in Springfield, but to behold the power plays in person was an experience he won’t soon forget.
“Some people ask me what has surprised me the most,” McConchie told the Lake County Gazette. “I'd have to say it is how many legislators have come up to me and said something like, ‘This place is a farce of democracy.’”
McConchie said he decided to run to retain the seat because he wanted to be part of the change that Illinois government so sorely needs.
“The lust for power among some legislators is real and very destructive,” McConchie said. “Some of the public may be tired of the finger being pointed at Speaker (Mike) Madigan, but he's not called ‘The Emperor of Illinois’ for nothing.”
The only way to combat that one-sided government is to keep electing Republicans, who he said have ideas that can lead to a better future for the state.
“The extensive power Madigan holds is real,” McConchie said. “The only way to put the people in charge of Illinois again is to dramatically shrink his majority. I plan to not only campaign for myself, but to help as many other reformers win as possible across Illinois.”
McConchie welcomed the recent stopgap budget bill that aimed to fund the state’s essential services through January, but he said the solution doesn’t offer any new promises of a far-reaching deal or long-term stability.
McConchie said any funding bill is a short-term solution until fundamental changes are made in the way the state conducts business, which includes Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposals to reform property tax laws, the state-supported pension system and its workers' compensation system.
“The public-sector unions don't want any reforms, but you can't build a wall to keep people and businesses in this state," McConchie said. "At the end of the day, we must have reforms that will put our state on the right track again. Otherwise, there won't be anyone other than the unions left."
McConchie joined the National Guard at age 17, serving for nine years before launching a 19-year career “as an advocate for the most vulnerable among us by working in states across the country to expand legal protections for all innocent human beings, both at the beginning and end of life, and to help curb sex trafficking.”
McConchie has been a frequent speaker at events around the country and has been quoted extensively in the national news media, including in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR, MSNBC and Fox News.
McConchie serves on the Public Works Committee for the Village of Hawthorn Woods; the board of directors of Informed Choices Pregnancy and Parenting in Grayslake and Crystal Lake; and on the board of regents for the Fund for American Studies, “an international organization training young people for leadership and teaching them the ideas of freedom and free-market economics.”
In 2007, McConchie, a father of two, was in a hit-and-run accident in Mundelein while riding a motorcycle, which left him with a spinal-cord injury and needing to use a wheelchair for mobility.
“While some people stay down when suffering a loss, Dan bounces back,” McConchie's website said. “He continues traveling extensively and has taken up sports such as adaptive skiing. His personal motto, which he adapted from his days in the infantry, is 'Adapt and Overcome.'”
McConchie said his professional experience and his ability to bounce back against adversity make him an excellent leader for Illinois.
"I've worked in non-profit organizations and on public policy issues my whole life,” McConchie said. “I understand exactly what it takes to follow a budget, meet a payroll and find public policy solutions that benefit everyone, especially taxpayers. Illinois has some of the most difficult problems in the country, and I am excited to help tackle them."