The primary election voting machines had barely cooled off when Democrat Nikki Budzinski and Republican Regan Deering started going after each other. Both won their respective primaries in the race for the seat in the new Illinois 13th Congressional District, which includes some of Decatur and Macon County. They barely had time to take a breath before each pointed out why she should be the one elected to the position in the general election this fall — and why the opponent is not a good choice for voters.
Frankly, I don’t think I’m alone in being totally “burned out” on campaigns because of what I witnessed in television commercials, letters to the editor and candidate news releases and press conferences where “truth” was banned from attending. I thought, with the general election months away in November, we would get a chance to recover from the primary.
To the credit of all the candidates, democrat and republican, who were running in the IL 13th, it was a clean. and somewhat refreshing, campaign. Of course, Budzinski dispensed of her opponent, David Palmer, very handily. She was always expected to win big and move on to the general election. After all, the democrat majority, redrew the district map to make it easy for her to win the primary and the general election.
Deering had a rougher race in seeking the republican nod, as she had three opponents, including Jesse Reising, who ran a very strong campaign and picked up a lot of key endorsements from Republican Party leaders in the district. I stated in this column, and others agreed, that the Republican Primary in the 13th would come down to Deering or Reising — and Deering won impressively. When the votes were counted, she received supportive comments from the opponents she beat and there was, and is, a sense of unity in the party.
• WITH THE primary in the rear view mirror of the political machines, it appears both candidates are going to be more aggressive against their opponent. From the news releases and calls I have received, it appears that Budzinski started throwing the first punches. Last week the “Budzinski campaign” released the following statement: “Last week, multi-millionaire heiress Regan Deering proudly outlined her plan to gut Illinois’ public school system and her commitment to abolishing public education as we know it as a central focus of her campaign for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional district.”
Budzinski then stated: “It’s disappointing but not surprising that Regan would be so excited about ending public education as we know it. She is out of touch with working families in Central and Southern Illinois.” Ouch!!!! (The complete news release was printed in last week’s edition and also posted at decaturtribune.com)
• WHILE Budzinski was alerting all of us that Deering was going to “destroy public eduction”, Deering issued a news release the same day pointing out the unity between herself and her opponents in the primary election. The following day, the Deering campaign had its own opponent-bashing statement: “Will Nikki Budzinski Continue the Trend of Democrats’ Inflation Crisis?” read the headline. “Record high inflation under the Biden Administration (that Nikki Budzinski was a part of until just a year ago) continues to crush American families. Today’s inflation numbers hit a historic 41-year record high of 9.1%, hurting pocketbooks across central Illinois. “Families are struggling to pay for groceries and gas, and businesses feel the strain of higher operating costs. Locally, many Illinois farmers remember 41 years ago, the beginning of the worst farm economy since the Great Depression, when interest rates reached 21.5% in 1981.
“Illinois farmers know Nikki is bad for business. This record high inflation costs them every step of the way, from fertilizer to feed, and they cannot catch a break with supply chain issues. “The Biden Administration has been saying for over a year that no one expected runaway inflation to continue, but he is running out of excuses as it continues to climb. Nikki Budzinski was a part of the disastrous plan to cut the Keystone XL Pipeline and spend beyond our means. Now she’s come here and wants to represent the hard-working families of central Illinois. “We know Nikki Budzinski will remain in lockstep with President Biden, and you can guarantee that you’d get more of the same BAD policies with Nikki Budzinski in Congress.”
• THE RACE in the IL-13th is Budzinski’s to lose since the district was drawn by democrats to make it easy for her to win. However, Deering has proven to be a hard and smart campaigner and won a tough primary while Budzinski coasted to victory over her primary opponent. Considering a number of issues that have changed the national voter landscape since redistricting took place, Budzinski should not take her republican opponent lightly — and I don’t think she is, considering the tone of her news releases so far. This race will be the most interesting to watch between now and the General Election in November.
• HIT THE BRAKES! I was driving to the office on Route 51 South one morning last week when cars and trucks whizzed by me like I was sitting still. (I was driving the speed limit.) All of a sudden I saw brake lights in front of me lighting up the road like it was Christmastime again! I thought there had been an accident the way all of those drivers were hitting their brakes, until I saw a police car sitting at the end of the road just before the South Shores Fire Station — probably checking the speed of the drivers. Apparently, all the drivers in front of me knew they were breaking the law by driving over the speed limit and that’s the reason all of them hit the brakes to slow down! Isn’t it amazing what the sighting of a patrol car can do to immediately reduce the speed of many drivers?
• CONGRATS to DPD! On page 13 of this week’s Decatur Tribune print edition is some reassuring information that the Decatur Police Department is first in the state in DUI arrests among municipal departments with 353 arrests for 2021. “Removing impaired drivers from the roadway has been a priority for the Decatur Police Department for many years,” states Decatur Police Chief Shane Brandel.
Thank you, chief. Keep up the good work. You and your department are saving lives in our community.
• MURPHY’S LAW...or was it Christine’s Law? — I drove to the downtown post office one day last week to pick up the mail before the rain started. It was not raining when I went inside but a few minutes later, when I walked out of the post office it was raining hard. Since Christine, my infamous-possessed car, was parked in front of the post office I figured I wouldn’t get that wet the few seconds to get to my car from the front door of the post office. Also, I don’t need to use a key to unlock Christine’s door as long as the keyfob is in my pocket, so it wouldn’t take me long to get inside the car. I ran to the car, grabbed the door handle to open the door and, for the first time in all of the years I’ve had that car, Christine refused to open the door!!!!!
By the time I used my key to unlock the door and get inside, I was totally soaked! I know it sounds crazy, but I thought I heard a faint chuckle from Christine’s sound system — but keep that observation between the two of us.
• I APPRECIATE so much the invitations from area churches and organizations for me to speak at their services or meeting gatherings. I haven’t been accepting any of the invitations since the pandemic began because of the additional pressure and time-consuming work of publishing this newspaper, but look forward to accepting those invitations again. For those of you who have asked in recent months, I hope you understand. I hope to get back on the speaking circuit in the future because I’ve always enjoyed speaking to groups over the years about this newspaper, people and events I’ve covered, and how my faith in God has influenced my career as a journalist and businessman.
Besides meeting so many of our readers and longtime supporters in person, I always enjoy answering questions from the audience. During the years I served as Decatur’s mayor I always enjoyed promoting our city and answering questions and hearing concerns from our citizens. I don’t know how many times I spoke back then, but I do remember one day when I spoke to seven different groups starting with an early breakfast and ending with a late evening meeting. I was just a little (a lot) tired at the end of that day. (smile) Anyhoo, I hope to be accepting those speaking invitations when things get a little less hectic at the newspaper.
• RISING POSTAGE — The United States Postal Service continues to do its part in helping to destroy newspapers through increasing postage rates. We are seeing the demise of two U. S. newspapers per week due to rising costs and digital changes over the years.
Thank God that we still have strong support for the Decatur Tribune. I appreciate the loyalty of our readers, advertisers and those who run their legal notices in the Trib. Last week, the USPS boosted postage rates again which will cost us thousands of dollars more per year to mail the Trib. While we, like many other newspapers, have a digital edition which doesn’t require newsprint or postage, I believe the vast majority of our readers prefer the paper edition. I do, too.
• STAY SAFE: I see masks starting to appear again as COVID-19 is surging in Macon County and across the nation. You won’t hear any warnings about COVID-19 from politicians because it is an election year. That says it all.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider half hour where we discuss the issues confronting our city and Central Illinois.