EDWARDSVILLE – Two long-time public officials are vying for the 111th Representative District seat.

State Rep. Amy Elik, R-Fosterburg, is being challenged by former East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood.

Elik was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives two years ago, defeating Monica Bristow, D-Alton.

A CPA, Elik is a former Foster Township trustee and served as a chief financial officer in the nursing home industry. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

She is married with two children.

Elik said she has brought to the job her education and experience in accounting and finance, a passion for service to the community, a knowledge of the legislative process and a belief that her “well-rounded” experience will serve the community well.

“As state representative I have been a leader on the state’s financial issues, a strong advocate for my community, and a champion for economic growth in the district," she said. "I am one of two Certified Public Accountants in the General Assembly."

She added her financial background is important in moving Illinois forward and reducing the tax burden on residents.

“I use my voice on the floor of the House to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for sound legislation,” Elik said. “In the district, I have worked tirelessly on the issues that matter most to constituents, who know they can count on me. I have proposed and passed common-sense legislation and supported legislation important to growing our local economies and workforce. I listen to the needs of our mayors, police chiefs, school staff, workers, and businesses in the district and will continue to do so.”

Much of her focus is on cutting taxes for the middle class, lowering energy and gas prices, and making the state more affordable for families and seniors.

“I supported the recently passed food and gas tax relief and the rebates that taxpayers will see this fall,” she said.

“I am also focused on job growth in the 111th District,” she said. “Positioning the district and the entire region for economic growth requires planning, investment and cooperation among all stakeholders. I will continue to foster that cooperation with state and federal sources, with our local businesses, our schools and our community organizations.”

Elik said it is the responsibility of state government to keep children and families safe.

“Recent legislation pushed through by the Democrat supermajority challenges police and public safety,” she said. “I am working to repeal the dangerous provisions of the SAFE-T act, because criminal activity cannot be allowed to flourish in Illinois.”

Elik said she is proud of “common-sense legislation” she has sponsored and co-sponsored.

“I was honored to work with a bipartisan coalition to pass Faith’s Law, which protects children from sexual abuse by school personnel,” she said. “I passed legislation to provide safe transportation for foster children in the state’s care. I voted to support tax rebates and lower gas and food prices, and lowered the trailer plate fees that citizens were concerned about.”

She said another one of her priorities when she took office in January 2021 was to provide “excellent customer service and communication” with district residents.

“I have shared what I am working on through Op-Ed write-ups, mail, and outreach to citizens, and have helped hundreds of people with urgent and important issues in the district office,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to work on the matters that are most important to the 111th district.”

Elik said she believed it is important that state legislators lead by example.

“That’s why I’ve voted against legislative pay raises and opted out of the state pension program for lawmakers,” she said. “I have kept my promise to vote for ethics reforms and have proposed legislation to ensure that corrupt politicians do not receive state benefits while prolonging their corruption trials.

"I take my promises to my constituents very seriously, and believe that responsiveness and trust is the bedrock of successfully serving as a public official.”

Elik is challenged by Silkwood, a Democrat, who was East Alton mayor 2015-2021. Prior to that he was village treasurer, and as director and assistant director of parks and recreation. He was also a member of both the East Alton-Wood River Community High School District and East Alton School District boards.

He has three adult children.

In 2020 Silkwood unsuccessfully ran to succeed retiring Madison County Auditor Rick Faccin, losing to Republican David Michael.

“As a lifelong resident and former mayor of East Alton, I am dedicated to the people of the Riverbend region,” Silkwood said. “Before serving in office in East Alton, I worked as an auditor, holding government and elected officials accountable to taxpayers.”

He said that, as a state representative. he would hold Springfield and Chicago politicians accountable and be a watchdog for Riverbend taxpayers.

“During my time as mayor of East Alton, I worked in a non-partisan manner to improve our village, including the revitalization of Eastgate Plaza bringing new businesses and jobs to the area,” he said. “As state representative, I will forge new private-public partnerships to continue bringing small businesses to the region and create high paying jobs.”

He cited his labor ties and being a “proud son of a union steelworker.”

“I will defend the rights of workers, including supporting the Workers’ Rights Amendment which protects the right to organize and join a union and which will raise wages and strengthen our economy,” Silkwood added. “I will also invest in vocation education and expand access to training in the trades and apprenticeship opportunities to prepare young workers for high paying jobs such as welders, electricians and carpenters.”

Silkwood said Metro East families suffer from a heavy property tax burden due to failures at the state level.

“I will lead the fight to reduce property taxes for middle class families with incentives for local government to rein in rising property taxes while protecting funding for schools, safety, and other critical services,” he said.

If elected, Silkwood said he would go to Springfield to get things done.

“I plan to be a voice for this community that I’ve lived in my whole life,” he said.

He criticized Elik, claiming she doesn’t believe women should make their own health decisions and saying she voted to slash funding for life-saving breast cancer screenings, close domestic violence shelters and block funding for rape test kits.

“She sides with big insurance and pharmaceutical companies over Metro East families by voting against caps on prescription drugs and allowing premium costs to rise,” he said. “Meanwhile, I am not afraid to stand up to insurance and drug companies and fight to lower healthcare costs for Illinois families.

"I will push for new measures to crack down on price-gouging on prescription drugs, cap the price of insulin, and allow Illinois to rein in rising insurance premiums," he said. "I also believe choices about reproductive healthcare should be left to patients and their doctors, not politicians like Amy Elik or her Cook County political bosses.”

Silkwood said he wants to continue to serve the community.

“Now I want to serve the Metro East in Springfield to fight for our values and rights,” he said. “I will go to Springfield and tell the Chicago and the Cook County politicians backing my opponent that there is a Southern Illinois, and we deserve money and resources to rebuild our communities after years of neglect from the state.”

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October 9, 2022 at 03:46PM