Chicago Tribune endorses Fowler for District 59 state Senate seat
Dale Fowler, the Republican candidate for the District 59 state Senate seat, recently received the Chicago Tribune editorial board's endorsement.
The Tribune cited fiscal irresponsibility by Fowler's opponent, state Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), before throwing its support behind Fowler.
"It's strange that Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) claims to be a fiscal steward, often proclaiming that the state should retire its massive pile of unpaid bills," the Chicago Tribune wrote. "Then he voted in May for House Speaker Michael Madigan's (D-Chicago) spending plan, which everyone knew was $7 billion short. He didn't have to vote for it. Most Democratic senators did not. Remember that, voters of this district, when you show up to cast a ballot on Nov. 8. A better choice is Dale Fowler, mayor of Harrisburg, who knows what 'reckless spending' actually means. Fowler is endorsed."
Fowler grew up on a family farm outside of Eldorado and worked on the farm and at the family's meat-packing business, where he discovered his passion for business development. Fowler guided and expanded the business, Eldorado Locker Company, as the economy recovered from the 1973-75 recession and into the bust-and-boom economy of the late 1970s and 1980s. After serving as an operations supervisor for then-Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar, Fowler worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections for 22 years.
Fowler was appointed mayor of Harrisburg in 2014 and elected the following year. In his role as mayor and as Business Development Officer for Peoples National Bank, Fowler has promoted Harrisburg as the destination capital of southeastern Illinois. Under his short tenure, a new movie theater, family entertainment outlet, restaurants and other businesses have opened in Harrisburg.
Fowler expressed his thoughts to the Southwest Illinois News on the ongoing budget impasse on May 13, before Madigan's ill-fated spending plan was presented to the Illinois House.
“I grew up in business," Fowler told the Southwest Illinois News. "People said that the state of Illinois is not a business, but it can be treated like one. You have to have a budget. You have to spend within your means. You have to grow your revenue and grow your resources. That’s how businesses prosper -- same concept with the state of Illinois.”
The House passed the 500-page, unbalanced budget in a 63-53 vote on May 25. Despite the Illinois Constitution's requirement of a balanced budget, SB 2048 was $7 billion in the red. Forby voted in favor of the unbalanced House bill when it reached the Senate, but he was in the minority – the Senate voted the bill down.
The Senate presented a bill that would fund education, but the House voted it down. The General Assembly adjourned, leaving the state without a budget again.
After the Madigan budget failed to pass, Fowler took to social media to express his dissatisfaction with the Assembly and its failure to produce and pass a balanced budget.
"The politicians are headed home for the summer to try and convince us that this mess isn't their fault because they voted for Speaker Madigan's latest budget proposal," Fowler said. "That budget is a $7 billion bad check to Southern Illinois. We have seen it year after year, when the money runs out... Southern Illinois gets left empty-handed."
Although Madigan said the Assembly would meet in a series of budget workshops in June, each workshop was canceled. Fowler was appalled at the legislators' apparent disregard for the law and the people of Illinois.
"Down here, we work until the job is done," Fowler said. "The Illinois General Assembly must get back to Springfield, take care of business and pass a balanced budget. The people of Southern Illinois have had enough. We demand more business and less politics."
While the General Assembly did pass a temporary "stopgap" budget to ensure that schools could open in the fall and essential services, such as prisons and veterans services, were funded, the bill expires after the election in November. The Assembly will have to address the budget again when it reconvenes in November. Fowler is ready to step up to the plate in Springfield and apply his business experience to the fiscal issues facing the state as he and his colleagues negotiate a new balanced budget.