WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Senator Tracy Talks Salary Disparities and Capitalism

Sep 14, 2017

47th District State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) was the guest speaker at the August meeting of the McDonough County Interagency Council.  Tracy spoke about her background working as a lawyer and her nearly eight year tenure as a state representative for the 94th district.

She stepped down from the General Assembly in 2014 to run in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor alongside gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard. They ultimately lost the primary to Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Tracy told members of the Interagency Council she’s consistently worked for education and pro-business reforms. During the question and answer portion of the meeting, Tracy fielded questions about the state’s unfunded pension system, the Tier 3 pension category, and the struggle to attract talent -- especially in the medical field -- to come to communities in west central Illinois.

She was also asked for her thoughts on the disparity between the high salary levels for some corporate executives compared to those of teachers, police officers, and other social service workers. Tracy said the disparity is due to capitalism and personal choice.

Tracy said her husband, who is an executive for the family business DOT Foods, plans to retire this year. “I happen to live with an executive and his hair has gone completely white, he travels and works seven days a week, and he’s chosen that path. But he has worked very, very hard,” Tracy said.

Tracy also noted the charitable work done by some executives, naming the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Tracy Family Foundation (operated by DOT Foods in Mt. Sterling, IL).

Tracy went on to say during an interview with Tri States Public Radio following the discussion that public sector employees work hard too, but they know what they are getting into when they choose their career.

“I’m saddened that social workers, police, and fire don’t make more money, but there again when they enter a profession, I mean pretty much they have an idea of what that salary range is going to be,” Tracy told TSPR.

Tracy did not respond when asked whether the state should play a role in increasing pay for public service employees. But she said it's personal choice if people want to live in other parts of the state, such as Chicago, where salaries might be higher.