State Representative Randy Frese (R-Paloma) is running for a third term in the 94th district in western Illinois. He faces a challenger, Rich Cramsey (D-Clayton), who is running for his first political office.
Frese, 59, is a farmer with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Western Illinois University. He first ran to represent the 94th district in 2014 when the seat became vacant because Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) stepped down. Tracy ran for lieutenant governor alongside Kirk Dillard, who ran for the Republican nomination for governor but ultimately lost the primary to Bruce Rauner. Tracy is now the region's state senator.
Frese said he first sought political office out of “frustration with the fiscal condition with the state of Illinois.” He said that still motivates him today as he looks to create a better future for the next generation. He said he’s happy with the state budget that was passed this year, but that there’s a lot of work left to do.
Frese said as a Republican in the Illinois House, he was in the super minority in his first term in office. “It was pretty easy for a lack of a better term to get run over from time to time with a partisan issue.” But, he said the majority of issues discussed in the legislature, “get a good and fair debate and a good and fair vote.”
Frese said he’s worked across the aisle to pass legislation. He said one of his biggest accomplishments to date was a bipartisan effort to secure funding in this year’s budget for the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. “It took a lot of time and was all-consuming for a while.”
Legionnaires’ disease has been connected to more than a dozen deaths at the Illinois Veterans Home since 2015.
Frese said he’s very familiar with the issue given that the Veterans Home is in the 94th district and also that he serves on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee in the Illinois House.
The legislature has approved money to update the Veterans Home, which will include replace plumbing that tested positive for Legionella. He said it will be up to lawmakers to approve more financial support for the Veterans Home in the future to get the campus rebuilt. “All the things are in place for a bright future for the Veterans Home in Quincy,” Frese said.
Frese said his top priority is taxation and whether increased taxation will continue to be a driver of the state's population loss. “It will probably cause us to lose a congressional seat as other states continue to grow and we continue to go backwards.” Frese said he opposes a progressive income tax.
A second priority is the pension issue, which Frese called a “great frustration.” “When I went in four years ago, we were talking about the need to reform our pension program and to get it from the worst funded and move it towards the direction of being the best funded and we haven’t made that move,” Frese said.
Frese said there’s also been discussion about a capital bill to pay for improvements to infrastructure. He said the biggest priorities would roads and bridges including Highway 57, which goes south out of Quincy. “It has become a major artery,” he said. Frese would also like money set aside to pay for improvements to Highway 34 between Monmouth and the Mississippi River.
“There’s some areas that are a dangerous stretch of road to travel. Certainly for public safety and to create a route that is good for commercial traffic and for people getting back and forth from work and for school kids getting to and from school,” Frese said.
Frese is running for a third term to represent the 94th district in the Illinois House. The 94th House District includes all or portions of Adams, Hancock, Henderson, and Warren counties.