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Gov Candidate Bob Diaber Talks Downstate Illinois
Bob Daiber

A crowded field of Democratic candidates has emerged with 10 months still to go before the Illinois primary for governor. Five men have announced plans to run for the party's nomination to unseat Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who will seek a second term in the state's highest office. 

The Democratic field as of early May:

  • Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston)
  • Madison County Regional Superintendent and farmer Bob Daiber
  • Businessman Chris Kennedy of Chicago
  • Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar
  • Billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker of Chicago

Daiber, the sole downstate candidate, said regional superintendent is one of many elected positions he's held in his more than two decade care in public service.  
During a recent visit with the college Democrats at Western Illinois University, Daiber told Tri States Public Radio that the state of Illinois needs new leadership, and that should involve ideally someone who has a background in government.

“Being involved in government is not like running a business. Because in business, you’re the boss and you tell people what to do. In government, you have to realize you have to get along with people,” Daiber said. “Each and every time there’s an issue you have to be willing to compromise.”

Daiber said the nearly two year long state budget impasse has hurt downstate Illinois when it comes to attracting businesses and he said people question investing in a state that doesn’t have a budget. “I believe every resident in the state of Illinois knows we need a budget,” Daiber said.

Daiber said the state needs a manageable budget to get money flowing to higher education institutions and social services. That could be accomplished, he said, by implementing a progressive state income tax rate ranging from 1% - 6% and by bonding out Illinois’ debt.

Additionally, Daiber said the state also needs to create a business plan in order to grow. He said it should include details about what the state is willing to offer and how it will go about attracting new businesses.

Daiber said businesses look for fast and easy permitting when deciding where to locate, and they want to be in areas with a readily available skilled workforce and infrastructure that can meet their needs.

Daiber said being from downstate Illinois separates him from the other Democratic hopefuls for governor. “I understand families that live in southern Illinois, I understand how they live and I understand everyday life and I think a person who lives an everyday life would best  serve this state as governor."

The last time someone from downstate Illinois was governor was in the 1990s under Jim Edgar (R-Charleston).

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.