Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
**It's Fall Fund Drive 2023! Don't forget to Donate!**

Candidate running for new state senate seat in western Illinois

Rich Egger
Sara and Mike Thoms outside the McDonough County Courthouse

The mayor of Rock Island announced he will run for the Illinois Senate in the newly drawn district that includes Macomb, Galesburg, and Monmouth.

“Why am I running? The number one issue is economic development,” said Mike Thoms during an appearance outside the McDonough County Courthouse.

He said the state keeps passing laws that chase away people and businesses. Thoms said that as a mayor he has found it is better to reach out to businesses and talk to them.

“Let’s work on the salesmanship in drawing people here, talking about the positive things that are happening,” he said, pointing to infrastructure improvements and last year’s voter rejection of the “fair tax” plan as positive developments in Illinois.

The “fair tax” would have changed the state income tax from a flat tax to a progressive one.

Thoms said instead of raising taxes, Illinois can generate additional revenue by attracting more residents and businesses.

He also said the state should strive to improve its workforce development and training programs.

Thoms said his other major campaign issue is public safety.

“Recently some laws were passed in the state of Illinois that did not favor the law enforcement. It’s driven a lot of people out of that industry because they don’t want to work under this type of environment – the potential liability they have and being second-guessed all the time,” Thoms said.

“We need to be behind them. We need to make sure they have the right tools to do their job. Let’s have their back when they need it.”

He said that will reduce crime and help departments hire good law officers.

Thoms said he worked many years for his family’s wholesale food distribution business. He said he got “heavily involved” with numerous non-profit organizations several years after his family sold the business in 2002.

He said he is familiar with the communities throughout the new Senate district because the food distribution firm did business in many of them. “I use to drive the truck and deliver down here so I got to know the routes and the individuals.”

Rock Island voters elected Thoms mayor in 2017 and reelected him this year.

Among those joining Thoms for the state Senate campaign announcement in McDonough County were State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), State Senator Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia), Shawn Roselieb, Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police/Illinois Labor Council, and McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.