As he walked into Annenberg’s G21 lecture hall, Glenn Farkas, the local Republican candidate for Illinois’ State Senate, looked like a man on a mission.
Despite a small audience – mostly College Republicans – Farkas made his goal clear: to reform Illinois’ troubled finances.
“I feel like there’s a contempt for taxpayers in Illinois,” he declared.
He talked in detail about how insolvent the state has become – Illinois faces a $17 billion deficit this year – and the twin problems of increasing property taxes and declining home values.
Farkas dismissed his opponent, Democratic incumbent Daniel Biss, as “Jan Schakowsky without the skirt.”
“He’s about as far-left liberal as you can get,” Farkas said.
The Republican candidate also focused on Illinois losing jobs to other states in the Midwest, like Indiana and Wisconsin, which have promoted more business-friendly policies.
“You look at all the economic rankings that matter, and Illinois is always in the bottom five,” Farkas said. “As a business person I look at that and say this is absolutely insane; Illinois has so much potential.”
Farkas has worked in the private sector for his whole life – he now runs his own wealth management firm – and it is his first time running for office.
On social issues, Farkas is a moderate: he supports abortion and civil unions, but not gay marriage, and backs a certain degree of gun control.
But why should college students vote for a state representative, especially in a presidential election year?
“If you plan on staying here in Chicago, you should be interested in local politics,” said Farkas.
“I’ve voted in national elections, and those are a lot sexier- I didn’t even know my state representative 3 years ago,” he said jokingly. “But what I found out through my kids is that things like your school board, and state elections are much more important locally than who is president.”
Photo by Charles Rollet