Marla Wilson, a Democratic who came close to knocking off veteran state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford in the 34th district race in 2010, announced Thursday that she’s running for the seat again in 2012.
This time Wilson won’t have to face Syverson, because the districts were redrawn by Democrats who control state government after the 2010 census. Syverson is running in the 35th district.
The new 34th District is more Democratic in make -up than the old one, so Democrats should have a better chance of winning. And that’s causing a traffic jam among local Democrats.
In addition to Wilson, former party chairman Dan Lewandowski is running, and former alderman and Winnebago County Board member Jim Hughes plans to become a candidate, meaning there will be a contested March 20 primary among Democrats.
Wilson says she’s running because she garnered 47 percent of the vote against an 18-year incumbent in the worst year for Democrats since 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s resignation.
“After the campaign, people would come up to me in stores or at events and tell me they voted for me. Many people have urged me to run again.”
“Wilson, 50, is a businesswoman who owns Advertising Specialty Creations, which sells promotional items like T-shirts, coffee mugs and awards. She says the state should manage its affairs like a business or family has to do.
“If someone has a deficit in their home or small business accounts, they sit down and figure out where to cut in order to balance their budget,” Wilson said. “The state should do the same.”
Wilson advocates term limits for legislators and thinks they should not have pensions. Her top goal is to bring “well-paying, green collar jobs to Illinois,” she said.
Wilson is critical of Gov. Pat Quinn for threatening to close mental health facilities, including Rockford’s Singer Center.
“I’m concerned about that because the people in those facilities need special help. To me, Gov. Quinn is holding education and mental health funding ransom. There are many other line items in the state budget that could be cut before mental health and education.”
Wilson is also critical of the gambling expansion bill that would bring a casino to Rockford and four other cities including Chicago. The bill passed both houses of the legislature but awaits possible modification in the fall veto session.
“I think a casino should be put on a referendum for people to decide for themselves. I
see both sides of the issue. We do need jobs, but I volunteered for PHASE/WAVE in
past, and I know that gambling can take a family down.”
Republicans initially had four or five potential candidates, but the GOP leadership convinced all but Frank Gambino to drop out. The GOP believes that a united party still has a chance to elect a Republican.