EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of profiles leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
As election day approaches, the presidential race isn’t the only one area voters will have a say in deciding this November.
Along with a number of local seats, the race for two state representative districts covering parts of Madison County will also be decided on Nov. 8. Illinois Representative District 111, which covers parts of Alton, Godfrey, Wood River, Bethalto, Granite City and other municipalities, will be decided between Democratic incumbent Dan Beiser and Republican challenger Mike Babcock. District 112, which includes Edwardsville, Glen Carbon and Collinsville, features Republican incumbent Dwight Kay against Democratic challenger Katie Stuart.
The 111th District seat, which Beiser has held since 2004, is one of the state’s more high-profile contested races. According to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the candidates have a combined $2,370,611 in their war chests, the third-highest total among all Illinois races.
Babcock, an East Alton native and 1980 graduate of Roxana High School, has served as Wood River Township supervisor for the past seven years. He previously sat on the Bethalto Police Pension Board. Babcock owns and operates Babcock and Associates insurance firm.
Beiser is a 1974 graduate of Marquette Catholic High School in Alton. He was elected to the Alton City Council in 1987 and two years later he was chosen by voters to be the city’s treasurer, eventually serving four terms. While treasurer, Beiser was elected president of the Illinois Municipal Treasurers Association, and he has also sat on boards for the RiverBend Growth Association, the Greater Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Catholic Charities Children’s Home.
In announcing his candidacy, Babcock highlighted property tax reform, a “crumbling” education system and common sense reforms in workers’ compensation as some of the major tenets of his platform. Like many of his fellow Republicans, Babcock has also come out in favor of term limits for government officeholders.
Beiser boasts work on the medical malpractice insurance system; job creation; education funding; workers’ compensation reforms; the fight against methamphetamine and sex offenders; and protection of Social Security as among his accomplishments during his tenure. Beiser has also sponsored a non-partisan concealed carry bill that went before former Gov. Pat Quinn.
Stuart touts her status as a non-politician, promoting instead that she is a wife, mother of two and an educator. Stuart is a math instructor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Kay has lived in the Metro East all his life and has been the 112th District representative since 2010. The Glen Carbon resident worked his way from the mail room to vice president of Cassens Transport, serving as the company’s VP since 1995. He has served on a number of committees as a state representative, including Appropriations-Public Safety and Human Services, Business Growth & Incentives and Economic Development. Kay also serves on the Governor’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board.
As an educator, Stuart has identified increased funding for downstate schools as among the issues important to her, if elected. Addressing the state’s budget crisis, opposing tax increases on the state’s middle class and making it more difficult for lawmakers to raise their own salaries are also topics on Stuart’s agenda.
Tax relief, job creation, fiscal discipline and term limits are a few of the issues Kay has addressed or hopes to address in office.