PEORIA, IL -- Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon was the featured speaker at the annual dinner of the Peoria County Democratic Women, on May 4.
She's a good speaker, and has a compelling message. It's a shame she's not running for governor.
Simon, a Democrat, is seeking the office of Illinois Comptroller, now held Republican Judy Barr Topinka, who has good name recognition. She's one of the few sane Republicans on their ticket, so it's also two bad that these worthy women are running against each other, when either one would be better in the governor's chair or as Lt. Gov. But that's the way it turned out in the slating meetings behind closed doors.
Simon called for more accountability in state government, and said: "there is so much more that could be done with that office than is being done now."
Illinois is paying bills late, then pays interest on the late payments. It would be more efficient to take out low interest loans to pay the bills, to avoid high interest rates on late payments, she said.
In addition, some state vendors call the state to beg to jump the line to get paid, she said. Some are successful, some not. "There's no transparency on how these decisions are made," she said.
There should be guidelines, so that a policy is set up that works "whether you know somebody or not."
The comptroller's office gets financial reports from every local government except school districts. But the data is not analysed in a way that allows for easy comparison, she said. "The Comptroller could show comparative figures" which might have alerted Dixon, IL residents that thefts were taking place, she said.
Accountability matters, she said, because the public needs to trust that public officials are operating fairly and in the public interest.
She addressed the 2014 election in November, where a low turnout is expected, a situation that may not favor Democratic candidates. "It's going to take energy to get people to turn out and vote," she said.
-- Elaine Hopkins