Election 2020: IL 115th House Race

Mar 2, 2020

WSIU partnered with The Southern Illinoisan newspaper to interview candidates ahead of the March 17 primary in Illinois.

All candidates were asked the same questions, and given up to 30 minutes for their interview. In the 115th State House race, there are five men running for the Republican nomination. State Representative Terri Bryant, who currently holds the seat, is now running for State Senate in the 58th District.

Four of the candidates agreed to an interview: Cliff Lindemann, Zach Meyer, Johnnie Ray Smith, and John Howard. Paul Jacobs declined to participate.

1) Tell us about yourself, and why you're running.

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

2) Your party will be developing its platform for the 2020 campaign over the coming months. What are your top priorities, and what makes your party stand out against the others? How does this translate on a state level?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

3) What is the biggest need in your district, and how would you address it?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

4) What would make you an effective lawmaker? Can you name one piece of legislation that you would sponsor that directly helps your district?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

5) The budget has been a bigissue in the past few years in Springfield. What are your top three spending priorities, and what three things would you be willing to cut?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

6) Education leaders say they've made big strides recently with new funding reforms, but many districts are now faced with a teaher shortage. How would you boost education, and give students the best possible opportunity for success?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

7) Education remains a top prioirty - particularly when it comes to funding. What would you do to relieve the property tax burden, while still providing the necessary dollars to schools, cities, and other entities in your district?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

8) Systems from law enforcement to healthcare are overwhelmed with the nation's opioid epidemic, and this region is still battling methamphetamine and other drug abuse. What should the state's drug policy look like, and how does the new legalization of recreational marijuana factor into that conversation?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

9) Coal and manufacturing once dominated the economy of southern Illinois. What's the next big boom, and how will you help boost it?

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard:

If time permitted, the candidates were asked if there was anything else they'd like to add. Here are their answers:

  • Cliff Lindemann:
  • Zach Meyer:
  • Johnnie Ray Smith:
  • John Howard: No additional comments