Election 2020: IL 55th Senate Race

Mar 11, 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 55th State Senate race, there are two men running for the Republican nomination, as State Senator Dale Righter is not seeking re-election. State Representative Darren Bailey and Jeff Fleming are vying for the open seat.

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

  • Darren Bailey:

  • Jeff Fleming:

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?

  • Darren Bailey:

  • Jeff Fleming:

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

  • Darren Bailey:

  • Jeff Fleming:

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

  • Darren Bailey:

  • Jeff Fleming:

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?

  • Darren Bailey:

  • Jeff Fleming:

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?

  • Darren Bailey:
  • Jeff Fleming:

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?

  • Darren Bailey:
  • Jeff Fleming:

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?

  • Darren Bailey:
  • Jeff Fleming:

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

  • Darren Bailey:
  • Jeff Fleming:

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

  • Darren Bailey: No additional comment.
     
  • Jeff Fleming: