CHARLESTON — Sheila Simon thinks some education and a different view of government planning could help Illinois.
She also thinks the office for which she plans to run could be a good vehicle for that.
The state’s Democratic lieutenant governor attended the annual Mideastern Illinois Labor Council picnic Saturday at Fox Ridge State Park. She said she thinks some of Illinois’ problems are because of “overpromising,” and the office of comptroller, for which she plans to run, could address that.
Simon said she believes what former Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch once told her about the office.
“She said it was best for being the state’s top teacher about the budget,” she said.
Simon added that she considered running for other state offices in 2014. Her decision to seek the comptroller’s job was partly because the office could change the planning process, being so closely tied to the election cycle, she said.
“If we as citizens say we need a 10-year outlook or a 30-year outlook, it’s going to bring back better decisions,” Simon said.
When she spoke to the crowd that attended the picnic, Simon said political candidates often use the term “our friends” to describe groups they’re addressing. However, she’s a union member and “very proud of that,” she added.
“We’re the ones paying into the system,” she said. “We want to make sure the promises are kept.”
She told the audience the comptroller tracks the state’s money, paying attention to make sure good decisions are made, and can watch for corruption in local governments.
In the comptroller’s race, Simon would face incumbent Judy Baar Topinka.
The picnic has taken place at the park for 36 years and is for members of any AFL-CIO-affiliated union in a 10-county area, council President Dan Kimball said.
The council is a liaison between the local unions and the state level, he said.
Kimball said it’s common for state and other government officials to attend the picnic, especially around elections.
“They get a chance to get their message across to a whole bunch of people without having to organize it,” he said.