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In the race for state representative from House District 61, one-term incumbent Democrat Joyce Mason faces a compelling challenge from Antioch village trustee Republican Dan Yost.
Mason, of Gurnee, has shown modest promise in her first term, even going so far as to defy the governor by pushing a bill that would have required legislative support before the state could apply for a federal Medicaid waiver from the Affordable Care Act. But otherwise, her actions and comments seem to follow a fairly predictable pattern among party-line Democrats: Mild but inconclusive criticism of the speaker, vague calls for ethics reform, support for the graduated income tax and standard, if important, calls for unity and reform on social justice and criminal justice issues.
Yost, in contrast, offers the impression of an earnest and independent-minded Republican. He recognizes the weaknesses in Illinois’ financial operations and insists the state must address what he sees as its spending problem before trying to raise revenues. But he realizes that reduced spending alone may not solve the state’s deep systemic economic crisis and is thoughtful and open on options to address the problem holistically. He likewise offers a thoughtful mixture of criticism, praise and specific actions on issues ranging from the governor’s handling of COVID-19 to issues involving legislative ethics and criminal justice reform.
“I want to do more learning than talking,” he told us, and we’re confident he will. Yet, we’re also confident he has the energy and drive to act on what he learns.
Yost is sincere and collaborative in his approach to politics. The legislature needs more Republicans like him, and he gets our endorsement.