State Rep. Dan Brady faces a challenge from Democrat Chemberly Cummings this fall in an Illinois House district that includes parts of Bloomington-Normal.
Brady, a funeral home director and former coroner, is seeking his 11th term. Cummings is nearing the end of her first term on the Normal Town Council. The 105th District includes parts of Bloomington-Normal and much of eastern McLean County.
Video: Watch the WGLT debate between Brady and Cummings.
In a recent WGLT debate, Brady touted his track record of constituent service as one reason voters should send him back to Springfield. Brady said he and his staff have been working around the clock to help constituents impacted by COVID-19, starting in mid-March with a meeting for business owners facing the prospect of the stay-at-home order.
“Providing leadership during this tsunami has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a state representative,” Brady said.
In a nod to Brady’s long tenure in Springfield, Cummings said repeatedly that “we can do better.”
“Illinois has been through a lot. But it is time to revive Illinois strong and energetic, through improving education, our economy, and social equity,” Cummings said.
Cummings said she’s seen firsthand how the state’s precarious budget and pension situation trickle down to impact municipalities like the Town of Normal. Cummings said public education would be among her top priorities if elected, along with social equity and criminal justice reform.
“Those are issues that are near and dear to my heart and have impacted my own life, whether directly or indirectly,” she said, repeatedly mentioning “social equity” during the debate.
Brady said his top policymaking priorities include higher education, the insurance industry, and campaign and election reforms.
Cummings and Brady disagree on the proposed shift to a graduated, or progressive, income tax in Illinois, instead of the current flat income tax. That change is supported by Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and Cummings, and opposed by many Republicans, including Brady.
Supporters promise that no one making less than $250,000 would pay more in income taxes. That’s 97% of taxpayers. Wealthier taxpayers would pay up to a top rate of 7.99%.
Brady said he’s concerned that future General Assemblies will change the graduated rate structure so more middle-income families would pay higher rates.
“I believe we pay enough in tax. What we do with the money out of Springfield is where the problem lies,” Brady said.
Cummings said most U.S. states already have a graduated tax model.
“We know that right now we need what’s necessary to pull us away from the structural deficit we’ve been facing,” she said.
Brady faced a Democratic challenger, high school teacher Ben Webb, in 2018. Brady won by more than 20 percentage points. Brady also defeated Republican primary challenger David Paul Blumenshine in both 2018 and again in March 2020.
As an incumbent and member of the House GOP leadership, Brady has a huge fundraising advantage over Cummings. As of Sept. 30, Brady had $215,987 in cash in hand, according to state filings. Cummings had just $2,808 in cash on hand.
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