PEORIA -- Incumbent Republican Mike Unes is up against Democrat Jennifer Allison for the 91st District State House of Representatives seat. The district covers parts of Peoria, Tazewell and Fulton counties.
East Peoria native and Republican Mike Unes has held the 91st district seat for almost two years. In this election, he's facing Democrat Jennifer Allison, who currently works for the American Red Cross Blood Services.
Both candidates share their motivation and commitment to the 91st District. Unes said, "My wife and I are very blessed and have four beautiful children, they really drove me and motivated me to get more involved because our children really are the future of our state and there's a lot of things that we're upside down on."
Allison said, "Ultimately I'm a frustrated constituent. I'm not a career politician, I'm frustrated like so many people around here. My run for this office ultimately came from my husband and I staying up night after night watching the news and griping about what's going on Springfield."
We asked each candidate what it will take to tackle one of Illinois' biggest issues - the ailing pension system.
Unes said, "It's hard to really comment on what all these ideas mean until you get them into a bill. One idea that I have seen that gives me a lot of heartburn and for me is a non-starter is this idea of a pension shift or a cost shift that we've heard about."
Allison said, "There's a lot of waste that we can look at as step one. and step two in terms of pension we need to look at some bipartisan efforts to make sure we're not doing this at the backs of the working class and the folks that really can't take anymore hits."
We asked the candidates what they believe the state's top priority should be.
Unes said, "I think we need to create jobs and we don't create jobs but we create an environment so job creators and employers will want to come here because, let's face it, in Illinois it's a great place to live and a great place to work and it is a great place to raise a family. I know, I'm doing it."
Allison said, "I think step one is getting legislatures to speak out on behalf of their districts. So many people I speak with say their voices aren't being heard and I think, you know, I spent time in Springfield as a policy analyst and we can't look at legislation as a piece of paper it's something that impacts peoples lives everyday."