By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White announced Wednesday he is seeking the Republican nomination for state representative in the 115th district.
White is seeking the seat vacated by Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), who has announced his candidacy for the 12th District U.S. Representative for Congress nomination, currently held by Democrat William Enyart.
In announcing his candidacy at the intersection of North Ninth and Harrison streets, White said, "We have a state government that can't pay its bills, and this once great state has the second highest unemployment rate in the country. We have the worst credit rating of all 50 states. We have over $85 billion in unfunded pension obligations. These are real problems that have created the highest personal tax rate that is so-called temporary and is now being discussed as being converted to a graduated tax rate. Taxing and borrowing has never created opportunity nor does it create prosperity."
White owns Bob White Insurance Agency in Mt. Vernon and has served on the Jefferson County Board since 2008. He was elected chairman in 2010, and re-elected in 2012.
"Since I've been chairman, we have announced many initiatives, including creation of a worldwide web site," White said. "We have have tackled many operational management issues that have reduced taxpayer expense, such as reducing our liability expense by $130,000 per year. We successfully negotiated an FOP contract without arbitration for the first time since the 1990s. We have consolidated purchasing in an effort to reduce overall expense to reduce the taxpayer burden."
White said those initiatives were accomplished through teamwork.
"This is the same type of teamwork that we need to find in Springfield. We need a voice that's going to be heard there."
White said if elected he will be someone who can lead on the tough issues in the state.
"We need elected officials who care less about their political careers and are more focused on protecting and encouraging the opportunities in this land of Lincoln," he said. "It's about trust and accountability; it's about leadership and results. We know we deserve better."
White and his wife Kristina have one son, Bobby, who reside in Mt. Vernon. White is a veteran of the U.S. Army and he started his own business in 2003. He is involved with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Southern Illinois Networking Association, Mt. Vernon Elks, and the Baptist Children's Home and Family Services.
White's news conference was moved from the north side of the Jefferson County Courthouse to the new location after White learned he would be violating the county's ethics ordinance, although he noted President Obama stood on the courthouse steps when he announced his candidacy in 2008.
Republican Chairman Mark Marlow and two Republican County Board members, Robert Watt and John Keele, attended the formal announcement in Mt. Vernon. White also announced his candidacy in Carbondale on Wednesday.