Newly elected Reick thanks voters, lays out his legislative agenda
Republican Steve Reick, recently elected to the District 63 state House seat, talked about the campaign and thanked his supporters while lamenting campaign spending excesses and framing his plans for the future.
Emphasizing that “now that the dust has settled” following the action-packed weeks leading up to the election, Reick reached out with a statement expressing gratitude to his family and constituents — including non-supporters, saying that he hopes those citizens who did not vote for him will accept his leadership.
Reick also mentioned the “gracious” concession of his opponent, John Bartman, wishing him well and stating that “he’s to be commended for standing up and taking on the challenge of running for this office.”
Reick captured the seat with 56.7 percent of the vote, compared to Bartman’s 43.3 percent.
Reick’s win was historic, as his victory signified the end of two decades of Democratic control of District 63’s seat — held by state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) since 1999.
Additionally tipping the scales were the four Republican seats that were gained in November — eliminating the Democrats' veto-proof super-majority and prompting House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) to say that voters sent a strong message to Springfield by “breaking the supermajority.”
Reick, an attorney, emphasized a positive message throughout his run for office, stressing his top issues: property taxes, business-friendly reform and jobs. In his recent statement, he complimented his opponent and alluded to other, more contentious issues in Illinois.
“Both sides threw some elbows, but I insisted that this race would not become personal, and it didn’t,” Reick said. “To his credit, John’s campaign held to the high ground as well. That can’t be said for most of the other races in this state.”
Confronting the financial side of the race, Reick acknowledged that in his experience, he has never witnessed the record-breaking amount of capital spent on election campaigning in McHenry County — confessing that he was no more immune to the spending tide than anyone else running for office.
“We’ve seen other races where millions have been spent, but we never thought it would happen here, but it did," he said.
To clarify the cash-outlay narrative, Reick came clean about the more pedestrian aspects of candidacy, including advertising costs, even admitting some discomfort with the outlay and expressing contrition.
“The thing that embarrasses me is the sheer volume of mail pieces, radio ads and other media that blanketed the district,” he said. “I know that name recognition is key to anyone getting elected to public office, but I also know that there’s a point of diminishing returns, and that point was reached weeks ago. The fact that there were millions of dollars available to spend doesn’t mean that they needed to be spent."
Reick said that receiving contributions does little to allay the fact that it still represents the high end of the spending spectrum, he hopes to make good on its intent.
“While the money might have been theirs, the message was mine,” Reick said. “I’m going to Springfield with that message and will work to move the needle toward lower property taxes, less regulation and more opportunity for the people of the 63rd District and for the state of Illinois. My loyalty is to you and to those principles, and no other. McHenry County voters have long insisted upon independence from their representatives; I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Reick also thanked his wife, Deb, for her unwavering support throughout the long campaign season.
“Throughout the campaign, she was my gracious silence, and my rock,” Reick said as he began the transition from campaigning to representing.
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