Senate hopeful says Air Force career set stage for political leadership role
Retired Air Force Col. Craig Wilcox prides himself on understanding the meaning of leadership and the weight that positions of authority bring with them, especially when it comes to his state and its people.
“I think we can get into policy discussions and we get wrapped around the details of the issue and forget how it’s going to impact the residents of the state,” Wilcox, who is running for the Illinois Senate in the 32nd District, told the McHenry Times. “Keeping that first and foremost in my mind is going to be critical.”
Born in Vermont, Wilcox was commissioned straight out of college as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, where he stayed for 24 years, climbing the ranks to colonel before retiring. Wilcox also has been involved in organizations that support the military, such as being on the board of directors of the Veterans Network Committee.
A resident of McHenry County, Wilcox became motivated to pursue a role in government after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed SB107, which gave a huge tax break to veterans. Wilcox first took a seat on the McHenry County Board for District 4, but now he is looking forward to making big changes if elected to the state Senate.
“I think Illinois is in an issue where we need our General Assembly to start looking at a way to find solutions rather than so much time fixing the blame,” Wilcox said. “We have a dire need to turn Illinois into an economic competitor, especially in regards to our neighboring states, and that’s going to be a difficult decision in regards to regulation relaxation or tax relief. There are a lot of big policy issues that will need to be discussed.”
Wilcox is a family man who stays active with Janice, his fiancé, and three children, from coaching his twins’ soccer team to assisting his wife in her Realtor career. And while he has a deep admiration for political leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorne Woods), he also said he finds a great deal of inspiration in ordinary citizens.
“I’ve always been interested in those citizens who are engaged and educated as voters because ultimately they’re working to help the local community become better, and for the most part, no matter where you stand on a position, those that are involved are really looking to create a more efficient and more effective government structure,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox believes his experience in the military will come in handy in a political role because he learned the core values needed to be a good leader.
“In our case, it was integrity, service before self, and excellency in all we do,” Wilcox said.