Wilcox: shared values, authenticity led to state Senate win
Retired Col. Craig Wilcox has captured the state Senate seat he was appointed to fill when Sen. Pam Althoff (R-McHenry) retired Sept. 30.
Wilcox drew 56 percent of the vote Tuesday to Democrat Mary Mahady's 44 percent, in the 32nd District Senate race.
Wilcox told the McHenry Times that he and all his campaign workers are "elated" by the win. "I feel it was volunteers who weren't just talking about me, they were relaying their own values that we share, and that certainly resonated with the residents of District 32."
Wilcox acknowledges he has a tough job ahead. Wilcox, a Republican, will be working in a General Assembly led by Democrats lawmakers and with newly elected Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Wilcox is looking for opportunities for bipartisanship. He will be working across the aisle, seeking common ground.
"It's certainly not the structure we were hoping to work under in Springfield, so that adds challenges," he said. "It means we've got to dedicate ourselves to truly understanding all depths of the issues."
Wilcox said his campaign avoided character attacks, because he and Mahady knew each other before the race. That's a strategy he recommends to encourage cooperation in the Legislature.
"So one of the things I think we need to work on in Springfield is getting to know who’s on the other side," he said. "I think that helps lead to better discourse."
So does Illinois' blue wave mean people want to embrace higher taxes as a way out of the state's fiscal crisis? Not in District 32, Wilcox said.
"I'm not sure we truly expounded on the implications of it," he said. "But if it's going to come, it means opening up the Constitution, and that means there's an opportunity to make other changes when the time comes."
One of those changes would mean keeping an eye on how laws will be interpreted by future generations, he said.
"Certainly, looking at the pension language from 1970" would be an option, he said. "We have to work on the original language so it's not constantly rehashed in the judicial system."
Although the title of state senator is a high honor, Wilcox said earning the rank of colonel during his 24-year Air Force career was his top achievement.