WGIL News Audio: 7am News, Sports and Obits click HERE | For the latest WGIL news click HERE

Candidate for Treasurer Talks About Backing by Teachers, Quinn Scandal

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 253

(Mike Frerichs, meeting potential voters in March in Galesburg.  WGIL News File Photo.)

(Mike Frerichs, meeting potential voters in March in Galesburg. WGIL News File Photo.)

A candidate for Illinois Treasurer says his endorsement by a major state union is big.

Democratic State Senator Mike Frerichs stopped in Galesburg yesterday as he campaigned across the state this week touting his endorsement by the 130-thousand member Illinois Education Association.

Frerichs tells WGIL that’s because teachers known current policy relating to state finances and school funding are bad news.

“If the treasurer chooses to make investments in Illinois-based companies, Illinois entrepreneurs, and small business owners, and grow our economy that way,” Frerichs said.  “If we grow our economy from the middle class out, there’d be more revenue that we can invest in our schools and our children.”

Frerichs is also calling for ways to bring down the costs of higher education, and to bring down the costs of saving for higher education through things like 529 college savings programs, including the one the state manages.

He says there’s no reason for the state to be collecting large fees on such programs.

On another issue, Frerichs says if it were up to him, there wouldn’t be such a thing as a Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

That’s the initiative by Governor Pat Quinn’s office described as an anti-violence initiative in Chicago, but is now under state and federal investigation after millions of dollars were wasted or mismanaged.  Frerichs tells WGIL before the investigation was announced, the initiative was news to him.

“As a legislator from downstate, this was something I wasn’t aware of,” Frerichs said. “What we’re doing running for treasurer, is focusing on making investments that allow people to have jobs.  If people have the ability to support themselves and their families, they are far less likely to engage in criminal activity.  I think one of the best things we can do to reduce crime and violence in the state is to provide economic opportunity to our young people.”

Frerichs says he’s not an attorney, but believes state lawmakers should stop their probe into NRI as the feds have requested. He suggests some lawmakers are using the situation instead for political gain.

Frerichs faces Republican Tom Cross in November, after incumbent Dan Rutherford lost in the primary.