MURPHYSBORO — Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Jil Tracy touched on prison safety, Illinois’ pension crisis and the state’s business reputation in a Thursday campaign stop in Murphysboro.
“Illinois used to be a state that wasn’t a joke,” Tracy said at Murphysboro City Hall. “It can be turned around very quickly and that’s why I’ve given up my (Illinois) House seat, why (Kirk Dillard) has given up his (Illinois) Senate seat and we’re going full bore at this.”
Tracy, who is running with gubernatorial candidate Dillard, spent a good chunk of the conference reiterating her running mate’s call for the resignation or termination of Salvador A. “Tony” Godinez, Illinois Department of Corrections director.
Godinez, who was criticized by the Illinois Executive Ethics Committee last January, has come under fire for allegations of hiring former felon Xadrain McCraven as an advisor to the chief of parole, an alleged cover-up of a senior administrator’s son’s DUI and the elevation of Ty Bates to deputy director despite two investigations of Bates concerning sexual harassment.
“Senator Dillard and I have joined in asking for the resignation of the director because he has to accept responsibility,” Tracy said.
Tracy said she wants to see Tamms Correctional Center reopened, calling the supermax facility a “safety valve” for the state’s overcrowded prison system.
“We’ve seen (inmate) populations moved to other correctional facilities and I think it’s greatly jeopardized the safety of the over 10,000 staff who work within the correctional system,” Tracy said. “Our prison systems are housing 49,000 inmates and they were designed to handle 33,000.”
She briefly talked about Menard Correctional Center in Chester, which she said has seen an increase in inmate violence since the closing of Tamms and is one of the state’s oldest prison facilities.
“I’ve visited with the correctional officers who work there and I don’t know that the facility itself isn’t the problem, it is the understaffing that is very much a security risk.”
Tracy also commented on Dillard’s plan to reduce the state’s gasoline tax from 5 percent to 2 percent while using borrowed money to repair roads and bridges.
The proposal would make up for the lost revenue through growth in the Illinois economy, the Dillard-Tracy campaign has said.
Dillard is running against state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, businessman Bruce Rauner of Winnetka, Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa for the GOP nomination.