BY CARL GREEN
Litchfield, IL – It will be a tough row to hoe, but Democrats have a chance to gain another seat in the Illinois House of Representatives with a young, union-supporting candidate in the 95th District, Dillon Clark.
Clark, 26, introduced himself to the Southwestern Building and Construction Trades Council on April 12. He ran unopposed in the primary for the Democratic nomination and will challenge the incumbent, Avery Bourne, in the November general election.
Clark worked as a compliance officer at Litchfield National Bank until leaving to campaign full-time, and he also serves on the Montgomery County Board.
“The reason a small-town guy like me wants to get involved in politics is because I’ve seen the damage that Bruce Rauner has caused to the middle-class and to our union families, and I know in my heart it’s not right and I want to do something about it,” Clark told the Council.
Clark gets his support for Labor naturally – from his grandfather Mark Clark, a longtime Laborers member.
“He’s taught me right from wrong, and I know ‘right-to-work’ is definitely wrong. I’m going to fight tooth and nail against it, and I’m going to do everything I can for you guys,” Clark said.
“The reason we have an eight-hour work day – the reason we have any workplace rights at all – is because of unions. I’m never going to forget that,” he added.
The mostly rural nature of the 95th District has made it hard for Democrats to win in recent elections. Bourne was appointed to the seat by Rauner but in 2016 won 57 percent of the vote against a well-liked county official and union member, Mike Mathis, in a Republican year. The district extends up into Christian County, including Taylorville, and westward into Macoupin County plus the northernmost part of Madison County including Staunton.
Clark noted that Democratic primary vote totals were far higher this year and almost equaled Republicans’ in Christian County, considered a GOP stronghold but which offered little support to Rauner in the primary.
“The Republicans really don’t have anyone to come out and vote for,” Clark said. ”I think we have a great chance.”
A CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT
Clark describes himself as a conservative Democrat, and his website specifies his support for senior citizens, veterans, the middle-class, farmers and Second Amendment rights. He’s also a member of the Farm Bureau.
“I also want to fight for our schools and our teachers,” he told the Council. “There’s a teacher shortage going on, and we need to do everything we can to fix it.
“There’s more student debt today than ever before. If a kid wants to go to a trade school or college to better themselves and their society, we want to do everything we can to help them succeed, follow their dreams, and hope that they come back to their towns and make them better, too.”
The website lists the many jobs he’s already had, including factory worker, pizza delivery driver, bank teller, campaign manager, radio announcer and lifeguard. He’s a graduate of Illinois College, in psychology and political science, in nearby Jacksonville, and just last year married Elizabeth Kelly, a kindergarten teacher.
Clark is looking for more campaign support and can be reached at Team Clark, 716 N. Madison, Litchfield IL, 62056, or call (217) 556-7729, send email to clarkstaterep.gmail.com or go to the website dillonclark.com.