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The names on the Nov. 3 ballot for state representative in District 71 will be familiar to voters.

Incumbent Republican Tony McCombie of Savanna is looking to retain her seat for a third term and is challenged again by Democrat Joan Padilla, a lifelong Sterling resident who ran against McCombie in 2018.

A common theme in their campaigns is giving a voice to voters in the district, which is composed of Rock Island, Carroll, Whiteside and Henry counties.

In fact, that’s why McCombie previously ran and was elected as mayor of Savanna, and ultimately ran for state representative. “I’m a fierce advocate for the district,” she touts.

Padilla argues McCombie is “lacking the voice” needed to bring programs and services to the district to improve quality of life for residents. Along those same lines, Padilla doesn’t believe less government is better, pointing to more services needed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two split on the proposed graduated tax amendment, with McCombie, a longtime business owner and Realtor, dismissing the proposed graduated income tax amendment, characterizing it as a distraction from other reforms such as state property tax, education funding and pension restructuring.

Padilla, who is executive director at Home of Hope Cancer Wellness Center in Dixon, supports the proposed amendment and labeled McCombie’s response as an example of “anxiety and fear” brought on by the opposition.

Both candidates’ ideas for creating jobs and business retention are solid, with Padilla focusing on education by proposing creation of a model featuring partnerships between college students and businesses.

McCombie stressed the need to stop passing policy that limits businesses and corporations from operating in Illinois and that forces companies to open in neighboring states, where regulations are more relaxed.

McCombie’s hard stance on ethics reform gives her an edge, as she promises to work and has worked for meaningful ethics reform measures, such as doing away with legislators’ ability to lobby on behalf of municipalities, the “revolving door” of former legislators serving as lobbyists and ambiguous economic interest disclosures.

“I have a record showing that I want financial reforms, ... that I’m willing to fund education, ... that I support labor, ... that I support families. My record speaks for itself.”

We agree. Tony McCombie is endorsed.

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