Election

Primary Election 2022: Two Republicans from Dixon face off for Illinois’ 74th House District seat

Editor’s note: To read more about candidates in your area ahead of the June 28 Illinois primary election, go to www.shawlocal.com/news/election. The 74th Illinois House District includes parts of Lee, Whiteside, Ogle, DeKalb and La Salle counties. The following is a brief overview of the race for District 74′s primary Republican candidate. No Democrats are listed on the final ballot.

Republicans Bradley Fritts and Li Arellano Jr. are vying for the same seat to represent the 74th District in the Illinois House of Representatives and will face off during the June 28 primary election.

Arellano Jr. is a small-business owner, a soldier in the Army Reserves and serves as the mayor of Dixon.

Fritts, a farmer and teacher, received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Arellano Jr. said he believes the key issues facing his district include tax relief, public safety and education policy and funding, including paying down the state’s pension debt.

Fritts said he believes top issues include roads, workforce shortages and effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a loss of learning for Illinois students.

On taxes

In a candidate questionnaire for Shaw Local News Network, Arellano Jr. said Illinois’ pension debt is the single biggest issue causing tax hikes.

“This may be directly, such as gas taxes, or indirectly, such as underfunding of local governments,” Arellano Jr. said. “School districts, which are the primary component of local property tax bills, have been especially impacted by a lack of funding and ever-rising state mandates.”

Arellano Jr. said he thinks overspending has driven higher taxes in Illinois and cast his eye on relieving the state’s pension debts as a way to give Illinoisans reprieve.

“Springfield’s tax-and-spend culture has lasted for generations, and the cumulative debt somehow doesn’t have much to show for it,” Arellano Jr. said.

For Fritts, the state’s tax burden creates a reputation among surrounding Midwest states that Illinois is bad for business.

“High taxes put a strain on current local businesses and keep new businesses from coming into the state,” Fritts said in the Shaw Local questionnaire. “As a legislator, I would advocate for cutting spending and taxes.”

Fritts, also a precinct committeeman for the Republican Party in Amboy, said he believes tax relief would ensure more commerce and business comes back into the state.

“In the long term, the state would have more tax dollars coming in because of the new businesses and industry attracted,” Fritts said. “In doing this, Illinois has the ability to grow its way out of debt.”

On inflation

In a candidate questionnaire to Shaw Local, Arellano Jr. said he believes Illinois’ budget debts and what he called over-regulation of government are affecting inflation rates.

“We also need to reanalyze wage controls, government mandates and the record unemployment benefits given during a period of record job openings,” Arellano Jr. said. “These are all small ways in which state policy added to the national inflationary dynamics.”

Arellano Jr. also said increasing the gas tax needs to stop.

“Instead, we need to get pension debt under control so we can properly invest in infrastructure,” he said. “The gas tax trickles into so many parts of Illinois’ economy, including the costs that impact those on fixed incomes.”

When it comes to inflation, Fitts said he believes the federal government also shares some blame.

“The state needs to put pressure on our federal congressmen and senators to take action to raise interest rates in order to pull dollars out of circulation,” Fitts said. “As a consumer, I don’t want interest rates to rise. However, as an economist, I understand that it is the only way to slow down inflation.”

On the state level, Fritts said he thinks Illinois should become more energy-independent.

“This will help Illinois citizens feel less impact in the short term,” Fitts said. “However, any long-term solutions need to come from the federal government.”