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Mattoon Accountant Files For Independent Statehouse Bid

Kody Czerwonka, an independent from Mattoon, has filed petitions to run for the Illinois House against GOP incumbent Chris Miller.

MATTOON – An accountant living in Mattoon is running in the 110th Illinois House District against Republican incumbent Chris Miller.

Kody Czerwonka filed ballot petitions on July 13 to run for the seat held by Miller, a first-term Republican from rural Oakland. No Democrat has filed to run for the seat, and Czerwonka says he doesn’t want Miller to run unopposed.

“When I looked at [Miller’s] voting record and saw that he voted against capping insulin prices at $100, when I saw he voted against giving teachers raises to a $40 thousand minimum wage, when I saw him vote against banning for-profit prisons, I had to jump in the race,” Czerwonka says. “I had to give the choice to the people of the district.”

HB 2040, the prison bill Czerwonka mentioned, actually expanded an existing ban on for-profit prisons in Illinois to include for-profit immigration detention centers. But Miller voted against all three measures, including the insulin price cap measure (SB 667) and the raises in minimum pay for teachers (HB 2078). All three bills were passed, and were signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Czerwonka says that in contrast to Miller, he supports efforts to combat climate change. Miller has voiced skepticism about climate change and has argued against “Green New Deal” proposals from Democrats, saying fossil fuels will continue to be needed to supply energy and jobs for years to come.

Czerwonka also supports a proposal backed by Democrats on the November ballot to change the Illinois constitution to allow a graduated state income tax for Illinois. He says it will only raise taxes on the very wealthiest Illinoisans and help to stabilize state government finances. But to finish the job, Czerwonka says more changes to the state budget will be needed.

“We need to look at the budget, take a hard look at the budget, and see where all the money is being allocated to, and identify areas of bureaucratic spending, and address those areas,” says Czerwonka.

In contrast, Miller has said a graduated income tax would be “taking dollars from responsible people and giving a blank check to irresponsible bureaucrats.”

Despite his differences, Czerwonka says he agrees with Miller in supporting term limits for legislators and opposing the leadership of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

In an interview Friday with Illinois Newsroom, Czerwonka voiced opposition to Madigan as House Speaker, even before learning of his implication in the federal bribery charge against Commonwealth Edison. The candidate said the charges bolstered the arguments for term limits, and that Madigan should resign if the allegations against him are shown to be true.

Meanwhile, Miller joined fellow Illinois House Republicans Darren Bailey and Blaine Wilhour in calling Friday for Madigan’s immediate resignation from his Illinois House seat.

The 27-year-old Czerwonka is a native of Montrose on the Effingham-Cumberland county line. He graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in accounting.

Czerwonka says he was recently laid off from a position with the accounting firm of West and Co., because the work they do for government agencies posed a conflict with his decision to run for the Illinois House.

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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