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Mike Bell Supports Bipartisan Quest to Stop Madigan Cost-Shift

Edinburg, Il- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), Republican nominee for the 96th District, is joining a growing number of Illinois lawmakers working to block House Speaker Mike Madigan’s (D-Chicago) pension cost-shift. Madigan’s plan would force school districts to pay the entire employee share of teacher’s pension contributions, which are currently funded by the state.

“Madigan and his allies have already slashed state aid to schools, this would have a devastating effect on classrooms,” said Bell. “This would also force districts to raise property taxes, taking more money out of the pockets of our struggling families.”

While Madigan’s plan would put a major financial squeeze on most school districts, it wouldn’t affect his own. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) would receive no additional burden, because that district’s pensions are funded differently. Chicago also receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year through multiple grants, money the rest of the state’s schools aren’t eligible for.

The FY15 budget pushed through by Madigan and his allies also included $35 million to build an entirely new school in the Speaker’s House district.

“This is another case of the Chicago political machine stealing money from downstate to fund their own local pork projects,” said Bell.

Bell is putting his support behind a bi-partisan House Resolution, HR1267, which states that the cost-shift proposal is “financially wrong.” That resolution, filed on September 10th, had already accumulated 35 sponsors in just two days. Bell’s opponent, Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur), has not offered her support for the measure.

“We have to re-prioritize our budget to find more money for our schools,” said Bell. “I stand with my fellow teachers and homeowners, and I will continue my fight to see classrooms adequately funded and to keep property taxes from increasing.”

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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)


Scherer Silent on Debating Mike Bell for
State Representative 

Edinburg, Il- State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) still hasn’t agreed to take part in the time-honored practice of debates, despite receiving a formal request two weeks ago, and has avoided questions from reporters on whether she will accept.

“I had hoped Representative Scherer would enthusiastically agree to join me in front of voters to discuss the issues facing our state,” said her opponent, Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), the Republican nominee for the 96th District. “The voters deserve the opportunity to hear our ideas in person, we owe it to them.”


Bell sent a certified letter to Scherer asking her to join him in three public debates, one in each county contained in the 96th District, Christian, Macon, and Sangamon. According to the United States Postal Service, that letter was received on Wednesday, August 27th. Despite two full weeks passing since receiving the letter, Scherer and her campaign have yet to respond. Scherer has repeatedly dodged questions from local reporters asking if she will agree to any public forums.

“Debates are an inherent part of democracy, they’ve been part of the history of American government since our country was founded,” said Bell. “As always, I look forward to meeting the voters face-to-face.”


In her two years in Springfield, Scherer has developed a reputation among members of the capitol media bureau for hiding from in-person interviews, as well as avoiding the members of the media all together. On the campaign trail, she has relied on statements written for her by staffers paid for by Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), as well as tens of thousands of dollars of his contributions.




For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)

Mike Bell Disappointed by Governor’s Lack of Budget Leadership

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th District, says the citizens of Illinois have once again been let down by Governor Pat Quinn’s failure to lead.

“This is a pattern that unfortunately just keeps repeating,” said Bell. “Quinn says he supports properly funding our schools and cutting government waste, but instead he just rubber-stamped an unbalanced budget that shortchanges education.”

Earlier this week Quinn signed the state’s fiscal year 2015 budget. When the budget passed the General Assembly earlier in the Spring, even the Governor and his staff referred to it as an unbalanced plan.

“This budget is filled with gimmicks and accounting tricks that will actually cost taxpayers billions in the following budget year,” said Bell. “This is the same type of awful budget making that is killing our state. And once again Quinn has signed his name in support of this terrible status quo.”

The budget also fails to properly fund Illinois schools, leaving their state aid pro-rated at just 89%. It also brings cuts to core services and economic boosters like historic sites.

“If we want our citizens and our state to be competitive, we have to fully fund our schools,” said Bell. “Quinn has repeatedly said education is a priority to him, yet our schools have lost hundreds of millions of dollars since he became Governor.”

The budget also contains millions in new spending for programs that in many cases, even Quinn can’t say exactly what the money is going to.  In addition, despite the Governor’s claims that he vetoed wasteful spending, he only cut one capital project that wasn’t actually scheduled to take place during the budget year.

“All the Governor did was remove money from the budget that wasn’t even going to be spent,” said Bell. “It is unacceptable to take money from schools and important services while funding new pork projects for the Chicago area. This is why I’m running for State Representative. We must tell Quinn and the Chicago Democrats that enough is enough.”

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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)


Candidate Mike Bell Praises Route 29 Progress

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th District, spoke at a Project 29 meeting on Tuesday night, and praised the work done so far to complete the expansion on the corridor.

“A full, four-lane Route 29 from Springfield to Taylorville is almost a reality,” said Bell. “We’re already seeing new jobs being created, and businesses expanding because of this project.”

Ken Hart from the Taylorville Development Association also spoke at the meeting to provide an update on a planned new industrial park along the route. The plan is to attract new businesses to an area near the Taylorville Wal-Mart site.

In addition, Edinburg’s lone gas station is preparing to move to a much larger facility along Route 29’s future alignment around the town. The new station will be similar to many truck stops, including a housing a Subway restaurant. According to Bell, development along the new Edinburg alignment may also include an automobile dealership.

“The highway is catching on, they can see the pavement, and the businesses are coming,” said Bell. “This type of work shows how state investment can provide a major boost to the local economy.”

Bell has made economic development a cornerstone of his campaign for State Representative. He hopes to pursue similar projects across the district once elected.


“This is a perfect example of how properly focused state spending can benefit everyone,” said Bell. “Route 29 is providing a blueprint for growing jobs in the entire state. I will fight to shift precious state resources away from wasteful pork programs and into intelligent investments like this.”


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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)


Mike Bell Calls on Rep. Scherer to Honor her Promises

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th District, is urging his opponent, Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur), to honor her promises to the residents of Central Illinois. Scherer has continuously campaigned on a pledge to cut the salaries of lawmakers, including her own. Last week however, she voted to raise the pay for all Illinois legislators.

“The citizens of this district deserve for their representative to live up to her word,” said Bell. “But Sue keeps following a pattern of promising one thing to voters, then doing the exact opposite.”

This budget vote came just days after a similar move from Scherer. Despite campaigning to oppose an extension to the current income tax hike, Scherer voted for another budget that was based on extending the tax hike.

As for her most recent budget gaffe, Scherer was quoted in several media sources as saying that she didn’t know the pay-raise was in the budget plan when she voted for it.

“If that’s the case, then she cast a vote on one of the most important bills of the year without knowing what was in it. What other important bills did she vote on without reading?” asks Bell. “So either she doesn’t do her homework, or she hasn’t been honest with voters. Both are scary propositions indeed.”

Bell points out that Scherer began her political career by promising voters she would take on the Illinois political establishment and the status quo. Then she promptly began accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrats.

“Who else represents the political establishment and the status quo more than the Chicago Democratic Machine? They’ve been running this state into the ground for years. It certainly looks like Sue is just taking their money and their marching orders,” said Bell. “It’s time for a change. I take my directives from the citizens of Central Illinois, not Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn.”

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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)


Congressman Rodney Davis Endorses Mike Bell for State Representative

Taylorville- Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is joining with concerned citizens across Central Illinois to support Mike Bell (R-Edinburg) in his candidacy for the 96th House district.

“I believe that as a legislator, Mike Bell will be a true workhorse for the families and businesses of the 96th District,” said Davis. “He is responsive to constituents. He understands the issues. He has the background to represent our area.”

Congressman Davis cited a long working relationship with Bell on projects including the completion  of a 4-lane Illinois Route 29 from Springfield to Taylorville. He noted Bell’s leadership on the Project 29 Committee, and how he dedicated himself to see that project finally enter the final stages.

“He is a tireless advocate who I believe will work hard for the people of our area and will be a true voice for us at the State Capitol,” said Davis.

Davis also noted Bell’s experience as an educator with the Department of Corrections, and as a teacher in the Edinburg School District. Bell has made education a primary focus of his campaign, vowing to work to ensure that school funding is both adequate and fair. Davis and Bell also stand together in opposing any new income tax increases, and in their support to repair the economy the right way, by growing business and jobs.

“It is absolutely humbling to hear such kind words from a man I respect so much,” said Bell. “As a Congressman, Rodney Davis has been a true champion for the people of this great state. He is an inspiration to me, and I vow to follow his lead in helping to take Illinois back for the people.”

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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)


Candidate Mike Bell Calls on the General Assembly to Pass Back-pay Legislation

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th House district, is joining with dozens of state employees at the Illinois Capitol to call on lawmakers to finally pay wages that have been due since 2011.

“These hard-working employees have waited long enough, they put in their hours and yet they’ve been left hanging,” said Bell. “There simply is no excuse to let these overdue wages remain unpaid.”

Over $112 million is owed to Illinois workers across the state. 82% of that is owed to Corrections employees. Bell and the assembled employees are pushing for one of two measures to receive a vote. SB3657 would dedicate $1.2 billion in unexpected revenue to paying old bills. The back-pay represents the oldest bill in the comptroller’s hopper. The other, SB2603, would simply appropriate $112 million for backpay. That bill has been bottled up by Democrat leaders since last year.

“I’m a retired corrections employee, I’ve walked those lines, these people are my brothers and sisters and they deserve what is owed to them,” said Bell. “We can’t let the State of Illinois continue to operate as a deadbeat employer.”

Bell noted that he would prefer to see SB3657 move forward, because it would devote approximately $1.1 billion toward additional unpaid bills. When Governor Quinn and his Chicago Democrat allies imposed a 67% income tax hike in 2011, the additional revenue was supposed to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills. Despite $26 billion in new tax revenue, that total has only been reduced by a few billion.

“One of the biggest reasons I’m running for office is to bring fiscal responsibility to this state,” said Bell. “Billions have been wasted on unnecessary programs like Medicaid expansion and Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, which is currently the subject of 2 criminal probes.  It’s time for this state to finally learn to be responsible with the taxpayers’ money. We have to focus on our real priorities, paying our bills and funding our schools.”

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For more information:

Contact Mike Bell
302.751.BELL (2355)

Mike Bell Calls on Rep. Scherer to Stand Up to Budget Games

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th District, is calling on his opponent, Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur), to take a stand against budget games taking place in the Illinois Capitol.

“Sue says she’s against extending the income tax hike, but she voted for a budget based on extending that very hike,” said Bell. “The citizens of the 96th District don’t need a representative who says one thing and does another.”

House Speaker Mike Madigan has so far pushed over 70 budget bills through the Illinois House. Those bills are part of a budget plan that relies on extending the current income tax hike.

“Either she supports higher taxes, or she doesn’t,” said Bell. “It’s time for her to take a stand.”

Mike Bell has put in countless hours walking the 96th District, meeting with residents, and talking with them to find out where they stand. The overwhelming response was to let the tax hike expire.

“The people of Central Illinois want real tax relief, and I stand with them,” said Bell.

Democrat Representative Scherer is running her first reelection campaign. Once again, Speaker Madigan has directed tens of thousands of dollars into her campaign coffers, helping her to win a narrow victory in the Democratic primary.

“Maybe that’s what this is all about, earning the money that the Chicago Democrat Machine has been spending to fund her entire political career,” said Bell. “Central Illinois deserves a representative that answers to the voters, not to the Chicago political machine.”