by Carrie Bradon, WIll County Gazette
Campaign finance records have shown that more than 60 sitting state lawmakers have been given nearly $15 million by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), a fact that infuriates Alyssia Benford.
“I don’t think political donations like this should be allowed,” Benford, the Republican candidate for the 98th District House seat, told the Will County Gazette. “Why do you need that much money for a state representative race? There are a lot of charities in my district that could use that money to help people in our district.”
Benford’s opponent, incumbent state Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), is one of the lawmakers who has received funding from Madigan.
“My opponent, Natalie Manley made the top 10 list of candidates receiving money,” Benford said. “Madigan recently gave her another $150,000 to $200,000, so now she has over $700,000 in her campaign account.”
Benford is frustrated by the fact that Manley has been running her campaign with such a large budget and that she has, essentially, been paid off by Madigan.
“During the last election cycle, she was out speaking … at an event and she said, ‘Mike Madigan will always be the speaker of the House and I will always vote for him,'” Benford said. “She has voted for him as speaker, each time. They are buying votes.”
Benford is opposed to political donations of this type and believes them to be unfair as they are making it incredibly challenging for individuals who are not career politicians to enter the political scene.
“How can a single parent and entrepreneur such as myself run for office to represent the people in my district when someone has $700,000 in lies waiting to attack,” Benford said. “I challenge Manley to donate that money to charity and run her campaign utilizing her voting record. She can’t because she does not vote based on the needs of our district.”
In this election, Benford seeks to earn, not buy, the votes of her constituents and is urging other candidates to do the same.
“It is time for a change in Springfield,” Benford said. “A vote for Manley is a vote for Madigan. Let’s send a strong message to Springfield, that our vote cannot be purchased; it has to be earned.”
The 98th District covers portions of Bolingbrook, Crest Hill and Joliet.