This time around the Republicans have nominated state senator Bill Brady out of Bloomington. Where to start? He's not only against gay marriage, he proposed a constitutional amendment to ban it, and civil unions too. He voted against a senate bill that would permit research using human embryonic stem cells. He's OK with creationism being taught in public schools. He's against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. He wants to roll back the state minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to the federal level of $7.25—and in general he thinks the minimum wage is an unwarranted intrusion into free markets that will cause employers to send jobs out of state. In 2005 he voted against FamilyCare and KidCare, which provided medical care for children of working-class families, on the grounds that "it's the definition of welfare. It's government assistance. I want everyone to have access to quality health care, and I think they can get it by providing for themselves and by the state helping to bring in well-paying jobs."
As Daily Southtown columnist Kristen McQueary wisecracked then: "Good luck on that one."
So yeah, you get it: he's a free-market zealot and far-right social conservative. But he's also a millionaire developer who's made big bucks overseeing Brady Homes, a business his father started. Back in 2003 he cut a deal with the city of Champaign to build a 300-unit subdivision out by the intersection of I-57 and Curtis Road. The city hoped the subdivision would lead to further development near the intersection. But Brady underestimated what the project would cost, David Heinzmann and Rick Pearson wrote in a Chicago Tribune story this May that looked back at the deal. When proper bids were in, Brady's share of the cost had grown by more than $1 million, "and he balked at doing the work without getting more money from taxpayers," they wrote. "We made a deal with Brady, in which we were capping our investment at a [certain] level," Bruce Knight, Champaign's planning director, told the Tribune reporters. "More money from taxpayers was not 'justifiable.'"
The deal died, and the land remains vacant.
Oh, that's perfect. Working-class kids getting health care, that's welfare. Working-class folks getting a decent wage, that's an unwarranted government intrusion into the free market. Yet when he was looking to build his homes out by the highway, Brady had his hand out for all the taxpayer cash he could get.