MACOMB — The list of declared candidates for Illinois governor in the 2018 election continues to grow.
Incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner is challenged by Republican media producer William J. Kelly. Big money and high profile Democrat candidates such as Chris Kennedy, J.B. Pritzker are pitted against candidates such as state Sen. Daniel Biss, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, civil engineer Alex Paterakis and Madison County Regional Superintendent Bob Daiber.
Chicago Reader recently referred to Daiber as a “dark-horse candidate.” One could argue there are several dark-horses running out of the Democratic gate with 11 months until the March 20, 2018, primary. But there are a few things about Daiber that may appeal to downstate voters. Some of the initial aspects he touts include ownership and operation of a certified centennial farm, over 30 years spent as an education professional and his involvement as regional superintendent of Madison County.
A main focus for Daiber in education is funding.

Public Education
“Public education was one of the principles that really founded our country,” Daiber told the Voice in a recent interview. “One of the things that’s happening in public education in rural parts of the state as well as in the city is that the public school system is in trouble. You hear about the entities that want to create charter schools because they think they can be better for their children than public schools. I don’t share that viewpoint. If we put our resources into public education and provide school teachers with the supports to improve our system for all kids — not just a select group that are awarded an opportunity to attend an alternative form of education. We need to rebuild public schools for the good of all.”
Improvement of instruction has also been a priority for Daiber throughout his educational career. He also stated that how schools approach education has changed often to respond to the students’ family structure at home. Support systems given to teachers today are different from those provided to teachers 30-40 years ago.
“Many of our children need to have more assistance in becoming more proficient readers, greater assistance one-on-one in learning because of the home life in which they live. Since 2011 until this year, we were pro-rating the funds going to schools. It was 89 percent for three years, went up to 92 percent for three years and in this last budget we are funding general state aid fully. We have to start there. And we have to look equitably at how we fund the needs of schools through the categorical funding because we have a disparity.”
Daiber highlighted transportation as a big issue for rural school districts. In urban areas, special education may be a big issue. The way money is awarded to schools needs to be examined, and how schools are allowed to utilize the reimbursements also needs to be looked at, according to Daiber.
“Hopefully with the revenue that’s just come into the state as of Tuesday, some of these categoricals will receive payments. My (regional superintendent) office, for example, has not received any state funds for our any of our programs that are granted this year that we are providing services for. I personally know about this, because we are looking at FY18 grants. We haven’t received some FY16 money let alone FY17 money.”
One of the 16 school districts that recently filed suit against the state to demand reimbursement of categorical funds is within Daiber’s regional office of education in Madison County.
“It’s an injustice by the state that they provide services without receiving reimbursement. We have to do a better job. We can’t have mandates and expectations of any provider of services and not be funding it. I don’t understand how the state thinks they can go on and do business the way they’re doing it. The reputation of the state of Illinois is tanking. I give local government a great deal of credit. It’s not operating as the state is. If it did, we’d have total chaos.”
Daiber said 16,000 students left Illinois to pursue higher education. There’s a possibility those people may not return to Illinois where they will “start a family; be a home owner, pursue a career or pay taxes to the state.”
“It’s a brain drain. We are losing all these people who can contribute to the state. We need to go back and look at these budgets to higher ed, and we have to get back on track to build a strong university system again with no question. What’s happening at Western is impacting here. What’s happening at Eastern is impacting Charleston…Carbondale…Chicago State…these institutions are prime economic engines in those areas of the state.”

What is it going to take?
When asked where the problem lies amongst the governor’s administration and the legislature, Daiber said there is “plenty of blame that can be spread in a lot of places.”
“I think compromise is the issue at stake here. I think it’s something that’s failed to happen for two years. I don’t like to put the whole blame on the governor, but realistically he came in with the Turnaround Agenda, and he’s dug in. Residents of western Illinois are sort of held hostage. I don’t think that’s the way you govern. He would’ve been more successful if he came in, found common ground with Democratic leadership, passed a budget, and then said, ‘Look, I want to rebuild the business climate in Illinois, here are some of my agenda items. What can we work on here?’ That’s not what’s happened here.”

Commodities and revenue generation
Daiber views the crops that are being planted now as being new revenue for the state of Illinois in October. He also looks at minerals and natural resources through commodity production.
“Illinois is a rich state. It has the financial capacity to be prosperous. The agricultural industry base isn’t talked about a lot in Illinois, but it’s the meat and potatoes of the economy. All the businesses and industries in Illinois are solid because of agriculture. I have been involved in agriculture all my life. With being governor, I think it’s just an advantage for that business group.”
For more information on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber, go online to www.Bob
Daiber.com.
Reach Jared DuBach by email at jdubach@mcdonoughvoice.com, or follow him on Twitter@Jared DuBach.