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Kendall Republican Wheeler jumps into 50th House race

Another Kendall County Republican has formally joined the race to succeed retiring state legislator Kay Hatcher in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Sunday night, Oswego businessman and former Kendall County GOP Chairman Keith Wheeler told a crowd of supporters that he will run to win the Republican nomination in Illinois’ 50th House District in 2014.

“I’ve always looked at what could be in Illinois,” said Wheeler, speaking with The Kane County Chronicle on Monday. “We have just tremendous, fantastic resources, that anyone would want to take advantage of.

“But with how this state treats its business community, and its employers, you can see we’re not doing something right.”

In jumping into the race, Wheeler joins a field of two other declared candidates.

Beth Goncher of Aurora, who has served for 12 years as legislative aide to retiring state Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, in the 49th House District, has declared her intent to run.

Julie Cosimo of Oswego, who works as an administrator at Benedictine University in Lisle, also has announced her candidacy.

All will run for the open seat in the 50th District, which covers much of southwest Kane County, as well as northern Kendall County, after state Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, announced she would not seek re-election.

Wheeler challenged Hatcher in the Republican primary in the 50th District in 2010.

Wheeler, 46, operates Responsive Network Services, an IT consulting firm that he founded in 1991. 

He has been involved in politics for years, working through the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Republican Party. He served as Kendall County Republican Party Chairman in 2008.

Within his community, he serves on the Bristol Township Board of Trustees and on an advisory subcommittee at Oswego School District 308.

He is married with three children.

He said he believes the top priority of state lawmakers should be to make the state more business-friendly, by reducing “suffocating” taxes and regulations.

Wheeler said he also believes a key to the state’s economic future will be how it handles the continued problems surrounding Illinois’ public worker pension programs.

He favors moving the pension system to a defined contribution system, similar to the 401(k) programs used in much of the private sector.

The primary election will be in March 2014.

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