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Throwing my hat in the ring
by Megan Drilling

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The Democratic Party of Illinois opened the search for the new democratic candidate for lieutenant governor to all citizens of Illinois Feb. 27. I applied almost immediately. Similar to most Illinois Democrats, I was disappointed in our selections in the February primaries and lack of available information about the candidates for lieutenant governor when they were running.

I have the character and qualifications to be your next democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. In 2005, I started my own design/ build and facilities project management firm. My expertise is organization, efficiency and execution. I am a problem solver.

The recent recession and some legacy decisions have given our state a handful of problems that need immediate solving. Our first priorities should be the current multibillion dollar deficit, and our public schools 35th ranking out of the 50 states.

I think the current method to select our governor and lieutenant governor team needs to be retooled. It is important for the lieutenant governor candidate to work well with the governor. We need to utilize the position to further a joint message. It is a waste of the position, salary and budget if the lieutenant governor is not a top advisor to the governor. As lieutenant governor, I would do the retooling with the legislature to find a new solution.

I have been an advocate for healthcare reform since Congress was debating the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ( HIPPA ) of 1996. I continued my advocacy as a board member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women, 2004-05. I became the women's health task force leader, organizing a postpartum symposium and joining with the Campaign for Better Health Care to educate women on the existing discriminations in the current system. Sunday night, we finally passed comprehensive healthcare reform in the United States of America!

I have strong ties to many communities and an understanding of people from all walks of life. I come from a lower-middle-class, blue-collar family of incredibly hard workers. I put myself through college and paid off my credit card debt and student loans. I am a wife and mother of twin daughters. I know the effort involved in maintaining relationships with friends and family. As a small business owner, I understand the struggles of trying to bring in more business to cover the 130-percent increase in your insurance premium. I get it; I have the same struggles as most of our citizens.

In college, I learned the value of diversity and equality. To me, every human being is equal regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and economic situation. Everyone I meet receives my respect. It is my interactions with them and their choices that determine whether my respect increases or decreases.

As lieutenant governor, I have the enthusiasm and energy to work with Gov. Quinn to fix what is broken; to tweak what is going awry; and to support successful programs, laws and ideas.

Drilling is president and founder of the 4M group, a WBE-certified project management/consulting group; was art director for the film Hannah Free; National Organization for Women, Chicago Chapter Board Member, 2004, 2005; Women's Health Task Force Leader, 2004; and has an Illinois Institute of Technology Professional Bachelor degree in Architecture, 1994. She is also the cousin of Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim.

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