SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- Former Williamson County Commissioner Ron Ellis wasted no time announcing his candidacy for the new 117th Illinois House of Representatives district with a news conference Friday.
Ellis delivered a message of pragmatism and community effort behind his time as a county commissioner.
"For the last 12 years, I have had the honor of being a commissioner for Williamson County," Ellis said. "We've had a balanced budget for 12 consecutive years. In the state of Illinois, we need people in Springfield that knows what it means how to accomplish a balanced budget."
Ellis also talked about the success of funding Williamson County's pension liability during his time in office.
"Also for 12 years, we've had all of our pension payments," he said. "Our pension funds in Williamson County are in outstanding shape. We need somebody to go to Springfield and accomplish the same thing. I am that person."
Ellis said the combined efforts of Williamson County and surrounding communities has made Williamson County an anomaly when it comes to population numbers.
"In Williamson County, in the last 12 years I was county commissioner, from 2010 to 2020, we're the only county, Williamson is, in all of southern Illinois, to see population growth in that 12-year period. That, folks, is critical.
"I'm very proud of this, because this wasn't about Ron Ellis. This was about a group of people. This is about all the communities of Williamson County coming together and working for a common cause, and that common cause was economic growth."
He said in addition to population growth, positive numbers are seen in sales tax revenues.
"We all worked together as a united front to bring people and business into Williamson County, and that is why we had the economic growth, the population growth, and you have seen the sales tax revenues from each community in Williamson County grow over the last decade," Ellis said. "And I'm very proud to be a part of that."
He also criticized actions by the Illinois Legislature that he says will stifle businesses.
"For the last 37 years, I've been a certified public accountant. I also understand in the budget that was just passed by our state legislature they want to cut loopholes against business, against bringing business into the state," he said. "Folks, this is not how you grow a state."