Hays cites 'untenable' situation in Legislature, won't run in 2018
A broken Legislature has not brought good luck for Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin), who announced on July 2 that the ongoing discord is at least partly to blame for his decision not to run for re-election in 2018.
“The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive,” Hays said, according to a statement from the General Assembly. “Legislators who care deeply and have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what is right regardless of consequences are increasingly silenced. I believe we are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.”
Hays has represented the 104th District since 2010, focusing on job creation and economic growth in Central Illinois and elsewhere, the statement said. In 2016, the Illinois Conference on Tourism named him "Legislator of the Year." The Illinois branch of the National Federation of Independent Business has also named him a "Guardian of Small Business," and Hays received the "Perfect Score Award" from the Illinois Environmental Council for his votes on bills affecting the environment and water quality.
Hays cited House Bill 311 as his crowning achievement, as it created the single-payer health care system in Illinois.
“The health insurance issues we face here in East Central Illinois are very real,” Hays said, according to the press release. “It is not unusual for patients to drive an hour or longer to an appointment, and I hear all too often from constituents who believe they are scheduling appointments with ‘in-network’ physicians and specialists only to learn when they arrive for an appointment that the professional is no longer on their insurance plan.”
Hays was a member of the House Republican Leadership Team under Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). In 2015, he began working with the House Executive Committee on considering the state’s most important and often controversial bills.
“It has been a pleasure serving with Jim Durkin on the House Republican Leadership Team,” Hays said in the statement. “Jim Durkin is a rare leader who not only says he wants to know your perspective, but he hears it even when it makes his job more difficult. He’s an incredibly good man who, in today’s toxic political environment, is handcuffed in an impossible dynamic. His confidence in my ability to lead and serve has meant a great deal to me.”
Hays said that although he will devote his energies elsewhere, he is still concerned about Illinois' financial health and the problems that created the situation.
“Our state faces financial calamity due to years of spending well beyond its means and the refusal of current leaders to put petty, partisan differences aside for the better good,” Hays said in the statement. “The current dislike and distrust between the Governor and the Speaker has paralyzed government in Illinois. Ego, money and power eclipse the desire of well-meaning and honest public servants, and blame, press conferences and talking points have replaced governing. Sadly, voices of moderation and reason are increasingly elbowed out by well-financed fringe elements.”
Still, he said overall he is glad to have had the chance to work in the Legislature.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have been able to serve as a public official in Springfield for the last seven years, and at this point I do plan to serve out the remainder of my current term,” Hays said in the statement. “Thereafter, I look forward to enjoying time with my wife, children and grandchildren while I continue to strive to make East Central Illinois a better place to live, work and raise a family.”