A Plainfield man says he’s considering an independent bid for the seat, in part because he thinks the party candidates currently running are too inclined vote along party lines.
Mark A. Nelson, 39, said Friday he believes he’s like a lot of average people in being frustrated by partisan politics, and that his willingness to vote with Republicans on some issues and Democrats on others is what voters want to see their elected officials do.
“These days, if you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ on your lapel, you vote that way,” said Nelson, who voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election and for George W. Bush in the two elections prior to that. “I think it’s OK to disagree, to have a conversation where you listen to different views.”
While he’s not made a final decision to run – he’ll do so in early April – he said he's about 80 percent certain he will.
If he does, he will face off against Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Shorewood, Will County's regional superintendent of schools, and one of four men seeking the Republican nomination in the March 20 primary: Plainfield Village Trustee , Shorewood Village Trustee , Oswego Village Trustee and Will County Board member , of Plainfield.
His first promise, he said, is to only accept campaign donations from individuals; contributions from groups will be returned, he said.
“They don’t give you money just to give you money,” Nelson said. “They expect something in return.”
Nelson, the married father of two girls, ages 3 and 5, grew up in south suburban Park Forest and Richton Park, the son of a single mother who supported them as a school teacher. He attended Northern Illinois University, spent 16 years in corporate employment recruiting, and now owns a consulting firm that “presents human capital management solutions to area businesses.”
Nelson said that philosophically, he is fiscally conservative and socially progressive.
He supports rolling back the income tax increase pushed through by Gov. Pat Quinn, and favors a flat tax system similar to what’s being rolled out in Iowa, in which taxes are gradually increased for the state's wealthier residents, he said. He does not believe that someone earning a six-figure income or more will make business or hiring decisions based on his or her having to pay an additional 1 or 2 percent more in income tax, he said.
He does, however, support targeting education toward those trades in which jobs are going unfilled, could support some school district consolidation if it does not adversely affect student education and advocates same-sex civil unions. He said he’s “evolving” in his possible support of gay marriage.
As for his lack of political experience, Nelson said never having held an elected office is “more of a benefit.”
“I’m not overwhelmed by something like that,” he said. “I’m hoping by (being independent), knock on wood, I can show how things could be.”