From his website:

Bill Brady for Illinois Governor in 2006 legislator, family man, businessman, republican

State Senator Bill Brady is a mainstream conservative who has a solid reputation for budget expertise and for challenging the status quo in state government. He believes state government should be accountable for educating our children and maintaining such essential services such as transportation and law enforcement supported by a tax system that is fair and efficient. As a legislator over the last 12 years, Bill Brady has worked to increase accountability in our education system and to guarantee health insurance for retired teachers. He has sponsored reforms of workers’ compensation and medical malpractice laws, and he has championed reforms in the state’s insurance and financial industries that became a national model. Senator Brady has led the way in efforts to restore integrity to state government and to ensure the best use of the taxpayers’ dollars.

A lifelong resident of Bloomington, Senator Brady and his brothers have owned and operated real estate development, property management, mortgage, insurance, home construction and broadcasting businesses in Central Illinois for more than 25 years. His experience as a small business leader have taught Senator Brady about the fundamentals of job creation, the responsibilities of meeting a payroll and the negative effects that over-taxation and undue regulation can have in discouraging entrepreneurship and diminishing business growth.

Senator Brady has served in the Illinois Senate since 2002 and previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. He currently is the ranking Republican on the Senate Insurance Committee, the Republican leader on the Senate Pensions and Investments Committee, and a member of the Senate Revenue Committee. He is also a member of the board that governs the state’s CHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan) program.

Beyond his responsibilities as a businessman and legislator, Senator Brady also has been an active member of a number of business associations, including the Illinois Association of Realtors, the Bloomington-Normal Home Builders Association and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. His service has extended to several community organizations as well, including the Board of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Diocese of Peoria Catholic Charities Board, Westminster Retirement Village Board, the Heartland Community College Foundation Board, the Illinois State University Business Advisory Council, the Illinois High School Association and the United Way.

Senator Brady graduated from Central Catholic High School and Illinois Wesleyan University, both in Bloomington. He resides in Bloomington with his wife, Nancy, and their three children.

More About Bill He is a leader

Led GOP fight against state pension debacle and dedicated funds sweep by the Governor. Originated legislation to end “Pay to Play” practices in Springfield. He is genuine

Articulates what the GOP stands for in a straightforward, no nonsense way. He believes in less government

Willing to speak out when not popular thing to do. Outspoken opposition to Gov. Ryan’s “Illinois First” tax increases in 1999.

The Brady Contract with Illinois “A New Generation … A Real Commitment”

Why Should You Support Bill Brady? it's simple, really

Why Should You Support Bill Brady? it's simple, really

Gubernatorial candidates bicker in debate

By Deanna Bellandi The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Bill Brady and Jim Oberweis jabbed at one another over illegal immigration, government spending and more Thursday as the Republican candidates for governor debated for the last time before election day.

Brady accused Oberweis of talking tough on immigration but not lobbying for changes in the law.

“Where were you?” Brady asked. “I didn't see you down in Springfield. In fact, I haven't seen you in Springfield lobbying on one initiative.”

Later, Oberweis accused Brady, a state senator, of failing to stand up against business tax and fee increases sought by Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“Your record is, you didn't vote against those increases,” said Oberweis, an Aurora investment manager and dairy owner.

But the legislative records don't support Oberweis' claim.

The vote he cited took place early in the legislative process, long before any taxes or fees were involved. Once the bill was amended to include those increases, Brady voted against the proposal.

A third candidate, Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz, largely avoided the bickering but created confusion about his position on taxes.

Gidwitz said he is not taking a pledge against raising taxes if he is elected. But in his response to a questionnaire from The Associated Press last month, Gidwitz ruled out an increase.

“I will hold the line on the major taxes such as the income and sales taxes because I do not believe state taxes should be increased,” he said in the questionnaire.

The Republican front-runner, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, skipped the debate. She says she has spent enough time discussing her positions and is tired of listening to criticism from her opponents.

“I think it's pretty clear that every debate she's participated in has been a disaster for her,” Oberweis said.

- Associated Press writer Christopher Wills contributed to this story. 03/17/06


Bill Brady

Issue 1: Taxes: We must reduce the tax burden on Illinois citizens to give families greater financial security and to help business and industry grow and thrive in Illinois. I will not support any net increase or expansion of the state income tax and state sales tax. To do so would invite more inefficiencies and over-spending and, just as importantly, drive our tax-paying businesses and their jobs to other states, as the tax and fee increases imposed by the current administration have done. I will work with the General Assembly to repeal those taxes and fees. I have introduced comprehensive property tax relief legislation to provide relief from burdensome property taxes for Illinois residents. I expect that property tax relief to total $1 billion during the four years of a Brady administration; at the same time I have pledged to devote 51 percent of all natural revenue growth for education.

Issue 2: Job growth: Illinois has created an environment that exports jobs. The current administration's policies and unfair fee increases have driven jobs out of Illinois, severely dampening our economy and reducing state revenues. According to the federal government, Illinois has had a job growth rate of just four-tenths of a percent since January 2003. The current administration's policies have cost the state more than 250,000 jobs. Those jobs Illinois could have created would have generated a billion dollars in tax revenues, money that could have been used to fund government programs without borrowing and without mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren. I will cut taxes on individuals and businesses to create a business environment that fosters job creation and entrepreneurship and bring those jobs to Illinois.

Issue 3: Corruption: The culture of corruption that plagues government today is reprehensible. Our citizens deserve honest, trustworthy public officials. They deserve reforms that ensure their tax dollars are used for essential state programs, not as political rewards for campaign contributors. They must demand officials who uphold the law in word and deed. I have introduced legislation that will attack the “pay to play” practices of the current administration by imposing strict and reasonable limitations on all contributions to political campaigns. My proposal will remove an incentive for corruption by prohibiting all corporations and labor unions from making any political contributions while limiting individual contributions to $2,000 per candidate and political action committee contributions to $5,000.


Gov hopefuls woo conservatives

March 17, 2006

BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Reporter

Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Jim Oberweis and Bill Brady used the final TV debate Thursday night to battle for the support of conservative primary voters in a smiling, but often contentious, series of squabbles over immigration, taxes and experience.

“Bill, I'd like to know if you voted against those big spending increases that you would like to now roll back?” Oberweis asked Brady, accusing the state senator from Bloomington of voting against $2.2 billion in fee increases.

Brady countered, “For 12 years in the General Assembly, I have fought against tax increases. You don't have a record.”

When North Side businessman Ron Gidwitz interrupted to say he was consistent in fighting tax and fee increases on business, Brady said Gidwitz “did a good job,” adding, “I don't know where you were, Jim.”

Sponsored by WTTW-Channel 11 and the City Club of Chicago, the debate was the last among GOP gubernatorial candidates in Tuesday's primary. Front-runner Judy Baar Topinka opted out after participating in four others, and perennial candidate Andy Martin wasn't included.

The three candidates who did attend took a couple of shots at the absent front-runner when moderator Phil Ponce asked what they admired about the state treasurer.

“She's spontaneous,” Oberweis. said. “I think that's a great attribute when you're treasurer, maybe not quite so good when you're running for governor.”

Gidwitz said she did “a reasonably good job as treasurer” but said he was disappointed in her leadership as state GOP chairman in 2004.

“She's a nice lady,” he said. “She believes in building a stronger Illinois. Unfortunately, I don't believe that Judy's got the skill state to be the chief executive officer of this state.”

But the real clashes were all between Oberweis and Brady.

In one of the sharper exchanges, Oberweis said he attended last week's pro-immigrant march in downtown Chicago to “offer a reasoned response to some of the extremism that was being displayed.”

'You shouldn't be running'

When it was his turn, Brady took a dig at Oberweis, who drew fire for airing TV commercials during his failed U.S. Senate in which he flew over Soldier Field in a helicopter and claimed the number of illegal immigrants entering the country each week would fill the arena.

“I want to know what your reasoned response was,” Brady asked Oberweis. “I haven't heard one.”

Oberweis countered by saying he opposed allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay the in-state tuition rate for state colleges and universities and recognizing identification cards issued by the Mexican Embassy – two measures Brady supported.

“A lot of wrong responses, but what's reasoned, Jim?” Brady countered. “I haven't seen one proactive initiative. And you know what, my parents didn't raise me to hold children responsible for their parents' actions.”

Brady also hit Oberweis for a case in which two illegal immigrants threatened to file a complaint, accusing his dairy of hiring a janitorial firm that paid below the minimum wage. Oberweis said the two never worked for him but were hired by an employee of a subcontractor without authorization of superiors. He said the complaint was never filed

“You knew it was wrong,” he told Brady.

Smiling, Brady insisted, “Jim, I only know what I read in the paper.”

“Well, that's a shame,” Oberweis shot back. “If you only know what you read in the paper, you shouldn't be running for governor, Bill.”


State senator runs on conservative cred

March 12, 2006

BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Reporter

Bill Brady is a millionaire, comfortable in Ralph Lauren or Joseph Abboud suits and tasseled loafers. He likes to golf, have drinks and play cards with friends at the Bloomington Country Club.

But don't ask his wife if Brady is a “country club Republican.”

“He wasn't born into it,” Nancy Brady said. “He worked seven days a week, 12-hour days. . . . When they portray him as this country club affluent [guy], it's like they are missing a few pieces of the puzzle.”

Indeed, while the state senator from Bloomington is comfortable with the cocktails and 9-irons of the moderate GOP establishment, he fits just as easily in the church basements and hunting clubs of the party's conservative wing.

“Yes, I'm a fiscal conservative, but I'm not afraid to tell you I'm a social conservative, as well,” Brady told a crowd at a GOP dinner in Galesburg last month.

But Brady isn't nuts about the country club tag, either.

“I think you have business Republicans and then you have social Republicans. And I would be both.”

He insists he is the only candidate who can unite the fractious state GOP and win back the governor's office for Republicans. Other pieces he says he brings to the puzzle are his 25 years running family businesses, his 12 years in the state Legislature and his status as the only Downstater in the race.

Brady, 44, grew up in Bloomington, living a childhood he described as “pretty privileged.”

His father made enough money in the construction and lumber yard businesses to briefly retire at age 36 in 1977. Family vacations were spent in Europe or Florida.

But much of that changed by the 1980s. Brady's father had come out of retirement, but skyrocketing interest rates forced him to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code in 1985.

“Dad lost it all, virtually started over,” Brady said.

Brady helped his father rebuild. Nancy Brady went to work so they would have a regular paycheck, while her husband put his earnings back into the family businesses.

“The things he's gotten he worked hard for, he's earned,” said Nancy Brady, 46.

Today, Brady and his two brothers own controlling interest in businesses in the home construction, mortgage, real estate and related fields, plus a furniture store, two radio stations and an arena football team.

Brady said his net worth is between $4 million and $8 million.

Nancy Brady said her husband never forgot the tough times. He once made her take back a purse she had bought for herself.

“It was a pretty fancy purse,” she said. “He said, 'No, I'm to buy you those things. That should be a gift.'”

Asked about the story, Bill Brady said “I was going to buy her the dang purse.”

But Brady admits he's pretty tight with a buck.

“Oh, I'm pretty frugal,” he said.

And he's very conservative.

Brady opposes abortion and gay rights and supports gun owners' rights, silent prayer in schools and allowing local school boards to teach Creationism. But he rejects the notion that he is too conservative to win a general election.

“I've been able to get people who aren't as conservative as I am to support me because I don't scare 'em,” he said.


When he ran for Congress in 2000, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington had the support of U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

He also had a reputation among some fellow Republicans.

“He was kind of lazy,” said one GOP strategist. “He didn't work that hard. Now he is the opposite. He's working hard and aggressive.”

Brady insists the rap on his unsuccessful bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Ewing in 2000 is not true.

“Nothing farther from the truth,” he said. “We [campaigned] 24/7. . . . But I'm flattered that they think I'm putting so much into this.”

Brady is running hard this time around. He said he logged 100,000 campaign miles last year alone.

So far he has not cracked into the lead in any polls. But his supporters remain optimistic, citing his personable but principled style.

“He reminds me . . . of Jack Kennedy,” said Knox County Republican Chairman Marc Young. “He's young. He's Irish Catholic. And he's got the moral character of Ronald Reagan. He is the perfect candidate.”

Brady is also used to fighting the odds.

He took the plunge into politics in 1992, challenging incumbent GOP state Rep. Gordon Ropp . Brady beat him by eight votes out of 14,838 cast.

“He fought all the odds, and he did it,” his wife, Nancy Brady, said. “He worked hard.”

But Brady knows he needs more than looks and energy this time around.

While working the tables at a meeting of the Illinois Citizens for Life prayer breakfast last month, a woman wished him luck.

“I need more than luck,” Brady said.

“Prayers,” the woman offered.


Bill Brady is one of the few politicians to admit he likes fund-raising.

“I enjoy asking for money,” he said. “But I don't like how much campaigns cost.”

The Bloomington legislator and home builder compares it to closing a deal.

“I like to close,” Brady said. “I'm usually pretty good at it. . . . If I can close someone, it means they believe in me – whether it's selling 'em a house and closing 'em on it, selling 'em on a yard sign or a $5,000 contribution or $5.”

He's raised nearly $1.5 million since launching his GOP gubernatorial campaign last year. But so far, he's had his best luck closing the fund-raising deal within his own family and among people he knows from business circles.

With a net worth between $4 million and $8 million, Brady said he could self-finance his primary run, but so far he and his wife have only loaned or contributed $270,000 to his campaign. In addition, he took out a $250,000 loan for his political fund earlier this month.

All together, Brady, his wife, mother and two brothers, Robert and Edward Brady, are his biggest contributors, donating or loaning a combined $550,700.

He doesn't have a lot of big donors. Less than a third of the money he raised from others came in contributions of $10,000 or more.

Here are some of his top contributors:


The most frequent whispers about Bill Brady are that he can't win and that he's a spoiler.

Because the state senator moves so easily among Republican establishment types, some critics in the party's conservative wing insist he is really helping moderate GOP frontrunner Judy Baar Topinka by drawing votes away from fellow conservative Jim Oberweis.

Oberweis' camp fans the rumors at the same time that they disavow them.

“Were we to believe all the things we have heard from the field . . . one would think Brady is in this to play the spoiler on Topinka's behalf,” said Joe Weigand, Oberweis' campaign manager. “But I have no reason to believe that.”

Brady insists the money and time he has put into the race show he is not trying to pave the way for any other candidate.

“I'm not paving the way for anybody, except us,” Brady said. “I believe we've got a great shot at winning this.”

Brady points to his refusal to knuckle under to former Gov. George Ryan on Illinois FIRST spending as proof of his independence.

“Sometimes you need to stand up to say 'no' – even if it's a Republican governor,” Brady said.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Lunt Prussing, a Democrat who knew Brady from her days as a state legislator, said she's never heard any real negatives about him, calling him “just a perfectly respectable conservative Republican” – but she too questions his viability.

“I have never heard anything bad about him, but I just don't think he has made enough impact in his service in the House or the Senate to gain any statewide recognition,” she said.

Brady insists he is not the longshot everyone makes him out to be.

“Oh, I started off as 'Who the hell's Bill?' 'Hey, I like this guy.' 'Hey, this guy's a longshot.' 'Hey, he's a dark horse.' 'Hey, we're with you.'

“We're ahead of where we thought we'd be.”



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