Gaffney facing two GOP challengers
Updated: March 24, 2012 8:43AM
Three Republicans are vying to be the party’s state representative nominee in the 52nd district for the November general election.
David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, Danielle Rowe of Island Lake, and incumbent Kent Gaffney of Lake Barrington are on the ballot for the March 20 primary. Gaffney was appointed to the spot in July 2011, following the death of then-Rep. Mark Beaubien Jr.
Gaffney began his public service career working summers with the Illinois Senate. He graduated from Purdue with a degree in political science, and continued his studies as a graduate student at the University of Illinois in Springfield. After graduating from Purdue, Gaffney worked in the private sector in a number of positions, including for Smith Barney with the Chicago Board of Trade, and came back to public service in 1997 by taking a position on the House Republican staff. He became director of appropriations for the House Republican Caucus in 2001.
The incumbent cites his work on the Sears and CME legislation as his top accomplishments since succeeding Beaubien.
“I think we need to do whatever we can to keep businesses, especially large ones like Sears, in the state,” Gaffney said, adding that making sure Community Unit School District 300 was comfortable with the situation was his priority.
If elected, Gaffney said he plans to take on pension and Medicaid reform, as well as take on the state’s budget.
“We need to target how to reduce waste and inefficiencies in state government,” he said.
The Lake Barrington resident has been married to his wife, Elizabeth, for 13 years. They have two boys
McSweeney is taking another try in politics after losing to Melissa Bean in the Illinois 8th Congressional District race in 2006.
He received a degree in economics from Duke University and earned a Master of Business Administration from Duke Fuqua School of Business in 1988. David met his wife, Margaret, in New York City. They moved to Illinois and started their family. The couple has two daughters, Melissa, 18, and Katie, 16.
McSweeney’s interest in politics began at an early age as a volunteer for the 1980 Reagan campaign. He also interned with the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984. He was elected to the position of Palatine Township Trustee and has also served on the Finance Committee for former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. McSweeney has also served as a precinct captain in Barrington, Palatine and Schaumburg townships. Professionally, McSweeney worked as an investment banker for about 20 years for Chase and Bank of America and is now an independent financial consultant.
“Illinois has major fiscal problems,” McSweeney said. “We now have $8.3 billion of unpaid bills... I think someone with my business experience can change this.”
His main goals are to get control of state spending by making cuts, repealing last year’s tax increases and bringing reform to Springfield.
“I am committed to reform and I’m also committed to using my business experience to better Springfield,” he said.
Rowe, calls herself a member of the Tea Party and has 20 years of small business experience. She started working as a child for her family’s business CD Rowe Construction Company. After graduating high school, she went to work in the banking industry, where she worked in customer service until she was 24-years-old. Following her work in banking, she worked as an independent sales consultant. Currently, she works as a marketing executive for Surface Preparation Technologies in Chicago. In 2008, she ran for village trustee in Wauconda but was not elected.
“I want to put the power of the people and their money back where it belongs,” Rowe said. “It is time to take our state back. The only way we can move forward as a state and change business as usual in Springfield is when we elect leaders who are serious about putting their principles into policy action.”
Rowe is running on a platform she calls Rowe’s Roadmap for Economic Revitalization in Springfield.
“We need to repeal the Democrats’ tax hikes, reform public sector pensions, restore a business climate that respects the entrepreneur and brings jobs back to Illinois and reign in runaway state spending and borrowing,” she said.
The three will face off in the General Primary on March 20. Early voting begins Monday.