Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holbrook, Whelan Face off for Seat in 113th District

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holbrook, Whelan Face off for Seat in 113th District

Article excerpt

A spirited contest has developed for the Nov. 5 election for state representative in the 113th District between Democratic incumbent Thomas Holbrook and Republican challenger Paul Whelan, both of Belleville.

The district is diverse, comprising Belleville, Caseyville, Fairmont City, the city of Madison, most of Granite City and neighboring unincorporated areas.

Holbrook, 46, is completing his first term. He says the district's number one issue is crime. "We need to expand the truth-in-sentencing legislation that we started on last session," he said. "Right now, many criminals are getting out after serving about one-third of their sentences." A law that recently took effect requires murderers to serve all the time a judge gives them and people convicted of about 15 other categories of violent crime to do 85 percent, but Holbrook favors expanding that to include all violent felonies. Holbrook's second big priority is education, he said. "We have to get a handle on education funding in Illinois." The state's financial support of public schools has slipped to 32 percent in the last fiscal year, compared with 50 percent or more in the 1970s, Holbrook explained. "That's putting an overburden on property-tax payers. I think we have to come up with some resolution to that." Holbrook suggested earmarking half of all "new growth" money - that is any increase in sales tax and state income tax revenue - for education. The earmarked money should be a clear-cut supplement to the state's education formula, he said, "not the `smoke and mirrors thing' that was done with the state lottery" in which lottery taxes earmarked for education simply filled the gap caused by reduced funding from other sources. Holbrook is married and has one daughter. He was on the St. Clair County Board for 14 years. He has a bachelor's degree in social science from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and has been employed by the Ethyl Corporation in Sauget for 24 years. …

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