Bernard Schoenburg: Davis won’t be ‘boxed in’ on Medicare

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Democrats backing DAVID GILL of Bloomington for the U.S. House in the new 13th Congressional District have been saying recently that RODNEY DAVIS of Taylorville, the GOP candidate, supports the proposed budget plan of U.S. Rep. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis.

While Davis has told me in the past that he likes “a lot of things that have been proposed in Washington, the Ryan budget included,” he’s also made it clear he wasn’t talking about all specifics of that plan.

In a meeting I had with Davis last week, I asked about the Medicare part of the proposal, which seems to be a political flashpoint. After the GOP-dominated House passed the plan in March, a New York Times article reported that in Ryan’s budget, Medicare would be turned into a subsidized set of private insurance plans, with the option of buying into the existing fee-for-service program.

“The annual growth of those subsidies would be capped just above economic growth, well below the current health-care inflation rate,” the story says.

“I have never said that I support the Ryan budget in its entirety at all,” Davis said, adding that it has “some laudable goals that I hope … when I’m elected to be able to address.”

“Medicare right now is going to go broke, so what we have to do is find some ways to ensure that our overall health-care delivery system is more cost-effective for all Americans.”

When asked if he liked the Medicare part of the Ryan plan, Davis said, “I’m not committing to any part of any plan that’s out there. I’m not going to box myself into a corner and get lumped into what my opponent’s trying to do, which is to demonize me by associating me with somebody who they think is going to be a political issue.”

He added, “I can’t wait to work with Paul Ryan and I can’t wait to work with NANCY PELOSI and all the others who are going to have a say in how we actually preserve and protect Medicare as we know it, because right now, those that have been there haven’t done a good job of that.”

I found that interesting, because Davis has used the name of Pelosi, the Californian who leads House Democrats, as a way to dig at his Democratic opponent.

“I want to work with everybody who’s going to be out there, Democrats and Republicans, to get things done,” Davis said.

Not very specific? Well, said Davis, “We’re going to have forums and we’re going to talk specifics,” so more could come in the next three months.

No forums among Davis, Gill and the independent in the race, JOHN HARTMAN of Edwardsville, have been set.

Checking on polls

Meanwhile, Gill’s shop last week released a poll conducted Aug. 4-7 for the campaign by Victoria Research and Consulting of Takoma Park, Md. It involved 400 likely voters, and an initial head-to-head was reported at 32 percent for Gill, 27 percent for Davis and 9 percent for Hartman. With leaners, it was Gill 36, Davis 30 and Hartman 9.

“I’m frankly not shocked the poll that he paid for showed him in the lead,” Davis said.

Another poll, in the new 48th state Senate District, showed an early advantage for Decatur Mayor MIKE McELROY, the Republican, over Macoupin County Board Chairman ANDY MANAR, the Democrat.

The poll was done for the state Senate GOP campaign operation by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va. It has only 300 people interviewed, with a margin of error of more than 5.6 percentage points. According to McElroy campaign manager HELEN ALBERT, it was done July 10-11, and had a generic Republican up 42-31 over a generic Democrat; Republican MITT ROMNEY up 47-40 over President BARACK OBAMA; and McElroy up 43-30 over Manar in an initial test. Obama won the same area 54-45 in the 2008 election, Senate campaign folks say.

Manar responded that he’s said all along the new 48th is a swing district. He said his own campaign is “robust,” and characterized the leaking of the poll numbers as being the kind of thing a “nonexistent” campaign does for a boost.

“You cook up a poll and you shop it around to people,” Manar said.

I have seen Manar and McElroy at separate Springfield events.

Manar, by the way, is getting some campaign help from Attorney General LISA MADIGAN.

Tuesday — the evening before Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair — Madigan is headlining a $25-per-person fundraiser for Manar from 5 to 7 p.m. at Stonegate Farm, 4491 Old Chatham Road.

Manar is a former mayor of Bunker Hill and a former chief of staff to Senate President JOHN CULLERTON, D-Chicago.

“She’s a personal friend of mine,” Manar said of Madigan, saying she was a new member of the state Senate when he was a new staffer there.

“Her children and my children are the same age,” Manar said. “We stay in touch on a regular basis. She offered to help me out. … I think she’s an asset to the state of Illinois as the attorney general.

“I’ve consistently said that if a legislator’s going to be effective … they have to be able to bridge divides in the state, build coalitions, and that’s what I plan to do. I don’t for a second think that you can get anything done in the state Senate without being able to reach across party lines and reach across geographic lines.”

McElroy recently had a statewide officeholder’s aid as well, with Treasurer DAN RUTHERFORD, a Chenoa Republican, helping raise about $7,500 at a $40-per-person fundraiser Aug. 2 in Carlinville, Albert said.


Condolences to NICK STOUTAMYER, member of the Springfield School Board, and his family on the death last weekend of his father, HARRY STOUTAMYER SR., in Springfield. He was 76, and encountered complications after a fall led to surgery.

For 22 years, the elder Stoutamyer was with the Springfield police, retiring in 1986 as sergeant.

“His claim to fame was crime prevention,” his son said. A 1984 newspaper story noted not only that Harry was president of the Illinois Crime Prevention Officers Association, but was prevention officer of the year and had been on the task force that developed prevention training guidelines for the FBI.

“He taught me more about crime prevention, and put me on the path to where I am today, than probably anybody,” said Sangamon County Sheriff NEIL WILLIAMSON, who had worked for Stoutamyer on the Springfield force. “Every time I saw him, I thanked him for being (my) mentor.”

“He was tons of fun,” Nick Stoutamyer said, saying his father’s sports exploits are still in evidence in the Lanphier High trophy case. “He loved to watch all his grandkids play their sports.”

Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1540 or follow him via His email address is