Republican candidate Brady: Pro-life, educational choice
By Tom Dermody
For the Catholic Conference of Illinois
Asked to name his heroes in politics and public service, State Sen. Bill Brady listed Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and his parents, who “motivated me more than anybody to give back to the community.”
He then added another name to the list: Pope John Paul II.
“To some extent he was a political figure in cracking the communist wall . . . one of the greatest political figures in our lifetime,” said Brady, 49, of Bloomington in a recent interview with the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
Brady is one of five candidates for Illinois governor in the Nov. 2 election.
In late summer, four of the candidates ? Brady, the Republican nominee, Scott Lee Cohen (Independent), Lex Green (Libertarian), and Rich Whitney (Green) — completed brief questionnaires from the Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI) and agreed to follow-up interviews.
Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, who is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket, declined to take part in either the survey or interview.
Calling himself “pro-life,” Brady said he would “absolutely” support two measures backed by CCI ? The Ultrasound Opportunity Act and parental notification ? as well as increase support for adoption.
“Anything we can do to give individuals the greatest knowledge possible that would lead them to make as conscious a decision as possible about protecting human life, it is incumbent on us to do so,” said Brady, a real estate developer and home builder who has represented the state’s 44th Legislative District since 2002 and served in the Illinois House for eight years prior to that.
He pointed to his record of working “across party lines” in attempts to pass legislation offering tuition vouchers to parents of students in underperforming or overcrowded schools so they may choose a state-recognized non-public school.
“Parental choice in education is paramount to bringing the best educational opportunities to our children,” said Brady. He called fair educational choice a “social justice if not a civil rights issue” because of how crowded, underfunded public school systems impact minority and economically distressed populations.
Brady also opposes the establishment of civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois. “I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and should be maintained as such,” he said.
But he parted ways with CCI on the issue of the death penalty, opposing its abolition in the state.
“I must say that this is a difficult decision for me,” said Brady. Standing between someone and their death would be “the most difficult thing ever to observe as governor,” he said, noting that the death penalty should be reserved “for the most heinous crimes with appropriate safeguards and protections.”
Brady opted not to specifically answer if he would support or oppose legislation in Illinois similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
“I support Arizona’s right to do what they think best and best serves their state,” said Brady, adding that “in Illinois we have a different situation.”
“We need a federal solution that will bring about meaningful immigration reform” and allow more legal immigration, said Brady. “I thank God I live in a country where people are willing to risk their lives to get to, but I believe we have to preserve our borders for the security of our country and our citizens, particularly in these times.”
Despite its present economic problems, Brady said he looks at Illinois “like a glass that’s over half full.” While the state is rich with agricultural, educational, medical, and geographical resources, “our leaders have failed to create an environment that allows families to create a livelihood through the use of these resources.”
“Yes, we have our political divisions that have to be overcome,” said Brady. “We have our record deficits and debt. But I don’t think there is a state with more opportunity to change the lives of the people and I don’t think there is a time better to do it than today.”
Brady is a graduate of Central Catholic High School and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. He serves on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria. He and his wife Nancy have three children.