|By Brian Brueggemann, Belleville News-Democrat|
Eggers, a Republican from
Eggers made the remarks during a BND interview about her candidacy. At one point, she was asked whether she would sign up for a pension -- a perk that a few candidates and lawmakers have declined.
Eggers said she would not accept the pension because the state is broke, but then added, "Actually, I'm in it for the insurance, health insurance. I'm an independent business owner and I've got a daughter that's got, one that's got kidney issues and one that's got breathing issues, and I've got an insurance rider for her kidneys, even though we're not supposed to be, what is it called, pre-existing."
She continued, "So, No. 1, the reason why I did it was for the health care, because it has pretty good health care. That's my honest answer."
Eggers' campaign, when asked later in the week whether she wished to clarify her remarks, said she will not accept the insurance if elected.
She said in the prepared statement: "As an
In the earlier interview, Eggers said she would not accept a pension, because of the state's financial problems: "If we're broke, we're broke."
She then explained that she would take the health insurance "because every family nowadays makes a decision between, if their husband works and their wife works, who has a better insurance plan. That's a no-brainer. That's what I would do, too."
But then she backpedaled some: "Actually, we've got a good health care plan now, so ... I might not even do that, too. So, until I get there and take a look at it, I can't tell you."
Eggers also seemed to shift her position on whether she would take the state-funded pension available to lawmakers: "Now, if we start to pay off all of our debt, and we start to get jobs here, and we start to grow the economy like the way I want to, and if we're doing well, then a rising tide raises all ships, and then, you know, we're back in a land of everybody prospering, and that would be wonderful for this area, right? Yes."
When asked whether that meant she'd take the pension if the state's finances improved, she replied: "If we weren't broke, it'd be a different story, but we're broke, so no. You see what I'm saying? You're asking questions based on a what-if world."
Eggers is running against appointed state Rep.
Costello, when asked for comment on Eggers' remarks, said: "Obviously, everybody does a job for a different reason. I'm in this job to help the people of
Costello has signed up for both the legislative pension and the health insurance.
A lawmaker can earn a pension by serving just four years. The maximum annual pension is 85 percent of salary, which requires 20 years of service. The salary for House members is about
State lawmakers used to get free health insurance for themselves if they retired after just four years in office, though they still had to pay premiums for dependent coverage. But under a new law that took effect in June, retired lawmakers will have to start paying premiums for health insurance. The premiums will be determined by a state agency, using a formula based on the retirees' pensions.
Eggers is a private business consultant. Her husband,
In at least two campaign mailers and one flier, Eggers boasts of being a lifelong resident of
But property records suggest Eggers had resided in
In a property deed from
Property records also show she sold a home in
Voting records show that she voted in
When asked during the interview about her assertion of being a lifelong
When asked about having resided in
She added, "I lived in
"I'm a lifelong. I'm going to live my life here; my life has been longer here in
By law, a state representative is required to be a resident of the district he or she represents for at least two years before being elected or appointed. Eggers meets that requirement.
Costello said Eggers having resided in
"This is more about being honest with people and honest with the voters," he said. "It brings into question integrity in general."
The Costello-Eggers race has drawn significant interest from the Democratic and Republican parties of
Some political insiders have said they expected spending in the race to approach
(c)2012 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)
Visit the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.) at www.bnd.com
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|