State Representative Chad Hays Announces He will Not Seek Reelection in 2018

State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced today that he will not seek reelection in 2018. He has served in the General Assembly since December of 2010 and as Assistant Minority Leader since 2013.

“Serving in the Illinois House of Representatives has been a supreme honor and a tremendous privilege,” said Hays. “I have been a passionate advocate for Vermilion and Champaign Counties and the East Central Illinois area, and sincerely appreciate the opportunity to temporarily occupy the seat representing the 104th District.”

Hays pointed to a changing political climate in Springfield as a contributing factor of his upcoming exit from State politics. “The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive,” said Hays. “Legislators who care deeply and have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what is right regardless of consequences are increasingly silenced. I believe we are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.”

Since taking office, Hays has been a leader in supporting job creation and economic growth, not just in Central Illinois, but across the state. Last year he was recognized for that commitment when he was named Legislator of the Year at the State’s annual Conference on Tourism. He has also been named a Guardian of Small Business by the Illinois branch of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Last year, proving that it is possible for a lawmaker to be both pro-business and pro-environment, Hays received the Perfect Score Award from the Illinois Environmental Council for his votes on bills affecting the environment and water quality.

In recognition of leadership shown in the General Assembly, in 2013 Hays was named to the House Republican Leadership Team under House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). As Assistant Minority Leader, Hays has had a key role in helping to set the Republican agenda for each session year. Similarly, since 2015 Hays has also served on the powerful House Executive Committee, which considers the State’s most important and often controversial bills. “It has been a pleasure serving with Jim Durkin on the House Republican Leadership Team,” Hays said. “Jim Durkin is a rare leader who not only says he wants to know your perspective, but he hears it even when it makes his job more difficult. He’s an incredibly good man who, in today’s toxic political environment, is handcuffed in an impossible dynamic. His confidence in my ability to lead and serve has meant a great deal to me.”

While Hays has passed dozens of bills during his time in the General Assembly, he points to landmark insurance network adequacy legislation from earlier this year as one of his greatest achievement as a lawmaker. Hays was the leading Republican sponsor of HB 311, which offers significant protections and remedies for Illinoisans who rely on increasingly-narrow preferred provider networks for their health insurance. “The health insurance issues we face here in East Central Illinois are very real,” said Hays. “It is not unusual for patients to drive an hour or longer to an appointment, and I hear all too often from constituents who believe they are scheduling appointments with ‘in-network’ physicians and specialists only to learn when they arrive for an appointment that the professional is no longer on their insurance plan. The provisions in HB 311 will go far in establishing new standards to protect consumers.”

While he has enjoyed his time in the General Assembly, Hays admits that escalating tension between the Speaker of the House and the Governor is a contributing factor in his decision to leave the General Assembly at the conclusion of this current term. “Our State faces financial calamity due to years of spending well beyond its means and the refusal of current leaders to put petty, partisan differences aside for the better good,” Hays said. “The current dislike and distrust between the Governor and the Speaker has paralyzed government in Illinois. Ego, money and power eclipse the desire of well-meaning and honest public servants, and blame, press conferences and talking points have replaced governing. Sadly, voices of moderation and reason are increasingly elbowed out by well-financed fringe elements.”

Hays continued, “The rules of engagement of the House of Representatives are the conduit to one man unilaterally controlling the legislative process in a total and complete end run around democracy,” Hays said. “The stifling nature of the House Rules render ‘we the people’ void of a voice or even a venue from which to be heard. We have become a remote outpost in relation to what our Founding Fathers had in mind.”
  • He served for the right reasons 
  • He fearlessly advocated on behalf of his District 
  • He spoke the truth 
“These are three things I wrote on a piece of paper upon being sworn into the Illinois General Assembly in 2010,” said Hays. “Others will determine if that mantra was realized. I tried my best.”

Hays, a native of Vermilion County, served as the Mayor of his hometown of Catlin for two terms before his election to the General Assembly. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for many community based organizations including Danville Area Economic Development Corporation (Vermilion Advantage), Danville Rotary Club, and the Vermilion Area Community Health Center.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have been able to serve as a public official in Springfield for the last seven years, and at this point I do plan to serve out the remainder of my current term,” said Hays. “Thereafter, I look forward to enjoying time with my wife, children and grandchildren while I continue to strive to make East Central Illinois a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

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