District 115 candidates voice stances: Bill Kilquist

By Matt Daray

Democrat Bill Kilquist is one of the two candidates seeking the nomination for the 115 District seat in the Illinois House of RepresentativesV.

As a former sheriff and police officer, Kilquist has strong opinions on the law and public safety in the district. He earned a degree from SIU before he joined the Carbondale Police Department in 1971.

He left the Carbondale department with the rank of detective a decade later.


In 1982, Kilquist was elected sheriff of Jackson County running as a Democrat.

While serving as sheriff, the most notable cases Kilquist was involved in were John Paul Phillips and Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, two serial killers with more than 18 combined murders between them.

On the subject of fracking, Kilquist said he still has unanswered questions and wants more information on the subject before he makes a decision. He said he is in favor of long-term sustainable jobs for the area and fracking might bring those to southern Illinois.


Kilquist said he does not have an issue with medical marijuana use but opposes recreational use and said he needs more information on why legalization would be beneficial. Kilquist thinks law enforcement should focus on other drugs because their usage is increasing.

“Our main focus needs to be on the drugs at hand right now which are your methamphetamines, your crack cocaine and your heroin,” he said. “Heroin has taken a foothold like I have never seen and I think that’s what we need to be focusing our attention on.”

Small business/ local economy


The main issues Kilquist hears from locals, concerns jobs, pensions and taxes. He said the 115th District has a lot to offer and keeping local labor is important.

“Personally, I’m tired of seeing our good work force leave our region,” he said. “We have a lot to offer in southern Illinois but we don’t have the startup companies to fill those needs. We need to be an importer of jobs.”

Kilquist said the goal is to make sure southern Illinois businesses aren’t overburdened and make sure citizens aren’t overtaxed. He said job creation needs to happen because businesses want to invest in our community, not because government forces job creation.

Giving businesses incentives to come into southern Illinois needs to be monitored, Kilquist said. He said if companies take incentives then leave, the district deserves those incentives back.

Illinois budget issues

Kilquist said the state budget needs to be reduced every year. He said removing ineffective programs and lowering spending can accomplish this, but it will take time.

The government needs to keep its promises so the people can believe in it again, Kilquist said.

Pension Bill

Anyone affected by pension bills should have a say in how their pensions will be impacted, Kilquist said.

“They need to have a seat at the table instead of having it rammed down their throats,” he said.

Monetary Award Program grants

Kilquist said he supports MAP grants because they provide vital funding for students trying to further their education and that education needs to be a top priority for the state.

“I think education is where it’s at,” he said. “That’s going to be how we’re going to be able to survive for these next hundreds of years, so we need to provide good education for our kids.”

Affordable Care Act

Kilquist said he has heard arguments both for and against the act, but thinks the issue is a national program and should only be discussed at a federal level.