Hull was born and brought up in the Midwest. After attending high school, he joined the assembly line in a cannery factory and eventually joined the Union Local 912 at the age of 19. Hull also served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Then, he decided to teach high school level math and physics before becoming a student himself of higher education with the aid of the G. I. bill. He later founded the Hull trading Company in Illinois itself. From his history one can deduct that Blair Hull has lived a large portion of his life as a common man.
So, the issues that he must highlight in this senatorial race have to be related to him and the people of Illinois. Therefore, to succeed in this election, it is necessary for Hull to take strong stands on issues such as, Healthcare, Education, Women’s Rights, Veterans, and Unemployment. But, to make simple assumptions for the entire state is not the best strategy. I have thus, divided the state in four different regions. Understanding voter concerns and specific issues in these areas will help predict the most important “state wide” issues for this campaign.
Most of these issues can be related to Hull in some ways, for example: the fact that he completed his higher education through the G. I. Bill, gives him more credibility as a candidate and there are many Americans who have been or are in the same shoes as he was. As a result, it is salient for Hull to give utmost priority to these issues in the Illinois senatorial election because they seem to be of major concern for the voters. Other than general issues in the state, one must also focus on the opposition and the issues they are addressing.
Johnson says, “Candidate research must prepare for the inevitable challenge from the opposition” (2001: 67). But, in case of Blair Hull, this Illinois senate race is an open seat. Hence, the opposition candidate Jack Ryan is in the same position as Hull. There will be some attack advertisements against the opposition, but no negative campaigning. As mentioned above, I believe dividing the states into different regions will make it easier to identify the issues concerning the citizens of Illinois. But, first let’s look at the overall demographics of Illinois.
According to the Census Bureau, Illinois has a population of about 12. 5 million people. The state is racially diverse, with 75% white, 15% African American, 8% Hispanic, and 3% Asian. There are no race related issues in this campaign in particular. But, while assimilating the major issues after looking at the regions, it is vital to take racial backgrounds into consideration. Illinois’ major industries are appliance manufacturing, coal mining, agriculture, and transportation equipment. Illinois has 102 counties.
Let’s analyze these counties in regional groups. To make a good political strategy, it is very important to get to the roots of every voter’s concern, and this cannot be done on an entire state wide basis. Hence, I distributed Illinois in four distinct regions. Each has its own characteristics and issues. Polls held on a regular basis have helped in identifying specific concerns among the citizens of the respective regions. Most of these issues tend to overlap, but some are potent in certain regions and some are just meagerly present.
Region I has eleven counties. This area is mainly metropolitan due to Chicago. Among the entire Illinois electorate, 63% resides in Region I and it also comprises of 70% of all Illinois population (The Census Bureau). These statistics speak for themselves. Obviously, this area has to be one of the most “voter targeted” area in Illinois. Being an urban area, it has specific issues which are not quite prevalent in the other regions, such as technology enhancement.
Also, strengthening education at primary and secondary levels, more college degree programs, and providing critical job training are relevant issues to the voters of Region I. Region II has 25 counties. It is mostly a low-income area. This area has 15% of the Illinois electorate and 8% of total Illinois population (The Census Bureau). Since, this area has many small industries and has a low earning level; programs such as cheaper healthcare for low income families will definitely make a difference in the polls.
Also, targeting issues such as better education at primary and secondary levels and industry retention would be beneficial in this region. Region III is the central part of Illinois. This area is mostly rural making the agricultural industry the largest industry of the region. Besides from agriculture and transportation equipment, education is also a big industry in this region. There are many public universities in this area, hence having more financial aid programs for higher education should definitely be a priority issue in this region.
Apart from education, having short-term subsidy programs for farmers would definitely be helpful in getting their votes. As mentioned above, this area is predominantly rural and for the development of this area foreign capital is a must. To accumulate this capital special programs should be set up to bring up this region economically. Region IV consists of the southern most counties of Illinois. It holds 10% of both the Illinois electorate and total population (The Census Bureau).
This area is a little more advanced and urban than region III. Small sized businesses are being brought up at a fast rate. And to bring even more, zero or low interest loan programs should be enforced. This would also help the food packaging industry, which is the largest in the region. Public schools over here need special attention and hence increasing funds for them should definitely be on top of the agenda for this region. Cheaper healthcare for families and senior citizens should also be on the issues list for this area.