Durkin faces rare challenge
Darien Ald. Chlystek says change is needed
By Steve Metsch
Voters have a rarity in the 82ndHouse, a choice this Election Day.
State Rep. Jim Durkin, the minority leader, is being challenged by Democrat Tom Chlystek, an alderman in Darien.
Durkin was appointed to the job in 2006, won an election then and usually has run unopposed since. It’s time for a change, Chlystek said.
“One of the biggest complaints I get as alderman is he doesn’t represent us anymore. He doesn’t reply to phone calls e-mails, like he doesn’t really care,” the challenger said.
“He hasn’t had an opponent in 12 years. Nobody has ran against him since the last time the area was gerrymandered,” Chlystek said in a phone interview.
Chylstek He pointed to the Sterigenics plant, which concerns residents about possible cancer risks, but said Durkin has not been responsive.
If elected, Chlystek said he’d work on getting the Sterigenics factory moved to a less-populated area. There’s been much concern in neighboring towns about cancer risks from the plant.
On his web page,Durkin on Sept. 28 released the following statement on the news that the U.S. EPA has agreed to mobilize to conduct a follow-up ambient air quality study in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Sterigenics facility:
“I am pleased that the U.S. EPA has reversed their decision and will finally re-test the ambient air quality in the areas around the Sterigenics facility. However, I hope that they will now take the next step of shutting down the facility immediately until all testing is completed and the health and safety of our communities can be assured,” Durkin said on his site.
Chlystek represents the 4thward in Darien.
“I’m proud of my record in Darien. We have a balanced budget. One thing that comes up often is pension. I’m pro-pensions. But one thing I fight are the abuses in pensions,” he said.
As an example, he mentioned a lieutenant who is promoted his last day on the police department after 30 some years. That gets him an extra $1,000 per month in his pension, he said..
“Multiply that by how many people do it, the whole pension system gets abused. One of the things we’ve done in Darien is you have to be a police officer at least 15 years and we’ve eliminated being promoted on your next to last day,” he said.
He’d work on fighting abuses in state pensions. “I was blown away at how bad it is,” he said. “I’d start consolidating some of the pension systems.”
He’s not sold on term limits “because nothing gets done.”
The district is not as Republican as it has been, he said: “It’s not as conservative as people make it out to be. Families have changed. Millennials have moved in.”
Chlystek, who was born in Michigan, is a hunter. He owns firearms but sees no reason for people to own assault rifles.
During his time as alderman, he opposed an the asphalt plant along Route 83 and helped to prevent a trucking company from moving in to a predominantly residential area.
You can visit his www.tomorrep.comfor more information about Chlystek’s campaign.
Noting the difficulty encountered trying to beat a well-known longtime incumbent, he said: “I’m definitely outmatched financially (in this race) but you never know.”
“Look at (President) Trump and Hillary (Clinton). He was outmatched financially and look what happened.”
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