LOMBARD – Before being elected to the village of Lombard Board of Trustees in 2011, Trustee Peter Breen considered a run for the House of Representatives.
He opted instead to serve his community through municipal government, but slightly more than two years after being sworn in to the Lombard board, Breen has announced his candidacy for the Illinois House.
The 36-year-old will run in the March 2014 primary election for a chance to represent the Republican party in the November 2014 general election. He is running for the seat in the 48th Legislative District, which is held by Rep. Sandra Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn.
“After my time as acting village president, a lot of people approached me about going to a higher level of government, in particular because of my ability to affect change,” Breen said. “Having other people confirm what I thought would be a good opportunity helped me make this decision.”
He has lived in Lombard with his wife, Margie Manczko Breen, for eight years and said he wanted to run in his home district.
He said his decision to run for the House of Representatives was prompted out of frustration that the state is not doing enough to foster business growth and effectively provide services for residents.
During his time on the Lombard Village Board, Breen said his priorities have been bringing public employee salaries into line with the private sector, limiting public liability and returning money to residents after spending cuts.
“The people in Lombard know how to spend their money better than the government does,” he said.
Breen’s mission in Springfield is broader but based on the same principles. Like most Illinois politicians, he contends that the single most serious issue facing the state is pensions.
“There is no issue that is more dire to the continued health of the state than pensions,” he said. “We’re not Detroit, but we’re on the road.”
If he is elected to the House of Representatives, Breen won’t be sworn into office until January 2015, almost 18 months from now, but he believes the state’s pension still will be a major issue then.
If he’s elected to the state level, he hopes to bring with him the governmental philosophies he’s learned through serving in municipal government, specifically, the practice of balancing a budget every year. Municipalities must balance their budgets and pay their bills every year, unlike the state, which passes missed payments onto the next year.
Even though the primary election isn’t until next spring, Breen said he’s looking forward to walking the district, which includes Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Lisle, Downers Grove, Oakbrook Terrace and Villa Park, and connecting with residents.
“[My favorite thing about campaigning is] meeting and getting to talk to more people in the community,” he said.