Ron Stephens

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Ron Stephens
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 102nd district
In office
1985-1991
1993–2011
Succeeded by Paul Evans
Personal details
Born (1948-02-19) February 19, 1948 (age 66)[1]
East St. Louis, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lisa
Profession Pharmacist

Ron Stephens was a Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives, representing the 102nd district from 1993 until 2011 when he announced his retirement.[2][3] The district includes portions of Bond County, Madison County, Effingham County, Fayette County and St. Clair County. He was the Assistant Republican Leader in the state House until his retirement.

He and his wife Lisa have nine children between them and live in Greenville. Stephens is a licensed pharmacist and co-owns two pharmacies.[4]

Political positions[edit]

Stephens was critical of the Democratic majority leadership in the state and the General Assembly during the 2007 budget crisis: "You had everything that the political world could give you, and you have squandered it. You have squandered it at taxpayers' expense. Democrats, with all the power the people could give them, have failed the people of Illinois."[5]

Stephens has opposed the electric rate relief package proposed by the General Assembly as not giving customers enough money back from Ameren.[6] Stephens said, "This supposed 'rate relief' package will only give back seven or eight dollars a month to Ameren customers who have seen their electric bills go up by hundreds of dollars a month. Who are they kidding? This legislation is disgraceful."[6] Ameren maintains that they must raise prices due to a nine-year price freeze, and that if they do not raise prices on customers, their credit will suffer so much they will not be able to purchase electricity on the market and will go into junk bond status.

After a recent DUI arrest, coupled with previous discipline for the abuse of controlled substances, Stephens faced revocation of his pharmacist license. He pled guilty to DUI in July 2010 and because of his past habitual drug use, agreed to monthly drug tests. His pharmacy license is on "indefinite" probation, for a minimum of one year.[7]

On November 30, 2010, while the politician was still being subjected to monthly drug tests, Ron Stephens was one of the biggest opponents of and voted against the proposed medical marijuana bill in Illinois. The bill narrowly failed passing. Stephens was quoted as saying "This should be called the marijuana possession law ... It doesn’t restrict the use in any one way.” [8]

That same week, Stephens was a vocal opponent of the Illinois Civil Unions bill, which passed despite his opposition. He said civil unions were a "slippery slope" and "just call me an old fashioned traditionalist" going on to say that it will lead to society crumbling and failing.[9]

Comments regarding Governor Rod Blagojevich[edit]

After Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich paid for a $600 makeup tab with public funds, Stephens asked the House Speaker Michael Madigan before recess on a Friday when the "Gubernatorial Cosmetology Committee" would be meeting.[10]

In October 2008, Stephens was interviewed by the Associated Press regarding Blagojevich's executive order implementing FamilyCare, an expansion of the healthcare system that never gained the General Assembly's approval and was declared unconstitutional by two courts.[11] After state departments sent pharmacies that had participated in the program notices that they would not be paid for the services rendered under the program, Stephens told the AP that Blagojevich should pay for the prescription drugs out of his own private accounts.[11]

Daily Show appearance[edit]

In early February 2006, Stephens challenged Blagojevich in an appearance on The Daily Show to discuss the Governor's executive order that pharmacists must dispense any drugs for which a customer had a valid prescription, including birth control pills and Plan B. Blagojevich was interviewed by Jason Jones, who repeatedly pretended to be unable to pronounce Blagojevich and simply called him "Governor Smith". This prompted Blagojevich to turn to the camera and ask "Is he teasing me or is that legit?" Two weeks after the interview, Blagojevich admitted that he was unaware of the nature of the show.[12] Stephens said he knew beforehand that the show was a comedy show: "I thought the governor was hip enough that he would have known that, too."[12]

Stephens later said, "With all due respect to the governor, he knew it was a comedy show. It's general knowledge for people under 90 years of age. It was when he came off looking so silly that he said he thought it was a regular news program. Even assuming he didn't know about it beforehand, we had to sign a release before the interview."[12][13]

Retirement[edit]

Stephens announced his retirement on August 2, 2011 saying that a newly redistricted map was a factor in his choice. The new map "made the decision a little easier," said Stephens. "I could run against Cavaletto, or run in the new district. Neither of those choices was palatable." By resigning before his term expires, Stephens made it possible for local Republican County Chairmen to pick a replacement, who could then run as an incumbent for the 2012 election.[2] On August 13, 2011 it was announced that Paul Evans would replace Stephens.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?GA=97&MemberID=1630
  2. ^ a b "'Illinois Rep Ron Stephens to resign, cites redistricting'". 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  3. ^ a b "'GOP names Paul Evans as Stephens replacement in Illinois House'". "St. Louis Post Dispatch". 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  4. ^ "'Is he teasing me?' gov asks on 'Daily Show'". Find Articles (Chicago Sun-Times). 2006-02-11. Retrieved 2007-07-17. [dead link]
  5. ^ Wills, Christopher (July 2007). "Illinois Democrats turn on each other". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Stephens Unhappy With Electric Rate Legislation". Greenville Advocate. August 2, 2007. 
  7. ^ "'Ill Rep Stephens keeps pharmacist license, must submit to drug tests for DUI'". 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  8. ^ "'Medical marijuana measure fails in Illinois House'". 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  9. ^ "'Ron Stephens on Civil Unions". 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  10. ^ Long, Ray; Meitrodt, Jeffrey (2007-07-14). "$600 makeup bill could make Gov. Blagojevich blush". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  11. ^ a b O'Connor, John (2008-10-07). "Illinois pharmacists pay for Blagojevich's bungling". The Pantagraph. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  12. ^ a b c "Ill. governor confused by 'Daily Show' bit". Associated Press (USA Today). 2006-02-23. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  13. ^ Froemling, Todd (2006-03-02). "Blagojevich drops ball on 'The Daily Show'". Daily Vidette. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 

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