Election '06: Two views from the Heartland

Monday, January 1, 2007

YARMOUTH, Maine--Two security executives from Midwestern security companies, Ed Bonifas, vice president of Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, Ill., and Harry Schenk, chief financial officer of Central Security Group of Tulsa, Okla., offered some thoughts on the November election.
Responding specifically to questions about the minimum wage, immigration and tax-cut rollbacks, Schenk said that "the change in control [in Congress] is a non-issue," for his business.
He noted that the security installation and monitoring segment "is dominantly skilled labor ... if you hire a tech or installer you're not paying five dollars an hour, you're paying two or three times that," he said. He pointed out that immigration is not a big issue in the Midwest.
National politics was having a local affect in Illinois for Bonifas, who in December was mourning the loss of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who won reelection, but lost the speakership when the Democrats took control of the House.
He "is our congressman and that was a very good thing for our valley," he said. "We lost a major piece of clout in Washington." Bonifas was equally unhappy with the election results in his state of Illinois, which he said is a "tough place to do business because [government officials] are pro-labor and not friendly to business."
He cites "incredible fees and a stringent regulatory market" as examples. Bonifas believes the GOP may return to power in Washington in 2008.
He's not holding his breath for the same thing to happen in Illinois, however: "Unlike the federal government, the state of Illinois has been a pretty blue state and it doesn't look that's going to change anytime soon."