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Fairbury lawyer Ron Schwab has announced he intends to run for the District 32 legislative seat held by Sen. Jeanne Combs.

Combs announced several weeks ago she won’t seek a second term because a new job won’t allow her time off to serve the Legislature.

Schwab said he plans to get his name on the fall ballot through the petition route. He must collect about 1,600 signatures from registered voters by Sept. 1.

Russ Karpisek of Wilber, a successful primary candidate, will be on the November ballot.

Combs, the top vote-getter in the primary, has said she will officially withdraw from the race this summer and her name will not be on the ballot.

In the absence of a successful petition dive, Karpisek will be elected without opposition, Schwab said in his official announcement.

“We think the voters are entitled to an election,” Schwab said. “We will do everything we can to give them one. We’ll need a small army to make this happen, and we’re starting to recruit volunteers immediately.”

Schwab, 65, served as Fairbury city attorney for about 14 years over two stints. He resigned from a five-year “tour of duty” as city attorney this year, he said.

As a young man, he was mayor of Fairbury and served on the Southeast Community College Board of Governors in the late ’80s.

Schwab, a Republican, said he has particular concerns about tax and spending issues.

“I see myself as a staunch fiscal conservative,” Schwab said.

He supports ending the death tax, or inheritance tax, he said.

“I haven’t developed specific proposals, but I’m always looking to reducing taxes and open to ideas on changing the tax system,” he said.  

“I cast a suspicious eye toward any new programs or expanded spending,” he said.

Schwab cannot begin gathering signatures until Combs is officially certified as winner in the primary and then officially asks her name be removed from the ballot.

The election results were certified Monday. Combs is out of the country on a trip this week and could not be reached for comment.

Schwab said he expects Combs to formally decline the nomination when she returns.

Combs has said she will finish her term, which ends in January.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com.

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