Democratic legislative candidate SUE SCHERER of Decatur, a first-grade teacher at Maroa-Forsyth Grade School, attended Monday’s rally held to protest the Springfield appearance of Wisconsin Gov. SCOTT WALKER.

Democratic legislative candidate SUE SCHERER of Decatur, a first-grade teacher at Maroa-Forsyth Grade School, attended Monday’s rally held to protest the Springfield appearance of Wisconsin Gov. SCOTT WALKER.

Scherer is the apparent winner of her party’s nomination in the new 96th House District, which extends from Decatur into Springfield. One criticism during the primary campaign was that she seemed to be avoiding public events, particularly in Springfield. For instance, her two Democratic opponents, Springfield Ward 5 Ald. SAM CAHNMAN and WINSTON TAYLOR, appeared at a morning forum sponsored by the Citizens Club of Springfield, as did the winner of the GOP primary in the 96th, DENNIS SHACKELFORD of Rochester.

But it was a school day, and Scherer was in class instead.

Scherer used a personal day to come to the anti-Walker rally.

“I thought this was important,” Scherer said.

While she is a member of the Illinois Education Association, Scherer said she wasn’t with any group at the rally, and she packed some other events into a busy day.

“We’re given two personal days a year,” she said. “I save my personal days till close to the end of the (school) year, because you just don’t know what might come up in your life that you need to use them for.”

She said she “packed as much into one day as I could,” and it was worth the trip to Springfield to react to Walker.

“I thought it was a real good event,” she said of the protest rally.

But Scherer didn’t express a strong opinion when asked if it was proper for the business groups  — the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business —  to invite Walker, who is disliked by many union members for his role helping to reduce collective-bargaining rights for public workers in Wisconsin.

“I don’t really want to say that,” Scherer said. “I think it’s their business. They’ll invite who they want to invite.

“The one statement that I hope was made here is how important people of our district feel collective bargaining is,” Scherer said.

Scherer is waiting for the State Board of Elections to issue its final vote results on Friday before she acts like the winner of her primary. But all indications are her 69-vote defeat of Taylor will stand. Cahnman placed a distant third, having taken the brunt of bashing from political committees run by House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago, which put more than $87,000 into Scherer’s  effort.

“The amount of money that someone donates to my campaign isn’t going to affect how I’m going to vote,” Scherer said. She wouldn’t say if she would vote for Madigan for House speaker, calling it “presumptuous” because she’s not yet elected.

“I’m going to vote for things that will be for the constituents in my district — plain and simple,” said Scherer. “If I feel it will help them, then that’s what I will vote for. That’s what a representative does, is represent their people.”

“You will definitely see me in Springfield” as the general election season proceeds, she added. It remains to be seen how high profile those appearances will be.

“People that vote are the people that I talk to personally,” Scherer said. “That’s sort of been my philosophy from the beginning, and that’s not changing. So my thing is to go door to door.”

But don’t expect the mailers to stop coming, because it seems clear Democrats are counting on winning the new 96th to keep control of the House.

Shackelford, the owner of Hallmark shops in Springfield, was out of town Wednesday. He said he didn’t attend the Walker event Tuesday and hadn’t read much about it.

As for his campaign path, he said, “I plan to be very public between now and the general.”

Obama’s secretary in news
ANITA DECKER BRECKENRIDGE, who was the Springfield-based downstate director for President BARACK OBAMA when he was in the U.S. Senate, got some mention in the news recently.

That happened because of what Obama calls the Buffett Rule. It’s his proposal that anyone making more than $1 million in a year pay at least 30 percent of his or her income in taxes. The name comes from billionaire investor WARREN BUFFETT, who has said he pays a lower income-tax rate than his secretary.

Well, Breckenridge is now the president’s secretary, and it appears her income tax rate is higher than the president’s. The Obamas recently reported they paid $162,074 in taxes on adjusted gross income in 2011 of $789,674. That’s a rate of about 20.5 percent. Note that the Obamas’ combined income was less than $1 million — below the range of the proposed rule — but that doesn’t get in the way of a good narrative.

Breckenridge makes $95,000 a year, as confirmed by a White House spokeswoman. According to LATimes.com, the White House also said Decker paid a “slightly higher rate” on her taxes than her boss.

That, White House spokeswoman AMY BRUNDAGE was quoted as saying, “is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.”

Breckenridge’s husband, Taylorville native RUSS BRECKENRIDGE, works in the D.C. area for United Association, a union that represents workers in the plumbing and pipefitting industries.

Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1540 or follow him via twitter.com/bschoenburg. His email address is
bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com.