Brady previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives, representing the 88th District from 1993 to 2001. He also ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Illinois in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Brady was born on May 15, 1961, in Bloomington, Illinois. He graduated from Central Catholic High School and Illinois Wesleyan University.
A millionaire real estate developer and broker, Brady is a co-owner of Brady Homes, one of Central Illinois’ largest home builders, founded by his father, Bill Brady Sr. In early 2014, it was reported that Brady’s real estate development business had been sued twice for defaulting on loans.
In 1992, Bill Brady defeated seven term incumbent Gordon Ropp by a razor thin margin in the Republican primary. Ten years later, Brady was appointed to the Illinois Senate in 2002 to succeed John Maitland.
Brady serves on the following committees:Agriculture and Conservation
Committee of the Whole
Conference Committee on SB1
State Government &Veterans Affairs
Brady ran for Governor of Illinois three times and was the Republican Nominee in 2010, but was ultimately unsuccessful in each run.
Brady ran for governor in 2006. He finished third in the Republican primary, getting about 18% of the vote.
In the 2010 gubernatorial election, he defeated his closest competitor, State Senator Kirk Dillard, by 193 votes in the GOP primary, and faced incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney in November. Brady's running mate was 28-year-old Jason Plummer, past Chairman of the Madison County Republican Party and, at the time, an intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and vice president in his father's lumber business. Despite winning 98 of Illinois's 102 counties, Brady lost to Quinn by around 32,000 votes out of 3,700,000.
Brady announced his third bid for Illinois Governor on June 26, 2013. His fellow GOP contenders were businessman Bruce Rauner, state treasurer Dan Rutherford, and Senator Kirk Dillard. Brady’s running mate was Maria Rodriguez. She was initially courted by Bruce Rauner as a running mate. Rodriguez carried two terms as mayor of Long Grove, Illinois. Brady was the lowest-funded of the four Republican candidates for the primary election, with only $273,000 in his campaign account at the end of 2013. During his campaign, Brady made several swipes at competitor Bruce Rauner, including comparing Rauner to disgraced and jailed former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Among other things, Brady advocated for pension reform, reducing taxes, reforming worker’s compensation, not increasing the minimum wage, and the dismantling of the Illinois State Board of Education. Brady lost the GOP primary at third place with 15% of the vote.
According to his campaign website, Brady believes in balancing the budget and paying down debt by "deconstructing Illinois spending and constructing a new budget, based on efficiency and priorities". He has proposed a plan to cut “a dime for every dollar” in state spending. But depending on the starting point, that may cut $3 billion to $5 billion from the $13 billion deficit.
Brady supports replacing the Illinois State Board of Education with a smaller agency that receives half of the current $80 million funding, or $40 million.
Brady believes that intelligent design, which he has described as "in other words, teaching the Bible", should be taught in public schools, saying that "we should teach the Bible in our schools. One of the basic, fundamental voids we have in our school system is bringing God into the system." In a follow-up interview, he explained: "I certainly believe that local school boards should have the opportunity to teach kids about the Bible, just as they ought to be able to teach them about the Qur'an." He added: "I believe in school prayer. I think that local school boards should be able to dictate that they start the day with prayer."
Brady supports competition in elementary and secondary education and, "either through board action or citizens initiative", school districts funding the tuition to private schools, at a rate that is, at minimum, what the state provides to the school district.
Brady supports lowering Illinois' minimum wage from its current $8.25 per hour to match the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Brady has said that the minimum wage should be controlled by “market-forces”. “I think supply and demand in the marketplace determines the rate of minimum wage. I don't think governmental intrusion is as effective," said Brady. Brady has also called for a freeze in the state's minimum wage until the lower federal rate catches up to that in Illinois.
Brady intended to lift the moratorium on the death penalty if he became governor.
Bill Brady self-identifies as pro-life. He supports a ban on all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest. He makes an exception and allows abortion when a mother's life is at risk. He has also backed legislation allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception.
A week after winning the Republican primary, Brady introduced a proposed state constitutional amendment on February 10, 2010 defining marriage as between "one man and one woman". The proposed constitutional amendment would also deny validity and recognition to any "uniting of persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same sex relationship." Although Brady was originally the main sponsor of the amendment, its chief sponsor is now Illinois State Senator John O. Jones, who became co-sponsor with Brady the week following its submission. Brady has stated that he is "concerned that activist judges could overturn our current law protecting this institution". Brady has also stated his opposition to civil unions for gay couples on more than one occasion.
Brady voted against legislation that would authorize state funding for embryonic stem cell research but prohibit human cloning. The legislation passed.
Brady voted against extending parental health insurance to unmarried dependents. The legislation later passed.
Brady co-sponsored SB 908 – Insurance Without Mandated Coverage - in 2003. SB 908 would have allowed insurance providers to offer plans that do not include coverage otherwise mandated in Illinois law. He voted NO on HB 211 in 2003 – Contraceptive Coverage in Private Health Insurance. HB 211, which became law in 2003, required any private insurance plan that covered prescription drugs and devices to also cover FDA approved contraceptive drugs and devices, but expressly states that nothing in it requires the coverage of abortion services.
Brady has called for cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, where he says his proposed forensic audit would reveal fraud, mismanagement and abuse. He also favors switching many Medicaid patients to a managed care system – the type currently administered by many Health Management Organizations (HMOs) – to control the cost of health care.
Brady opposes the legalization of marijuana in Illinois.
Brady has stated that he is opposed to any further restrictions to the ownership of firearms in Illinois. He is also for legalizing concealed carry, which would allow a law-abiding, licensed Illinois resident to carry a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner.
Brady's campaign website states that his administration would be a "clean break" from the ethics scandals of past governors. He supports capping individual campaign contributions at $4,800 for each election cycle and prohibiting union and corporate contributions.
Brady has opposed requiring campaign contributors to list their occupations. He also dismissed adopting detailed federal-style statements of economic interest for public officials in Illinois as an "overreaction."
Brady has called for term limits in Illinois. He would limit legislators to five terms in the House (10 years) and three terms (18 years) in the Senate.
Brady has opposed efforts to raise state sales and income tax rates in Illinois. He favors reducing sales taxes that he claims drive retail jobs and businesses to other states. He favors dedicating a percentage of Illinois revenue to property tax relief and eliminating the estate tax in Illinois.
In February 2010, Brady sponsored a bill (SB2999) in the 96th General Assembly that would allow the mass euthanasia of dogs and cats based upon the demands of his constituents in his district. After it received considerable criticism, he retracted his sponsorship and now has said that he would veto any such bill.
Bill and his wife, Nancy, have three children and own a home in Bloomington.