Why do you want to represent the 105th House District?
What our district needs is true representation; as the first Black Councilwoman in Normal, I have had the opportunity to serve the underrepresented in our community. For 2 decades our district continues to face social equity issues. I have listened to the needs of our constituents and acted in their best interest. Our district is not immune to large-scale issues like poverty and systemic racism. In addition, our state must bounce back from our debts and tackle our state’s pension crisis. In order to rectify these injustices, we must have a representative that is willing to fight for minority communities.
COVID-19 will be part of our lives in 2021 and beyond. What should be the next General Assembly’s top priorities related to the pandemic?
Our state must prioritize safety; health safety and economic safety. Illinoisians should not feel that lawmakers are not doing enough to heal from COVID-19. In order to truly bounce back from the pandemic, we must follow through with prioritizing our citizen’s health. More Illinoisians are dying every day from COVID-19. This is not something our GA can allow any longer, and will only further dig us into debt in the long term. We must lend support to small businesses, struggling families, and become a more self-sufficient state.
Do you think support shifting to a progressive/graduated income tax? Why or why not?
I support the Fair Tax amendment and look forward to the economic equity it will create in our state. The bottom 97% of Illinoisians will see a decrease or no change in their taxes; the flat tax system that we have now is further disadvantaging lower-class families and allowing the top 3% to get out of paying their fair share of taxes.
What additional measures can the next General Assembly take to spur economic development, specifically the small businesses and entrepreneurs?
It is important that we provide businesses, especially small businesses, incentives for becoming involved with their community and encourage consumers to shop locally. Small businesses and entrepreneurs continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by displaying the value and relationship between businesses and the community will boost economic growth in our state.
Illinois public schools are currently funded in large part by local property taxes. Should that school funding model continue, or would you like to see changes?
The method of public school funding in our state is disappointing. Funding education through property taxes alone is unsustainable and creates a larger tax burden. Not to mention, this model of school funding is permitting inequity to lower-income students. These students are disproportionately people of color that aren’t provided an adequate and equal education compared to higher-income districts. ALL students in Illinois deserve the opportunity to advance their education without hindrance.
What would be your approach to making sure that Illinois’ higher education institutions meet our state's future workforce needs?
Public colleges and universities in Illinois should be adjusting their curriculums in an increasingly digital and globalized world. By providing students real experience and application paired with the classroom environment, the generation entering the workforce will be better prepared to create a self-sufficient state.
Should Illinois have term limits for lawmakers and/or legislative leaders? Why or why not?
While I don’t believe in assigning term limits, it is incumbent upon voters to hold representation accountable. Legislative government was not designed to be monopolized; in fact, it allows for lawmakers to take advantage of their positions. When lawmakers become ineffective and no longer serve the needs of their community, they are not properly representing their district. I believe that it is the constituents’ duty to vote for fair representation in an ever changing government.
This summer has shown us again that racism and discrimination is alive and well in the U.S. What should be the state government’s role in addressing it?
Accountability; our state must hold the actions of government employees and organizations accountable. It is up to our state to eliminate the effects of systemic racism in police departments, school districts, and more. By raising the voices of BIPOC and holding people in power responsible for their actions, our state will truly begin to combat racism. This includes lawmakers, government employees, corporations, and more.
What additional ethics reform measures would you support in the next General Assembly?
The current system that allows the legislature to oversee themselves when it comes to their wrong ideas. The public cannot just trust that lawmakers will hold themselves accountable; a third party needs to be introduced to ensure ethics in the General Assembly. Non-partisan citizens can be better trusted to hold their lawmakers accountable because lawmaker’s decisions affect all Illinoisians.
Quality childcare is expensive and can be hard to find. What additional steps should the General Assembly take to make quality childcare more accessible to working parents?
Historically, Pre-K has been a privilege for families that can afford it. These children go on to Kindergarten with more knowledge than their peers that couldn’t afford Pre-K. This enforces disparities in education for the lower class. Our state should be investing in education, not only for the lives of Illinois children, but to counteract the problem of outward migration. Better education means better quality of life for all Illinoisians.
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