Why do you want to represent the 105th House District?
I am seeking re-election to continue and enhance my service to the citizens of the 105th District. The issues involving our public education system, K-12 and higher education, as well as public safety, infrastructure and our business climate need a dedicated and service-minded representative with a proven record of accomplishments now more than ever, and I am that person. I look forward to continue working on property tax relief, pension reform and ethics reform, as well as a budget that sets priorities of public education, public infrastructure and public safety. This was recently shared with me after helping a constituent with their problem, "This resolution to my problem and other retirees that you have helped is a testament to your hard work and effectiveness, and a pristine example of representative government at work. Our district is lucky to have you!" That is one reason why I am running for re-election.
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 top priorities should be (1) continued protection of our frontline workers with PPD's and proper equipment provided to them from the State of Illinois, (2) continued the enhancement of COVID testing, similar to what I worked on at the Bloomington's Interstate Center, (3) stabilizing workers compensation/ unemployment benefits that assist first responders, health care workers and other essential workers exposed to or contracting COVID on the job. A major priority should also be an overhaul of IDES (unemployment security office) and financial stabilization of the states unemployment security trust fund. Also, the General Assembly should conduct hearings with state agency directors to learn from their departments operations during the pandemic.
Do you think support shifting to a progressive/graduated income tax? Why or why not?
No, I believe that (1) the future rates of income tax have never been clearly set. (2) More higher earning income tax payers will leave Illinois like what has happened in New Jersey, and the tax increase will shift and hit the middle class. (3) This amendment does not prevent future General Assemblies from raising taxes. (4) State government should prioritize its spending before raising taxes or shifting to a different tax structures.
What additional measures can the next General Assembly take to spur economic development, specifically the small businesses and entrepreneurs?
Government needs to reduce the burdensome regulations that are and have been forced on business, from purchasing requirements for our universities to small business, stopping any future over-reaching regulations and red tape would help business. Changing parts of our workers compensation reform system would also help business.
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?
Reducing property taxes and still funding our schools is a difficult balance. The relatively new funding formula for K-12 is of help. However, making a priority of funding public education by the General Assembly would make a difference.
What would be your approach to making sure that Illinois’ higher education institutions meet our state's future workforce needs?
Creating a funding formula for Higher Education and creating performance-based funding would help institutions better meet the needs.
Should Illinois have term limits for lawmakers and/or legislative leaders? Why or why not?
I believe term limits should be left for the voters to decide by means of elections. However, term limits for legislative leaders such as Speaker of the House or Minority Leader would be a positive checks and balance system for individual caucuses.
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?
The Preamble of the Illinois Constitution provides that we will maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; and assure legal, social and economic justice. Each elected official/ officer of this state is sworn by the Constitution and at a minimum owes each citizen these assurances. Additionally, state government must be affirmative and active in the repudiation of racism and the protection of all citizens. As State Representative, it is my role to listen to my constituents and be a voice through legislative action as it relates to racism and all other concerns within my district. Additionally, state government must be affirmative and active in the repudiation of racism and the protection of all citizens. As state representative, it is my role to listen to my constituents and be a voice through legislative action as it relates to racism and all other concerns within my district. In addition, our Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board and the Illinois Criminal Code should be open for review.
What additional ethics reform measures would you support in the next General Assembly?
I would support the ethics reform package I have been a sponsor of, in particular HB 3947, HR 0588, HJRCA 0036, HB 3954, and HB 3955. These pieces of legislation would be a good step in the right direction dealing with ethics reform. These pieces of legislation make changes to the statement of economic interest that a representative must complete regarding their finances. It would require much more detailed information, like that of a judge. Also, legislation would have to be called for a vote if it had bi-partisan support, and could no longer be held up in a committee, and adds further restrictions on legislators who lobby after leaving the General Assembly. Also, changes would be made to prevent holding other government jobs while serving in the Illinois General Assembly.
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?
There have been recent projections of the large amount of money that would need to be injected into quality childcare expansion. As any amount of additional funds are sought, expanding access to professional development, focusing on making childcare a priority, and building and expanding daycares by means of our capital budget would be a place to start.
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