IL State Assembly Candidate Questionnaire
To directly inform voters who will decide your race and to help the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board make endorsements, please give us the candidate information requested and respond to the questions below. Please limit each answer to no more than 500 words.
Top of Form
Email address *
District (if applicable)
Date of Birth
March 17th, 1962
Occupation and employer
MIDWEST DIRECTOR FOR TIPS, a national buying cooperative. WAYNE TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR, WAYNE TOWNSHIP
Previous political experience
WAYNE TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, 55TH DISTRICT, WAYNE TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR
BS in Restaurant Management University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Spouse's occupation (please be specific)
Sources of outside income
I have 3 jobs and some investments.
Please list any relatives who work, lobby or consult for a government body
Illinois’ pension crisis now stands at $137 billion in unfunded liabilities. What would your approach be toward fixing the problem?
Pension reform is a high priority of mine. We should structurally reform Illinois' pension system through an amendment to the state constitution's pension clause. This amendment should protect pensioner's already earned benefits and allow for slower growth in benefit accruals. We should change to a 401k based system moving forward. We also need to make the pension payment. For many years the so called balanced budgets would forgo the payment and you now have the situation which we find ourselves in. Here is what kicking the can down the road gets you.
What is your position on amending the Illinois Constitution’s pension clause? Should voters have a say?
I agree with amending the constitution and the voters should have a say.
For incumbents, are you enrolled in the General Assembly pension plan? For newcomers, do you plan to enroll?
Having served in the legislature and being employed by the Secretary of State for a total of 20 years, I was in the pension system.
Voters will decide in November whether to change the Constitution’s flat income tax rate to a graduated rate. Do you support this idea?
I am against this idea. The policies of the Governor and his party have driven business and population out of this state. If you change the constitution to allow for this new taxing scheme, then they will eventually raise taxes on all. There are not enough "rich people" to cover the budgetary shortfalls. You can no longer trust them with our money.
How can middle-class taxpayers be protected from future hikes?
To vote down the graduated tax rate proposal and elect more Republicans to the legislature. The reality is that it will take a long time to fix the problem. Hard decisions need to be made to cut spending and pass truly balanced budgets. There hasn't been a revenue problem in Illinois but there certainly has been a spending problem.
If the graduated rate passes, how should the additional revenue be spent? If it fails, what is your Plan B to address the state’s debts?
On bills and pension payments. There should be no new spending. There should be a forensic audit of the budget to get rid of duplication and ineffective programs. Zero based budgeting would need to be started so there can be a way to stop the always increasing budget. There has to be true cuts in spending not the proverbial "We got less than we wanted but we still got more than last year, so there must have been a cut" mind set.
What can you do as a legislator to address rising property taxes in your district?
At least 70% of property tax goes to education. Why? The state has pushed off their constitutional responsibility of funding education. They have played the shell game with lottery funds. The state should be paying at least 51% of the educational bill but have squandered the opportunity because funds are directed to other pet projects and feeding the machine.
Chicago wanted to address its budget hole in part by raising the tax on real estate transactions worth more than $1 million. Should the General Assembly support such a measure to help Chicago? Why or why not?
No, they should not. Chicago can do their own dirty work because they have dug the hole. When that doesn't cover the bill then they'll lower to $500,000, then $250,000 and then all transactions. At some point the voters should realize the mistakes of the party in charge have driven Chicago and Illinois into these hardships. The lack of fiscal responsibility has proven to be a disaster. More taxing will not help, tighten your belt just like the taxpayer does.
Please explain your position on redistricting reform. Should the Constitution be changed to allow an independent commission to draw legislative boundaries? Should the question be placed on the ballot for voters to decide? Why or why not?
Yes, to all of the above. It is time for the people to decide on Fair Maps and to stop the political gerrymandering that has gone on far too long.
Would you support ending the practice of having party leaders fill vacant legislative seats and instead give that decision to voters through special elections? Explain your answer.
I believe party leaders should continue to fill the vacancies when they occur. Special elections cost money and it would cause a strain on local election boards.
What are your thoughts on lawmakers serving as consultants or lobbyists on the side? Are there types of employment that should be banned for members of the General Assembly?
They should not be allowed to serve as either and there should be a time delay for when they do get out of office. Stop the revolving door.
What should the legislature do to limit conflicts of interest among its members?
Stricter reporting mechanisms of outside income. Bills have been introduced to fix the problem but have yet to be called. The Inspector General needs to do their job and root out the corruption.
Do you support efforts to make the legislative inspector general more independent? How so?
Yes, for the IG to do their job correctly they should be totally independent. Their qualifications should be strong for the position and show no ties to a party. How can they investigate any wrong doing if they are beholding to party leaders.
What help, if any, are you receiving from your party and its leaders, including staff help, advice, legal assistance, money and resources? Be specific.
The party is not involved in this race because there is a primary.
Illinois has experienced a years-long decline in population. The state’s ability to attract new residents was ranked third last in the country in 2017. What can Illinois do to turn this trend around?
Stop increasing taxes, lower the property tax reliance and get back to the constitutional priorities of Education, Infrastructure and Public Safety. You need to show fiscal responsibility, so people feel secure in living and working here. If the fear rises, as it is doing now, people and jobs will leave. That trend has been set for 5 years with no sign of slowing, yet all you hear about is increase taxes and find new ways to tax. When will it stop?
What should Illinois do to improve job growth across the state? Please be specific.
Lower taxes, tort reform and lower workman's comp will help draw business back to Illinois. What we have seen is an ever-increasing burden on business that is driving them out of this state. With jobs leaving so goes the population. If we continue the policies instilled by the party in charge, then soon there will be no one else to tax.
Tell us a little about your family
I have 3 children who go to school, work and volunteer. They believe in the American Dream and are striving for success. I hope by getting back to the legislature I can put in policies that can help them achieve their goals. This will apply to all the families in Illinois for the state has failed them.
Tell us about a non-politics accomplishment or challenge in your past that helped shape who you are now.
I worked on a farm when I was young and have had a paid job since I was 16. I have a strong work ethic that I was taught from my family. If you work hard and do the right things, then you will succeed. I have been successful in my various careers and I teach my children these same values. I have also taken responsibility for my mistakes. This is the most important because you have to learn from those mistakes to become better.