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updated: 2/10/2012 4:57 PM

Cliff Surges: Candidate Profile

33rd District Senate (Republican)

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  • Cliff Surges, running for 33rd District Senate

    Cliff Surges, running for 33rd District Senate




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Gilberts


Office sought: 33rd District Senate

Age: 48

Family: Married 21 years to wife, Audrey and together we have 3 children; Jake, Colin and Talia.

Occupation: Owner of an American Family Insurance Agency

Education: BA from Eastern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, President of High School Booster club, Active in Immanuel Lutheran Church, Soccer and Baseball coach for 20 years.

Elected offices held: Trustee, Village of Gilberts 1997-2001

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Public Pension Reform

Key Issue 2

Illinois Medicaid Reform

Key Issue 3

Illinois State Balanced Budget and Reform of the Budget process.

Questions & Answers

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears? For incumbents, how did you vote on the Sears plan in this fall's veto session?

We need to foster a culture and atmosphere that is friendly and supportive of business that returns us to a competitive stance in Illinois. We need to remove the bureaucratic hurdles , return strong, clear, and trusted leadership with reform to our tax policy.

Continuing to offer tax breaks and Band-Aids to special players with political clout only burdens the other taxpaying entities that didn't get that special break. We need to come up with a comprehensive pro-business tax policy for the entire State that works for everybody.

Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus' Why or why not?


Leaders like Mike Madigan, who have been in power for decades shouldn't control the destiny of our state through their party leader positions and the money they control.

Since the current Senate Minority Leader hasn't even reached out yet, I don't know that I would have any alliance to the current party leadership. My evaluation would be on who can do the best job as leader of our caucus. It seems to me the red team's been losing to the blue team for some time, I don't know that current leadership has the ability to get the job done.

How, specifically, would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a "deadbeat state?" How have you or will you vote on future gambling bills' What is your view of slots at racetracks' Casino expansion?

Looking at specific line item budget cuts doesn't seem appropriate when our key emphasis should be on pension reform, Medicaid reform, and the budgeting process.

If we can focus on those 3 things, increase the number of tax payers, not the number of taxes, return ourselves to a competitive advantage with other states, and restore the public trust, we'd be off to a good start.

We have enough options for gambling already, and I wouldn't be supportive of more.

What do you specifically support to deal with the state's pension gap? Would you vote for House Republican Leader Tom Cross's three-tier pension plan? Why or why not?

Pension reform is based on past, present, and future. Since the notion seems to be that past recipients are protected, we need to honor that promise. My understanding is that future state employees have already been addressed. Reform needs to come in those present employees that have yet to begin receiving benefits with starting there and looking at those options immediately. Past and future are done, we'll need to buy our way out of those holes. It's present employees that need to be addressed immediately.

Should gay marriage be legalized? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception as others have? How would you vote on a concealed carry firearm plan? Should the death penalty be reinstated?

No, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

Yes, life begins at conception.

Yes, I believe the 2nd Amendment, at its core, includes an individual right to keep and bear arms, both inside and outside the home.

I would support a strong 'shall-issue? concealed carry law like HB 148.

Yes, I support the death penalty.

I believe we need to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois for those crimes of a most heinous nature, but with reforms included so Illinois does not repeat the mistakes of the past.