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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.
Office sought: 31st District Senate
Family: Diane (Harrington) Leafblad and I have been married for 45 years. Son Eric is an Assistant States Attorney in Cook County, Daughters Kate and Alice are both High School special ed teachers. I have two grandchildren, Vernonica 10 and Josie, 8.
Occupation: Senior Consultant with Ambit Energy, Dallas
Education: Attended Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota Grayslake High School and Avon Grade School, Grayslake
Civic involvement: President of Highland Lake Property Owners Association
Elected offices held: Member of the Lake County Board, 1990-2008 Lake County Forest Preserves Commissioner, 1990-2008 Republican Precinct Committeeman
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Absolutely nothing happens until we solve the issue of Debt and Borrowing (a deadlock for #1).
These two are clogging the way to "righting the Ship of Illinois."
I will vote to repeal the personal income tax increase and the tax on employers in Illinois.
I strongly believe when Illinois takes money away from its citizens and business, the money cannot circulate and cannot generate jobs, nor does it produce sufficient tax money to the state.
It cripples our efforts to pay down debt.
Lowering taxes is the only way.
We will have to sacrifice everywhere.
Key Issue 2
Solving the pension mess.
Most everyone can recite the most egregious pension fraud schemes, but few remember that hard-working teachers and other public employees who paid into the system...stood by, powerless...as our officials failed not only in their fiduciary duty to pay into the pension funds but watched them as they raided it! Still, fixing pensions will be painful for all.
Governor Quinn is appointing "a special committee" and promising reform this year, but he has destroyed all his credibility and nobody believes he will generate fundamental change.
Sadly it will be years before Illinois' pension funds are solvent again.
Key Issue 3
People cannot afford their property taxes.
I have an 8-year record on this issue which demonstrates that the current assessment process is inconsistent, arbitrary, vindictive and make-it-up-as-you-go.
I will vote to fundamentally repeal and replace the existing law.
I will vote for stronger property tax accountability state wide.
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?
I can help my Senate District by voting to lower the taxes on employers.
Wisconsin has awakened.
Illinois has not.
I will lobby the toll highway authority to build the I-94 and Russell Road full on-off interchange to encourage business to locate there.
I will make Winthrop Harbor's Northpoint Marina a priority. Business is fleeing Illinois' caustic business climate...and, because the district borders Wisconsin, they are prime targets to move.
Many iconic businesses in Lake County have already made their land purchases, further creating a tax imbalance in Illinois.
Since nearly a third of Lake County's employees already live in Wisconsin and since those who do live in Lake County will not have to sell and move...it compounds the problem.
Wisconsin gets our tax base.
We get the vacancies.
We lower the tax burden or we're on a collision course to bankruptcy. I completely disagree with the tax breaks given to Motorola, Navistar, Sears, et al.
I just say out loud, "Lower the taxes on everybody and things will get better almost immediately!"
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?
Ultimately, I do not believe party leaders should be able to dish out money, period.
It makes the candidate 'bought and paid for' before even arriving in the Capitol.
Reality, however, is that successful campaigns for state office requires hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That's just wrong in itself, but it's a fact of life right now. I would support and vote for limiting financing of campaigns.
I would support the leader of my caucus who fairly dispenses monetary support and who stays out of contested primary races.
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?
I believe we can streamline Illinois Government.
We can erase our "deadbeat" image by paying our bills in reasonable time now...and ON TIME in the near future.
How?I would support and vote for a comprehensive audit of every single expenditure in every single department in every part of the state...knowing that the results of that audit would be used to lower the tax bite.
We could cut millions on economies of scale, programs and systems can be eliminated and obsoleted.
I do not agree with across the board cutting because it only perpetuates outdated procedures.
I believe we can make programs more cost-effective.
Then and only then can we begin our climb back to solvency. At that point, we can then operate on "zero based" budgets (to never exceed the actual revenue level/budgeted level).
We must only spend money we collect.
I would vote 'no' on future gambling bills, 'no' on slots at racetracks, 'no' on future casinos.
Balancing the budget on the backs of gamblers is no way to run a state.
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?
I support Tom Cross' attempt to solve the issue, I have heard many good things about it.
I will vote to reduce our exposure -- and, will be interested in seeing if the current legislators have the courage to do the right thing.
Upon taking office in 2013, I will do what is right for my constituency.
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?
I oppose gay marriage.
I believe life begins at conception.
I will support and vote in favor of concealed/carry.
I do not believe we should reinstate the death penalty.