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.
City: Lake Bluff
Office sought: 29th District Senate
Family: Married, two children
Occupation: Business Consultant
Education: B.A., DePauw University (Greencastle, IN), Majors: Economics and Mathematics M.B.A., Columbia Business School (New York, NY), Finance
Civic involvement: Chicago Council on Global Affairs Grace United Methodist Church, Member of Finance Committee
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My top priorities for the district will be job creation and fiscal discipline -- balancing the state's budget and finding a long-term sustainable solution to the state pension problems.
I will use my 17 years of experience working in the business and finance sectors to create an economic environment in the district that will attract new businesses and cultivate growth of existing businesses.
This can be done by improving access to capital for small and medium sized companies, assisting local companies with access to new domestic and international markets, and working with them identify the talented work force needed to grow their businesses.
Creating good paying jobs and strengthening the local economy will expand the tax base and increase tax revenue needed to close state budget deficit and fund state pension obligations.
Key Issue 2
Education is one of my highest priorities for the 29th district and all of Illinois.
Our children will need the best education available to effectively compete in the global economy of the 21st Century.
Therefore, we must provide the funding and resources needed to create innovative curriculums that cultivate the development strong basic skills in early years (K -- 12).
Illinois also needs to identify resources needed to continue strong university systems and technical schools for young people to develop and refine skills for high wage jobs of the 21st Century.
We also need to make sure that higher education remains affordable and available to all qualified students despite their socio-economic circumstances.
Therefore, we need to make available financial resources to qualified students so they will have access to higher education.
Key Issue 3
I will provide outstanding constituent service to citizens of the 29th District to help them access those state services that will best meet their needs.
As a Legislative Assistant to U. S. Senator Daschle, my responsibilities focused on providing constituents with excellent constituent service, helping them navigate various federal government agencies and departments to access federal government services.
In addition, I have extensive experience delivering high-quality services to business clients in the private sector and will apply those skills to ensure that citizens in the 29th District receive top-quality constituent service.
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 have worked with small and medium sized companies in many different capacities for over fifteen years, including financings for projects that created hundreds of jobs, and I understand what makes businesses grow.
I will use my many years of experience working in the business and finance sectors to create an economic environment in the district that will attract new businesses and cultivate growth of existing businesses.
This can be done by improving access to capital for small and medium sized companies, assisting them with access to new domestic and international markets, and working with them identify the talented work force needed to grow their businesses.
I have worked with senior executives at small, medium and large corporations and can communicate effectively with them to understand their business concerns and priorities.
My experience working in the business community for many will enable me to effectively facilitate economic growth in the district work with new and existing business leaders.
I believe the that any tax breaks granted to large corporations, like the ones mentioned in this question, need to be rigorously evaluated
using a disciplined cost/benefit analysis to determine if such tax breaks would really create substantial economic benefits that would justify the costs associated with those tax breaks.
These types of corporate tax break programs should be viewed as investments of tax payer funds, and therefore, there should be a corresponding economic return...such as job creation and economic growth?that would be produced by such investments.
In summary, I think that only those corporate tax break proposals that are subjected to a rigorous analysis, which shows economic returns substantial enough to justify such proposals, should be considered by the state legislature.
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?
Yes, I would favor limits on campaign contributions from parties.
I have only met the leader of the caucus, so I have not had the opportunity to evaluate any other candidates.
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?
We need a more disciplined approach to managing the state budget, and cutting the state budget will not be an easy task because of the many needs that citizens have in Illinois.
I think a disciplined budget cutting approach needs to include some spending cuts from all state agencies, so I would request agency leaders to identify the cuts that could be made to their budgets.
If they did not produce any cuts, I would consider requiring a small percentage across the board spending cuts from all agencies.
In addition, to identify further budget items to cut, I would review all budget programs one by one to identify those that could be cut further without endangering public welfare or public well-being. In order for Illinois to improve its reputation on fiscal matters, there needs new leadership that will bring a higher integrity, greater fiscal discipline, and a willingness to make the tough decisions needed to get the state's fiscal house back in order.
I do not support the gaming proposals that the state legislature made in 2011 to expand gambling in Illinois.
I believe that any proposal for expanding gaming in the state should be accompanied by a market study (made available to the public) that outlines the potential for gaming revenue growth and potential impacts on existing properties and proposed new gaming operations (i.e. how much capacity the Chicago market could possibly absorb).
I believe that the 2011 gaming proposals would have permitted more gaming capacity than the Chicago area market could have realistically absorbed at this time (especially in a weak economic environment) without having a significant negative impact on existing local casinos, and therefore I would have opposed those gaming bills.
At this time, I think at this time, there are enough casinos in the state, and state policy makers should focus their attention on other industries for economic development.
For example, I think that the state legislature should focus on promoting long-term growth industries, such as technology and alternative energy, as long term engines for economic growth in Illinois because those industries require higher skilled labor, pay higher wages than many service business like gaming, and will lead to greater long-term economic growth, which will expand the tax base in the state that will ultimate produce more tax revenue to fund necessary state services.
There may be a role for more gaming in Illinois in the future, but I think the focus should be on promoting other industries as outlined above.
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 believe that the state should keep the commitments that it has made to its employees, but I also believe that abuses of the state pension system should be stopped immediately.
Contributions to the state's pension system should have been made by that state legislature every year, and the fact that politicians did not fund those commitments every year was immoral.
I will fight to ensure those kinds of irresponsible practices by politicians are stopped, that fiscal discipline is restored in Illinois, and that commitments that are made to state employees will be kept.
I believe that future changes to the state pension system should be based on a couple of fundamental principals: Fairness -- a pension system that is fair to both state employees (cost and benefits offered) and the state's taxpayers (cost born by taxpayers); and Sustainability -- a system that is designed with benefits and funding sources that will be sustainable over the long-term through all economic cycles.
In terms of designing a future state pension system, there are a few points to consider.
I believe that the state needs to consider identifying additional revenue sources that would be dedicated to funding the state pension deficit.
The sources could come from public private partnerships that would generate revenue streams available to the state.
Any funding sources for the future pension system should be defined and committed to ensure that benefits promised are fully funded every year to prevent any repeat of the irresponsible fiscal practices of the past by politicians that created the current pension mess.
In conclusion, I think that there are elements of Mr. Cross's pension plan that could be part of a long-term solution to the state pension program, but more work needs to be done to accomplished the goals outlined above.
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 support civil unions that give all the legal rights that heterosexual married couples have to homosexual couples who make the same legal commitment to each other that heterosexual couples make to each other.
I don't think changes are needed to how Illinois defines when life begins.
I would vote against concealed carry firearms legislation.
I do not think the death penalty should be reinstated.