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: 29th District Senate
Family: Married 32 years to Joe Morrison; Three adult children
Occupation: Township Supervisor
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Knox College, 1978
Civic involvement: Highland Park Hospital Community Advisory Council, Deerfield Manpower Commission, Southeast Lake County Faith-In-Action, Deerfield Rotary Club, National Junior Disability Championships, Northern Illinois Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Elected offices held: Elected four times as West Deerfield Township Supervisor
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
At this difficult time for our nation, job creation and economic stimulation should be the top priority for all elected leaders, and it will be my highest priority for the state and for the 29th District. There are no easy answers, or we would not be in the position we are in now. The problem requires creativity and the pooling together of people from different fields and vocations to come up with collaborative solutions. On a most fundamental level, it is essential that we get private industry and public bodies together to work toward our common objectives.
As an example, I want
to see increased partnerships with local colleges and universities to create incubators for new business development in the region. This provides resources and assets to emerging businesses. We can do more to invest in job-training and the creation of transitional job programs in an effort to increase and strengthen our existing skilled labor force.
Key Issue 2
My number two campaign issue is improving the quality of human services available in Illinois. I want to make sure there is a prioritization of these services so that we are paying for the programs that make the most difference for those in need. I will evaluate the funding and performance of these programs to make sure that we focus our resources on programs whose benefits outweigh their costs.
Key Issue 3
I am committed to the tenets of transparency, accountability and integrity as the essential basis for good government and good policy. Illinois has been tarnished by the misdeeds of a few, but those actions stem from a long-established system of cronyism and corruption that has for far too long been tolerated in our state. I will stand up and make sure that elected leaders not only conduct their own affairs in an honest manner, but that that they be willing to stand up and confront wrong-doing even at the risk of going against those in their own party or colleagues in government.
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?
My top priority is job creation and my focus will be on bringing jobs to the 29th District. I will work directly with local community colleges, businesses, and business groups (such as the Chamber of Commerce) to ensure that businesses have access to workforce training in order to meet their growing and changing needs. I will establish a business advisory group to meet on a regular basis, and hear first-hand from businesses regarding their needs and how state government can better assist them. I will follow through either by introducing legislation, or working directly with leadership to initiate changes and reforms.
I believe it is critical to keep major employers such as Motorola, Navistar, and Sears in Illinois. However, before tax incentives are given, we must receive a commitment that there will be annual reporting on their job growth (or reduction) so that the state can assess the tax benefits more closely.
I believe the process for granting such relief must be more open and transparent, and that it should be linked in some fashion to increases in hiring by the benefiting firm.
We need a more comprehensive strategy for how we use incentives, and other measures to attract and maintain businesses. Such strategies must take into account aid for small and mid-sized businesses that are the foundation of our economy. North Carolina for example has a very fair, transparent and open process that invites all business, regardless of size, to apply for tax incentives. The state of Washington publishes tax incentive disclosure reports on an easily accessible website. I will work to see that both models are replicated in Illinois.
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?
It is important to me that we have an election system that allows people in our community to have a meaningful voice in the process.
I am interested to see how the changes that went into effect in January 2011 measure up to those standards. If it appears that campaign money is being abused, I will
insist on additional reforms.
I am not currently in a position to make a decision on party leadership, and I plan on making an evaluation when I am in the General Assembly.
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?
Dealing with the budget is the most challenging issue the General Assembly faces. The cuts that have been made, while necessary, have been primarily at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens.
As we look for further cuts to the budget, we must protect those who have no other safety net and we must not further impair our education system.
will insist on reviewing the budget appropriations line by line with an eye on reducing expenditures without sacrificing vital services. As an example, I will insist on making payments for our most essential services so that our human service agencies are not responsible for covering the state's budget shortfall. I would propose a comprehensive review of all state agency budgets with a goal to streamline and reduce administrative costs. Additionally, I will advocate for the appointment of a commission of experts who would, on an ongoing basis, review contracts and prioritize payments.
It is critical that we eliminate waste and make government more efficient.
Any additional dollars, we realize must be used to pay down our overdue bills.
I think that expansion of gaming should be evaluated on a case by case with particular attention paid to the desires of the communities where such expansion is proposed. What might be acceptable for the City of Chicago would likely not be well-received in some of the communities of the 29th District. Further, I think we should routinely monitor the casinos and gaming facilities that exist in the state to ensure that they are providing additional revenue, and that they are not a blight on their respective communities. Oversight of these facilities is paramount, and the Gaming Board must provide that.
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?
Illinois has been dealing with the pension issue for over 30 years, and it won't be resolved unless all of the stakeholders can come together and agree on a compromise. I would only support a legislative measure if the stakeholders, including teachers and other state employees such as police and firefighters, come to a consensus.
Regarding Leader Cross's proposal- it is a step in the right direction to offer options to impacted parties. However, I believe that this type of approach has more opportunities for success when all parties are negotiating together in a transparent manner.
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 believe that civil unions were a great first step towards ending discrimination, and I would look for more policies that end inequality for the LGBT community.
I do not believe that life should be defined as beginning at conception, and fully support the reproductive rights of women.
I oppose concealed carry.
I do not believe the death penalty should be reinstated.