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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: 84th District Representative
Occupation: Flight Attendant
Education: BAS in Aviation Management, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Civic involvement: Board member: Illinois Coalition for Community Services (ICCS), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Former board member; God's Gym, Aurora Weed & Seed, Former chairman, Aurora Democratic Party.
Elected offices held: none
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Key Issue 1
Fostering an environment to create more quality jobs locally and maintain the ones already here
Key Issue 2
Fighting for a more equitable system that provides real tax relief for the residents of the 84th District
Key Issue 3
Demanding fiscal responsibility from our 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?
I would take an active role in promoting job growth in the district. I feel that a state representative should act like an ambassador for the state and promote Illinois. The 84th district includes an industrial corridor, many commercial centers with vacant space, and large swaths of open land for new businesses. I would look to companies outside Illinois and encourage them to relocate to my district. I was disturbed when a fellow Auroran--a businessman who works with relocating businesses to the United States from abroad, rather than the opposite?was unable to get a return phone call from DCEO or Governor Blagojevich's office when he was trying to bring a manufacturing plant to the far east side several years ago. This is unacceptable. As a state representative, I would travel to other states or countries, at my own expense, if it would help to being a new employer to the district.
As for tax breaks to large corporations like Motorola, Navistar and Sears, I believe that we must treat businesses alike. Without businesses, large or small, we have no jobs. We cannot tax businesses out of our state, and we cannot ask businesses to bear the tax burden for the entire state, just as we cannot ask the same of any one group. The tax burden must be shared equally and more equitable as a whole. At the same time, we cannot give special breaks to a handful of large companies and not provide incentives for small businesses which also employ many in this state.
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?
We have seen the problems associated with pay-to-play politics in Illinois as demonstrated by the convictions of the last two governors and the countless scandals in the news. Elections have become more costly, and money plays a critical role in campaigns. The Democratic and Republican leadership PACs have contributed large amounts of money to their candidates in general elections. This can be seen as troublesome as some perceive that strings are attached to those contributions. However, the cost of campaigns is not decreasing, and candidates need to find sources of money. If contributions from party leadership are capped, candidates will get the money from somewhere else. The only difference is that new ways to bundle or funnel the money through other sources will be found. At least with the money coming from the party leaders, some kind of transparency exists, rather than in the form of a network of money funneled through ambiguous sources.
If elected, I would plan to vote for the current leader of the Democratic caucus, as it is customary to support the caucus' chosen leader.
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?
Obviously, many difficult decisions lie ahead regarding the budget. Options that include across-the-board cuts to all departments fail to consider how the money is spent. The largest areas of the state budget include expenditures for health, human services, and education. Most elected officials do not want to make the decision to cut health care for sick infants, throw grandparents out of a nursing home, or cut funding for the neighborhood school. We can find many sources to save money. One such way is to eliminate the Regional School Superintendent structure and have the existing Illinois State Board of Education administer certification and training. The state can also consolidate its computer systems, rather than wasting money and time in developing and administering systems in each state agency. A thorough review of state government operations will bring out many other 'drops in the bucket? that add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more.
That said, the state needs to pay its bills on time. The state has made contracts with social service agencies, medical providers, and other vendors, and it must live up to those contracts. These payments should be a priority to avoid the 'deadbeat? stigma. All options must be on the table, including short term borrowing. By paying on time, especially for Medicaid bills, the state is eligible for federal matching money, and we must not make the mistake of losing those federal dollars.
At this time, I do not support additional gaming expansion at casinos or racetracks. My district includes Aurora, and the casino in Aurora has lost revenue with the recent opening of the Rosemont casino. Additional expansion will lead to more lost revenue and lost jobs in this area.
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?
Simply stated, the state must meet its pension obligations. For too long, the legislature has skipped required payments into the system and has borrowed money from the pension funds to pay other bills. This cannot continue. For some employees who are not eligible to collect social security because they are tied to a state pension system, that pension is all they have. As someone who has lost his own pension at work, I can empathize. As a result, I would not support Rep. Cross' three-tiered system. The state made a contract with its employees to pay into the pension system, and I believe strongly that the state must honor its contracts. In fact, these commitments must be a priority.
That said, if a new state employee voluntarily chooses to opt out of the pension system and wants the option of a 401(k) style plan, that option should be available. However, no employee should be forced into such a plan.
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?
The state must treat people equally and protect the civil rights of all its citizens. As a result, if the state has a role in promoting marriage, then it should promote marriage for all citizens, whether gay or straight.
The state legislature should not define life as beginning at conception. Recently, the people of the state of Mississippi, a much more conservative state, soundly defeated a referendum on a similar 'personhood amendment.'? This position does not reflect the views of the majority of Illinois citizens,
I would be inclined to support a concealed carry firearm plan, but I would not commit to any bill without reading the legislative language. Growing up, some of my family members had guns, and a couple members of my family were police officers and had them. I do not believe that carrying a gun and using it for lawful purposes is a bad thing.
I do not feel that the death penalty should be reinstated. We saw far too many convictions overturned based on DNA testing, bad evidence, or forced confessions. While I strongly support having a criminal justice system which punishes those who commit criminal activity, it is clear that the death penalty and as applied in Illinois was not an effective deterrent.