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updated: 2/10/2012 4:05 PM

Ed Erwin: Candidate Profile

61st District Representative (Democrat)

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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.

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City: Lindenhurst


Office sought: 61st District Representative

Age: 54

Family: My wife Terry and I just celebrated our 32nd anniversary. We have one son, Christopher, who attended the Millburn Schools and is now in his second year at College of Lake County. We have lived in Lindenhurst for 22 years.

Occupation: I practiced law for ten years, then placed my law license on inactive status and operated an auto shop in Park City, Illinois. After selling my interest in the shop, I worked in the auto industry and I am now a full time candidate.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Southern Illinois University, 1979. Juris doctor, IIT-Kent Chicago College of Law, 1983

Civic involvement: Friends of the Lake Villa District Library Lakes Eagles Talon Club Eight District Democrats and Independents (EDDI)

Elected offices held: Precinct Committeeman, Precinct 160 Chairman, Lake Villa Township Democratic Party

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Yes. I was arrested and plead guilty to driving under the influence in 2003.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Improve Lake County's job climate. Our State, County and Municipal governments should work together with businesses and their employees to streamline licensing, update and improve the business regulatory environment, and promote growth and opportunity in Lake County. In addition, the State must develop a regular capital improvement process to maintain, update and improve our infrastructure.

Key Issue 2

The Lake County needs a better return on their investment of state tax dollars. For decades, Lake County families and businesses have sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Springfield in income and sales taxes. The low return on our tax investment, coupled with the burden of too many layers of government has driven Lake County property taxes to among the highest in the State of Illinois.

Key Issue 3

Improve the quality of education in our schools from preschool through college. To meet the challenges of a changing global economy, our students must be adequately prepared for the workforce of today and tomorrow by performing at higher academic levels, graduating from high school at higher rates, and better preparing for a career or college.

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?

Northern Lake County is a wonderful place to live and work. My office will actively seek dialogues with our current and prospective employers to meet their needs and enable their growth. Companies like Motorola Mobility and Navistar presented plans for growth and expansion and tax incentives to spur that growth are appropriate. But merely issuing blank checks to businesses who do not present concrete plans for growing the Illinois workforce and expanding our overall business climate is not a good investment of our tax dollars.

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?

I am in favor of expanded campaign finance reforms. Limiting party leadership contributions may be one type of reform. Unfortunately, organizations now have the ability to raise tremendous amounts of anonymous money to promote single issues or attack particular candidates. I believe that campaign financing should be transparent so that every voter can easily determine who is supporting a particular candidate or a particular cause. Caucus leadership sets the path of the legislation likely to pass in the General Assembly. I would want the caucus leader to demonstrate a willingness to end the current partisan environment in Springfield and move the General Assembly closer to being the true representatives of the citizens of Illinois. I will vote for the caucus leader who assures me that he or she is also committed to those principles.

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?

Illinois has gone through repeated cycles of economic boom and bust resulting in departmental budget cuts in times of crisis followed by departmental expansion in good economic conditions. The result is a state government that is both bloated and malnourished. This cycle has to end. The State of Illinois must immediately begin to review every department's expenditures and organization with a stated purpose of making the government as a whole more lean and efficient. Every expenditure of every department must be tested and challenged, and only those expenditures that add value to the taxpayers and citizens of Illinois should pass the test. Illinois currently has more than 80 departments, offices and commissions, each with payrolls, benefits, offices and other expenses. Our legislature must demonstrate the courage to reduce the size of Illinois government. The legislature should not continue to reduce its budget by passing on costs to local governments which only adds to our crushing property tax burden in Lake County. Our Legislature must demonstrate the courage to borrow the funds to pay past due accounts that cost more in late fees than the cost of borrowing. Expanding gaming in Illinois is one method of increasing our overall revenue stream that should have been accomplished years ago. I would support the construction of a casino in Lake County as a way to bring jobs and increased business and commercial activity to our area. While I do not favor slot machines in businesses throughout the state, some expansion of off-site gaming, such as video poker or slot machines would also improve the state's revenue picture, especially since many of these machines already exist in Illinois but are neither regulated nor provide any value to the taxpayers or communities where they exist.

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?

Representative Cross's three-tier pension plan would significantly increase the costs of administering the state pension system, does not address the pension gap in Illinois, does not adequately address abusive and undeserved inclusion into the state pension system and may in fact violate the Illinois Constitution. For these reasons I would not support such a plan. Illinois has the fewest number of state employees per capita in the United States. But after decades of failing to meet its contractual obligations to pay the state's full share of its annual pension obligations, the Illinois Legislature has allowed the various state pension systems to become dangerously under-funded. The state must immediately bring all the parties to the table with a specific action deadline to develop a plan to pay down the state's obligations to it's pension funds in the most prudent fiscal 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?

Recently, my wife and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary. That two people wish to commit their lives together and perhaps raise a family of their own or through adoption is a good thing and neither diminishes nor enhances the value of the relationship my wife and I have. Defining life as beginning at conception is a ballot measure that has been defeated in many states and for good reason. Such a definition would criminalize certain medical procedures undertaken for the purposes of in vitro fertilization, criminalize the actions of a woman who may not be certain of her own pregnancy, and criminalize some accepted forms of birth control. This is an inappropriate and overly broad definition. I would consider a concealed carry firearm plan that balances the safety of police and first responders and has their support, provides for an ongoing system of training and safety, allows communities or counties to chose whether they wish to participate, and addresses the influx of illegal weapons into the State of Illinois. While there are crimes that are so heinous that a person convicted of them could forfeit there right to live, our prosecutorial system in Illinois must do a better job of ensuring that individuals sentenced to death are, in fact, guilty. To execute just one innocent man is repugnant and against the most treasured beliefs of our founding fathers. The prohibition against the death penalty came about because a number of people were wrongly sentenced to death. Until we can establish a swift and just mechanism to ensure that does not happen, the law should remain the same.