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updated: 2/10/2012 4:04 PM

Lauren Turelli: Candidate Profile

58th District Representative (Republican)

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  • Lauren Turelli, running for 58th District Representative

    Lauren Turelli, running for 58th District Representative




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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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Lake Forest


Office sought: 58th District Representative

Age: 40

Family: Married, three sons

Occupation: Real Estate Sales, Property Management & Development

Education: Bachelor of Arts with Distinction & Honors in Political Science, University of Illinois, 1993 Master of Education, Secondary Certification in History & Social Studies, DePaul University, 1997

Civic involvement: NSBAR (North Shore -- Barrington Association of Realtors) NAR (National Association of Realtors) IAR (Illinois Association of Realtors) Lake Forest -- Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce District 67-Cherokee A.P.T. Board(Association of Parents and Teachers, Food Liaison University of Illinois -- Chicago Illini Club Lake Forest -- Lake Bluff International Club Women's Republican Club of Lake Forest -- Lake Bluff Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Republican Precinct Committeewoman, West Deerfield Township

Elected offices held: Currently, I serve in two elected and/or appointed capacities: 1) as a board member of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Lake Forest, 2009- present; and,2) as an elected Republican township precinct committeeman.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My district is home to hundreds of medical, legal, educational and other business professionals, business owners and high-property tax paying residents.

They have a multitude of concerns, all centered on the fiscal health and future of the state.

My number one campaign issue is the high unemployment rate, the need for job creation, pro-growth business policies and employee stability, and anti-business tax policies.

Key Issue 2

Tackling the $123+ billion in unfunded pension and health insurance liabilities, which directly relate to waste, fraud, cronyism & special favors.

Key Issue 3

Education reform and the need for policies which keep parents and communities in control of their local public schools; expansion of charter schools and voucher programs for the worst performing schools.

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?

First of all, businesses create jobs.

In order for businesses to do so, government needs to get out of the way.

Illinois businesses face crippling corporate taxes and fees in the form of unemployment insurance, workers compensation and other regulations/ fees that competing states do not impose.

I oppose higher taxes and fees imposed on businesses, plus current proposals for a state value-added tax, a sales tax increase, and a state-level version of "cap and trade."

If we are truly concerned about job creation, then we need to find ways to stabilize the job climate and entice businesses to come to Illinois, stay open, and employ more people.

Therefore, as State Rep, I would work towards repealing the corporate tax rate and reducing the cost of incorporation, reform the workers compensation system in addition to comprehensive pension, Medicaid reform and balanced budget measures.

On behalf of employers and businesses in my district, I would work towards making the research and development tax credit permanent, to encourage long term projects.

I would also consult with local employers, chambers of commerce, and other economic development groups to host job fairs.

I also believe in utilizing our state's resources in order to get folks back to work.

An example could take the form of training/retraining programs through community colleges and private employers. While I do not support large cash giveaways to corporations to stay in Illinois, I understand that they are sometimes necessary to grow the economy.

If anything, the tax breaks extended to Motorola, Navistar & Sears shows the overall weakness of the job climate in Illinois. Nor would they be necessary if the state enacted broad reforms, as mentioned above.

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 support limits on financial contributions from party and legislative leaders and committees, as money equals power in Illinois.

I would also consider supporting limits to contributions from donors outside of a particular candidate's district to avoid undue influence.

Without limiting how much legislative leaders can donate allows both parties to artificially sustain candidacies of those politicians that may not otherwise garner enough support.

I am disappointed that the bill that would have limited contributions from legislative leaders did not pass, as it was a good start towards needed reform.

I am further dismayed that the Sunshine Commission's findings were not adopted by the Governor or the General Assembly.

I believe that other measures of campaign finance reform increase transparency and greater accountability in following the money streams to see how each dollar is spent.

If elected, I would expect to join a unanimous vote among Republican House Members to reappoint Representative Cross him Minority leader.

Rep. Cross has pushed for fiscal responsibility and taken on difficult issues, such as pension and Medicaid reform.

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 advocate a ?forensic audit? of the budget and belt tightening in all offices and programs, followed by a re-prioritization of services and spending and an ultimate goal of a ?pay-go? budget.

This would lead to an idea of the required cutbacks, which each department head would need to make.

However, I also advocate turning to the employees of all departments for their opinions on wasteful spending and would consider incentivizing individuals if these goals are met.

Specific areas and/or programs that I would immediately cut would include:

an immediate moratorium on non-essential hiring, promotions and raises, plus the elimination of the legislative scholarship program, and the elimination of the General Assembly Retirement System.

I would also combine the offices of Treasurer and Comptroller, sell off the state's air fleet and being to reform Medicaid by reverting to the pre-Blagojevich expansion of eligibility requirements. Illinois is a deadbeat state.

We have a backlog of bills that totals approximately $3.8 billion.

The State's budget deficit, unfunded pension liabilities, unemployment rate and poor business outlook has lead to repeated credit downgrades and cash flow troubles.

We need to pay off our bills, even if it is incremental over time, and pass budgets where spending does not exceed our revenue.

Otherwise, the interest owed compounds and our debt service grows more expensive.

I believe that the General Assembly's repeated decisions to borrow money to pay its bills and pension obligations, is irresponsible fiscal policy.

There have been several proposals in the General Assembly in the recent past that have increased the various forms of gaming in order to provide additional revenues for a statewide capital construction bill.

However, Illinois already has 10 casinos, horse racing, off track betting, and soon video poker.

We have a spending problem and need to create permanent revenue streams through solid, systemic change.

I oppose slots at racetracks and at county fairs and in bars.

Gambling expansion is a temporary band-aid to further avoid making difficult decisions.

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?

The unfunded pension and public health system costs are at the center of our state's fiscal crisis, accounting for over $123 billion in unfunded liabilities.

Both systems need to be reformed for the benefit of all employees and taxpayers.

Without changes to the current pension systems, the State will be forced to either cut services like education and healthcare to its bare bones or let the pension systems default.

Reform will require a concerted effort by all parties involved and all of our options for reform will need to be put on the table.

The current unfunded liabilities result from a legislature that has been unwilling to deal with the funding of these programs and has instead, borrowed their way into further debt. Further reform needs to focus on legislative benefits and measures to prevent abuses in the form of 'double dipping? and ?pension padding? or 'spiking? at the end of one's career as a means to increase benefit payments.

We need to modify these pension equations and protect taxpayers from abuse.

In order to create a sustainable system, I will work to create an actuarial commission that would review the state's fiscal obligations and make concrete recommendations for sustainable reform.

I will not rule out the possibility that a long-term solution may require a combination of co-payments / reduced benefits and another increase in the retirement age for some workers in order to compensate for aging beneficiaries.

The fact is that people are living far longer than when the pension system was first introduced.

We may also consider a compromise solution that increases employee contributions along a sliding scale, ensuring that the amount of an employee's increase is proportional with how long they have to adjust their plans. I also support and would vote for SB 512, as it provides clear options for pension reform.

It will allow employees to stay in their current benefit plan but pay more towards their pension or they can choose a lesser benefit and pay less.

SB 512 also provides employees the flexibility of a defined contribution, such as a 401K.

The bill will provide stability to the systems and the State while also protecting the benefits employees have already earned and without making changes to retirees.

SB512 would bring public sector benefits in line with the private sector.

I will vote against efforts to reduce pension benefits for current retirees.

Long term reform also needs to provide for a ?pay-go? budget system so that we will not face an unfunded pension liability or financial crisis again.

Just as the pension crisis that plagues Illinois was not conceived in isolation, neither can it be tackled without a serious commitment to living within our means. Protecting pension funds will remove a key fiscal crutch on which Springfield habitually leans to bail out its unbalanced budgets.

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?

While the concept of "marriage" has historically found its origins in religion between one man and one woman, some of the legal rights and obligations associated with marriage like inheritance, spousal support obliogations, etc. are recent legislative developments (less thatn 100 years).

With the recent passage of civil unions, many, if not all of the legal tenets of marriage have already been applied to same sex unions, I do not believe that the legislature should redefine what is otherwise, a religious term, and therefore, would not be in favor of legislation that defines same sex "marriage."

Without knowing exactly what the objectives were of the sponors of this initiative or their intended purpose,

it would be difficult for me to take a position.

Illinois is the only state that does not permit law abiding citizens to carry firearms for personal protection.

Many surveys, including one from the University of Chicago, demonstrate that in areas where law abiding citizens are allowed to carry firearms for personal protection, crime rates have dramatically decreased. I believe that people have the right to defend themselves and therefore, support the right of the people to keep and bare arms.

I support the use of the death penalty as I believe that certain offenses demand the death penalty.

However, more rigorous standards of evidence should be applied, such as many of the recommendations put forth from the commitee that reviewed the death penalty.

These items included videotaped confessions, depositions, more rigorous use of DNA, etc.