Elaine Nekritz: Candidate Profile
57th District Representative
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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: 57th District Representative
Family: Married to Barry Nekritz. Barry has two children and we have four grandchildren.
Occupation: Full time legislator
Education: Bachelors, Economics, Trinity University, 1979 Juris Doctor, University of Michigan, 1982
Civic involvement: National Council of Jewish Women-Chicago North Shore Section (State Public Affairs Chair and Vice President) Village of Northbrook Community Relations Commission -- Chairman Northbrook Community Network Volunteer Information Center of Glenview/Northbrook Glenview Values Project Active Transportation Alliance (formerly Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) -- Board member Glenview League of Women Voters
Elected offices held: State Representative, 2002 to present Democratic Committeeman, Northfield Township, 1999 to 2005
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Speeding tickets
Key Issue 1
We must continue working to address the state's fiscal problems.
The budget remains the most important issue and requires a multi-pronged solution.
First, we must continue making spending cuts.
Second, government must reform its service delivery models to become more modern and streamlined.
Third, we need to make changes to the state pension systems.
Key Issue 2
We must also focus on bringing integrity to legislative and government processes.
I support opening up the legislative process and providing individual members greater authority over their bills.
It is critical to allow more opportunity for public scrutiny and input on legislation, including the most significant piece of legislation, the budget.
Key Issue 3
I will work to continue to provide quality, timely, effective and thoughtful constituent services.
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?
Businesses in Illinois need certainty and predictability.
Our state budget has been so out of balance that we have not been able to pay our bills when they are due or provide timely services.
The most important thing a state legislator can do is work toward a fiscally sound state budget.
That is why I opposed the tax breaks granted to Sears and CME this fall.
Our state treasury does not have money to give away.
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 voted to establish the first ever campaign contribution limits in Illinois.
I also support imposing limits on transfers from legislative leaders to other campaign committees.
To my knowledge, however, there is no data -- either empirical or anecdotal -- which would support the hypothesis that limits on campaign contributions have the desired effect of removing the influence of money in politics.
In the almost forty years that campaign contribution limits have been in effect for federal elections, the cost of campaigns and the relentless pursuit of contributions has continually escalated.
Rather than capping the money coming into campaigns, it would be more effective to limit spending.
But given the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, where the Court held that corporations may spend unlimited amounts on independent campaign expenditures, it is highly unlikely that the Court will overturn the long standing decision that campaign spending is protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
The members of the House Democratic caucus include white, black, Hispanic, city, suburban and downstate legislators.
We are pro-choice, pro-life, pro-gun control and strongly pro Second Amendment.
We represent strong regional interests.
We are as diverse as Illinois and therefore it is an extremely difficult job to keep the group together and working toward any kind of common agenda.
Speaker Michael J. Madigan works very hard at listening to our divergent opinions and developing legislation that will meet our various goals.
Whoever serves as Speaker of the House, I support changes to the procedural rules that govern House operations in order to open up the legislative process.
The rules give almost exclusive authority over legislation to the Speaker and the Rules Committee.
Our rules are among the most onerous in the nation and I would like to see the procedures opened up to give individual members greater autonomy and authority and to provide more opportunity for input by the public.
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?
Last spring, the House utilized a different budgeting process.
We agreed, unanimously, on an annual revenue projection and then agreed to spend not one penny more.
The House Appropriations Committees worked on a bi-partisan basis to make the necessary cuts to live within our means.
I anticipate we will do the same for the next fiscal year and I support that process.
It was very effective in making the necessary cuts.
In order to pay the backlog of bills, we must continue to be disciplined in our budgeting and spending so that there are revenues with which to reduce the unpaid bills.
I did not support the gambling legislation that came before the House earlier this year.
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 have twice voted for Tom Cross' pension legislation in committee.
While I do not believe it is a perfect piece of legislation, I believe it is important to demonstrate my support for changes to the existing system.
At this time, the state is forecasting that all our new revenues for the next fiscal year (approximately $950 million) will be required to pay the increase in the pension payment (estimated at just under $1 billion).
That is not affordable for the state nor sustainable for the pension systems.
All other state funding needs - for education, health care, the disabled, etc - are being crowded out by the payment into our pensions.
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 supported the legislation to create civil unions in Illinois.
Illinois should not define life as beginning at conception.
I will vote no on a concealed carry firearm plan.
I supported the abolition of the death penalty and will not support any reinstatement.
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