Corinne Pierog knows economic growth would help the state of Illinois fix its financial problems.
The St. Charles resident also understands the state has to address its mushrooming public pension burden, Medicaid costs and health care costs for state retirees.
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Pierog just wants to make sure the more vulnerable members of society -- especially children -- aren't forgotten in the debates.
Pierog, 60, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 25th District state senate seat. She faces Steven Hunter of Geneva in the March 20 primary.
When talking about Gov. Pat Quinn's idea to shift the state's teachers' pension payment responsibilities to local school districts, she doesn't necessarily dismiss the idea outright.
"The very first thing we have to consider, before we consider anything else, is the effect upon the children," she says. If local districts have to find money in their budget for that, it will affect how much they can spend on educational services, she believes.
Pierog is acquainted with schools' needs since she is a St. Charles School District 303 board member. She also operates a consulting firm that specializes in leadership education, and teaches at Illinois Valley Community College.
Pierog has a master's of business administration degree. "That academic training is very important right now," she said, adding that knowing about budgets, spreadsheets and program analysis is "a critical component of good governance now."
Pierog said her work experience in the nonprofit human resources arena helps her understand workers' needs, noting there are more than 4,600 human resource employees in the 25th District. "I want to make sure those organizations' bills are paid (the state funding they are owed)," she says.
The state's lagging payments also could affect what it can do to reduce Medicaid costs, she believes. Pierog thinks late payments could lead to a shortage of Medicaid-accepting doctors. She also believes Medicaid has to move to more of a managed-care system, and that state retirees should start paying part of their health insurance premiums.
Pierog ran unsuccessfully for the 28th District state senate seat in 2010, losing to Republican John Millner.
If Pierog wins in March, she would face either Jim Oberweis, Dave Richmond or Richard Slocum in the November general election.