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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Office sought: 42nd District Senate
Family: Married for 23 yrs to Patricia, children: Samantha 19, Amanda 15 & Alexander 13
Occupation: President and CEO
Education: attended Institute of Engineering, Lima, Peru
Civic involvement: Board Member of the Diocese of Joliet Finance Council, Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the Lake-Kinzie Industrial Leadership, Member of the Hispanic Ministry of St, Mary Immaculate, Active member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Pro-Life Activist
Elected offices held: Park District Commissioner
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Poviding an economic environment in Illinois that will lead to meaningful and long-term job creation. By reducing taxes, enacting common-sense reforms to our worker's compensation program and ending our state's fiscal crisis, small, medium and large businesses will have a stable environment in which to grow and put Illinoisans back to work.
Key Issue 2
Nothing we do to improve the quality of life for our citizens will succeed unless we curtail the ever-increasing tax burden on individuals and families. The temporary tax increases on both individuals and business must be rolled back in order to give our citizens more control over their lives and allow them the freedom to use their hard-earned income as they see fit - rather than Springfield.
Key Issue 3
In order to truly understand how our tax dollars are spent and for what purposes, we must implement a comprehensive audit of all state programs and spending. Programs that are duplicative or that simply don't work must be weeded out in order to provide funding for those programs that are truly beneficial. Across the board cuts, or trimming programs such as Medicaid prescription coverage like my opponent voted for, are no substitute for a reasoned review of spending that hasn't been accomplished for years. The "way we've always done things" is an excuse, but not a good reason for the fiscal crisis we face.
How would you fix the state's pension gap? Should pension costs be shifted to suburban school districts? Why or why not? Should this issue be voted on in a lame-duck session? Why or why not? How can partisan gridlock be eased to solve the crisis?
I have not committed to any specific solution due to a lack of actuarial data to back up any claim of a viable fix. I would fight for a complete and open discussion of this issue throughout the upcoming legislative session, so that all viewpoints may be heard and debated. I am not convinced as of yet that any changes for current and retired employees are possible due to Constitutional language that seems to prohibit such action.
The pension shift, like other ideas, should have a full debate on the merits of the proposal. I in no case would support the shift to local school districts while the state maintains control over the setting of pension benefits. Currently, it seems the GA likes this idea solely because they know it would take the burden of a tough decision from their desks and would pass it off to someone else for a potentially unpopular solution.
No issue of any substance should be voted on in a lame-duck session. Major issues require a full and open discussion on the merits, not a quick vote by some legislators who know they can vote without any thought to the will of the voters of their districts.
Partisan gridlock can only be overcome when the power of the leadership is broken. We can no longer tolerate a General Assembly (GA) that puts off all major issues for the waning hours of a session in order to ram through plans and actions dictated to the members without debate. Only when the major issues of the day are decided openly will the citizens have a voice and ownership of the direction of the state.
How, specifically, would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a "deadbeat state?" How will you vote on future gambling bills? What is your view of slots at racetracks? Casino expansion?
First and foremost, I favor a complete review and audit of all state programs to determine their continued viability. In approving a budget without debate and open discussion, we have undoubtedly allowed many programs that are no longer successful - or needed - to continue at a huge waste to the taxpayers. A complete review of all programs should begin on day one of the session in committee and continue through the development of a new budget that redistributes available revenue more competently and fairly.
Illinois will always be known as a "deadbeat" state until we can pay down all of our overdue bills. It is symptomatic of the current GA and process that, even with massive tax increases in 2011, we remain as far behind on overdue bills as in the past. The Governor and legislative leadership need to get serious about solving problems, not just remain serious about who wins the next election.
I do not believe that the GA can continue to promote new gambling initiatives simply for the tax revenue they may generate, therefore I would oppose new initiatives.
Per my previous answer, I believe the GA routinely approves an expansion of gambling in Illinois simply as a revenue stream, with no thought of the potential consequences to our residents and communities.
What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears?
We can improve the economy by improving the tax and regulation climate throughout Illinois. Reducing taxation and state spending, along with reasonable reforms to our workmen's compensation programs and liability law would go a long way to bring us back into a competitive balance with neighboring states for business expansion.
Per my previous answer, job growth will follow from assisting Illinois business to become more competitive in both national and international markets. These actions, combined with continued emphasis on promoting quality education are the best ways the GA and its members can assist.
I do not believe that the tax breaks given during this past session were well thought out, but are a direct result of the negative business climate in place due to our poor policies of taxation, inadequate workmen's compensation guidelines and lack of tort reform. In effect, the GA effectively handed out a significant portion of the increased business taxes gathered from all state businesses to just three large corporations -- a redistribution of wealth from thousands of small businesses to major corporations and political contributors.
Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during an election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not? Do you support or oppose campaign contribution limits? Please explain.
Yes. Concentrating the fund-raising mechanism in the hands of the existing leadership has contributed to the broken legislative process that Illinois is forced to live with today.
When elected, I plan to assess the merits of each candidate for leader of the Senate caucus and make my determination at that time, given the make-up of the coming General Assembly session.
I do support reasonable campaign contribution limits to try to balance the playing field between incumbents, challengers and those who may be able to fund their own campaigns with extensive personal assets. While I have no specific plan in mind, it is in the interest of an open political system that some balance must be found between individual and organizational interests to allow all who desire to serve to have an opportunity to have their ideas and message heard in the public arena.
Should gay marriage be legalized in Illinois? Should it be voted on in a lame-duck session as civil unions were? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception? How would you vote on a concealed carry plan? Should the death penalty return?
(gay marriage) No, and no issue of substance should be approved in a lame-duck session without an extensive and open debate of all facets of the issue in question.
(define life) Yes. If we, as a state, are truly committed to serving all of our people then care must begin neo-natal and continue through the end of natural life.
(concealed carry) Although I would like to see specific language before endorsing any proposed legislation, I am in favor of some form of concealed carry in Illinois. I also favor eliminating problems arising from the transport of otherwise legal weapons across Illinois by out-of-state residents.
(death penalty) No.