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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: 42nd District Senate
Family: Mom, sister and brother in Chicago suburbs, 1 sister in San Diego and 2 nieces and one nephew.
Occupation: State Senator (District 42)
Education: BA - National College of Education (Became National Louis University)
Civic involvement: Sit on and founded numerous neighborhood and community organizations. I also have a large history of volunteer work with groups like the Brookfield Zoo and Naperville Humane Society. I am also very active with the MS society.
Elected offices held: Kane County Board Member and Kane County Forest Preserve Member (Elected 2004, resigned January 2007) Illinois Senate District 42 (Elected November, 2006)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Jobs, especially small business.
Key Issue 2
With my business background, I am very dedicated to balancing the budget and living within our means.
Key Issue 3
Using the upcoming Session to come to an agreement with the stakeholders and pass comprehensive pension reform.
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 don?t believe it is fair or constitutional to diminish pension benefits. The state made a poor decision to not fully fund their annual obligation, employees should not be responsible. To arrive at a solution we must collaborate, and all voices should be heard. I have worked towards creating a more sustainable program. I have voted to give new hires the opportunity to save or invest their money if they want a higher retirement income. I would also support changes that would require longer hours, an older retirement age, or increased payments toward their pensions as long as these groups are at the table and agree to these provisions.
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?
I am an advocate for streamlining government in order to balance the budget. Last year I introduced a bill that proposed the elimination of boards and commissions that were no longer currently active but are still receiving state funds. Though this bill was not called, I haven?t given up; I am working on language to re-introduce it next section. I also believe that the state can reduce certain board and commission salaries (such as those that meet infrequently) and have them receive reimbursement for expenses only. One of the most important bills I passed last session was SB3794 creating the Financial Reporting Standards Board Act.The Auditor General?s report last year found that the state?s current way of financial reporting is comprised of over 250 different, costly accounting systems. And over 80% of the outdated systems were not compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are used to compare expenses and income, among other things.Those factors had generated untimely financial reporting of the true financial position of the State, harming the State?s bond rating and jeopardizing federal funding opportunities. I worked with Senator Tom Johnson to draft legislation to begin addressing this situation. We held hearings during the past year and drafted legislation with the Comptroller?s office and input from the Auditor General that will insure that state agencies complete and submit an initial audit to an advisory board. Agencies will be assisted during the GAAP process and will prepare and submit the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on a timely basis as required by law. This measure was signed into law by the Governor on 8/23/2012. Although I support bringing a casino to Chicago to attract out-of-state tourists, I fear the current bill (which passed both chambers, but has not been signed by the Governor) will take business away from existing casinos, many of which are already experiencing steadily declining revenues. I believe this massive gaming expansion will significantly hurt revenues at the Aurora and Joliet casinos, which will be accompanied by major layoffs. Slot machines at horse race tracks will also separate the Chicago market from the suburbs by ringing Chicago with the ?racinos.?
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?
I support offering incentives for businesses in the extension of Enterprise zones. In Aurora the state?s River Edge tax credit has been extremely beneficial in cleaning up contaminated property along the Fox River and the creation of River?s Edge Park and Stage for community events is underway. I cosponsored SB3241, which was an Unemployed Veteran?s Tax Credit. This bill offered a 20% tax credit to businesses that hire an unemployed veteran who served in active duty after September 11, 2001. I felt this measure was good for business and an appropriate measure to encourage employment of those who have served the country. ?I have always been a proponent in helping small businesses. Prior to being elected to the Senate I was the owner of a remodeling company for over 20 years, which employed five people. For years I have advocated allowing small companies to join a pool with those in similar businesses in order to provide affordable health insurance to their employees. There would be no State dollars required for this measure. We need more investment in infrastructure that is utilized for more extensive construction than just resurfacing roads. Road resurfacing only created a very limited number of jobs. If we started addressing failing bridges, added in schools, hospitals and facility construction we would employ many more types of workers. In addition, the construction of these types of sites would also result in permanent jobs once completed. I think we need to develop a serious model for private/public partnerships. I was the Chief sponsor of SB 621, now Public Act 97-0097, which created a partnership school between Aurora University and the four school districts (districts 129, 131, 204 and 308) in Aurora. The school will serve approximately 500 third-through-eighth grade students with an academic proficiency in math and science. We created the vehicle and now the college is raising the funds through local businesses. We at the state have a commitment toward education of our residents and the local businesses desire a skilled workforce. Working together, this can be achieved without the financial burden on the state and taxpayers. We need to continue to explore and develop creative options like this.
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.
I will continue to support transparency measures and campaign financing reform. We need to be cautious so we do not create a situation where only the wealthy who can finance their own campaigns will have the opportunity to be elected. The current General Assembly is comprised of people from very diverse backgrounds and different economic backgrounds, similar to the population in Illinois. I believe strict reporting standards and transparency are of the utmost importance. I will decide on my vote for leadership of my caucus after the November election.
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?