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updated: 9/21/2012 4:41 PM

Arie Friedman: Candidate Profile

29th District Senate (Republican)

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  • Arie Friedman, running for 29th District Senate

    Arie Friedman, running for 29th District Senate




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: Highland Park


Office sought: 29th District Senate

Age: 46

Family: Married to Michelle Rosenthal. 5 children - 3 daughters and 2 sons. My oldest daughter just graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Civil Engineering.

Occupation: Pediatrician

Education: M.D., with Honors, University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Medicine, 1998 B.A. in Biology, University of Chicago, 1987

Civic involvement: Fellow, Academy of Wilderness Medicine, 2009 - present Health Care Coalition Director, Illinois GOP, 2010 - present National Director of Physician Outreach, National Republican Congressional Committee, 2010 - present Advisory Board, Family Network, Highland Park, IL, 2003 - present Chairman of Pediatrics, Condell Medical Center, 2002 - 2005 Vice-Chairman of Pediatrics, Condell Medical Center, 2001 - 2002 Volunteer Pediatrician, Mundelein Free Clinic, 2001 - 2004 Leadership Circle, Republican Jewish Coalition, 2011 - present Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, 2003 - present

Elected offices held: None

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Economic renewal and job creation.

Key Issue 2

Comprehensive public pension reform.

Key Issue 3

Comprehensive Medicaid reform.

Questions & Answers

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?

The greatest threat to our state?s fiscal solvency is our ever worsening pension gap. One of the truly tragic aspects of this situation is the fact that public pension system participants are some of the pillars of our society including police, firefighters, and teachers. We have a responsibility to these hard working public employees as well as the rest of our fellow citizens to resolve this situation in a manner that respects everyone?s best possible interests. If we do not address the current pension system shortfalls by 2045, almost 50% of all personal, corporate, and sales taxes will go exclusively to keep up with the pension obligations of the state. This will result in a completely unacceptable crowding out of essential services such as education, health care, and disability services (in which Illinois already ranks 51st in the country - behind even Puerto Rico). As such, I am a supporter of SB512, the Senate Republican Plan to bring pension costs back into line with what the state can afford while still respecting the needs of those who have chosen a career in public service. SB512 contains the following provisions (from Protects all benefits that have already been earned by retirees and current employees. Current employees are offered three choices going forward: 1. Their current defined benefit plan, with a higher employee contribution; 2. The less-costly defined benefit plan now offered to new employees, with a lower employee contribution; or 3. A new 401k-style plan, with a lower employee contribution. New employees are offered two choices: 1. The less-costly defined benefit plan now offered to them, with a lower employee contribution; or 2. A new 401k-style plan, with a lower employee contribution. The state makes the same contribution regardless of which plan employees choose. Employees are responsible for any additional costs of the plan they choose. The state also pays off the current $80+ Billion unfunded pension liability based on a responsible funding schedule. Senate Bill 512 reduces the costs of the state?s five pension plans AND improves their funding levels. By restructuring the plans, Senate Bill 512 stabilizes the pension contributions that the state must make over the next 30+ years and improves the health of the funds. Pension reform represents the most shamefully unfinished business in our state. I would support comprehensive pension reform regardless of when it came under consideration. I'm not sure what is meant by "partisan gridlock" in the case of Illinois Government. The Democrat party has been in control of the Governor's Mansion and both houses of the General Assembly for a decade. There is no partisan-based barrier to pension reform. Rather than using the GOP minority as a fig-leaf to avoid difficult decisions, I believe the career politicians in Springfield need to show leadership. If they can't - as they haven't on pension reform and so many other important economic issues - they should be replaced.

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?

It was a huge disappointment for fiscal conservatives such as myself when Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan, and Senate President Cullerton, enacted a budget that didn?t cut spending by a single penny. They took this action despite an extremely comprehensive budget cutting plan submitted by the Senate Republican Caucus. While I don?t agree with every single cut in the Republican ?Reality Check? Budget, it remains a great place to start the process of bringing Illinois?s spending back into line. The full plan can be found at Moody?s Investor Service recently downgraded Illinois?s credit rating from A1 to A2 giving our state the lowest credit rating in the country. Moody?s explained, The downgrade of the state's long-term debt follows a legislative session in which the state took no steps to implement lasting solutions to its severe pension under-funding or to its chronic bill payment delays. Failure to address these challenges undermines near- to intermediate-term prospects for fiscal recovery. I encourage everyone to read the actual Moody?s press release regarding their decision to downgrade our credit rating: Frankly, the pathway to reversing our status as a deadbeat state couldn?t be more clear. We must immediately begin paying our bills and take aggressive steps to fix our State?s critically dysfunctional pension system. While I would have to see the elements of future gambling bills before making a decision, I do not believe that more gaming venues will fix Illinois?s fiscal situation. As such, I am opposed to slots at racetracks or casino expansion. I also don't believe that Illinois can implement these without the risk of extensive corruption. While I would never commit one way or another on bills that haven't been written yet, I do not believe that Illinois can fix it's fiscal issues with gambling. I am not in favor of slots at racetracks nor casino expansion. I also do not believe that such changes can be carried out in Illinois without the extremely serious risk of worsening corruption.

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?

Illinois has a great deal of work to do in order to become a pro-job and pro-growth state. Recent surveys have consistently rated Illinois as one of the most business unfriendly states in the country. As a result, Illinois?s unemployment rate remains painfully high. The most important thing we can do to attract businesses to our state is to repeal last year?s unprecedented income tax increases. Once we demonstrate that we understand the job-killing nature of high taxes, job-creators will begin to appreciate that Illinois considers them assets rather than deep pockets. Additional measures that would help create jobs include meaningful reform of our legal, Worker's Compensation, and regulatory systems. Once last year?s tax increases went into effect, a number of companies made the business decision to leave Illinois unless they received some sort of relief. If these companies had not been encouraged to stay, thousands of Illinoisans would have lost their jobs. As a result, I supported the tax breaks that kept these companies and their jobs in our state.

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.

Party leader contributions to candidates should be strictly limited. At the present, party leaders are are allowed to give unlimited amounts of cash to their preferred candidates. In contrast, contributions from ordinary citizens are limited to $5000. Instead of returning power to the people as many had hoped, our current campaign finance law further consolidates the power of Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. I am unaware of anyone who intends to challenge Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno in 2013. If challengers come forward, I will evaluate their candidacies with the seriousness that the voters of my district should expect. I support campaign contribution limits due to Illinois's well known history of corruption surrounding unlimited campaign contributions. Moreover, I remain concerned about the way our current law is written. In particular, our current law prohibits individuals and businesses who do more than $50,000 of business with the state from contributing to constitutional officers (i.e. Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller). However, the law does not place the same restrictions on public employee unions. This loophole in the law allows unions to wield unfair influence over the political process. Unions and their PACs should operate with the same restrictions as all other entities in this state.

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?

Bipartisan civil unions legislation was only recently enacted into law. The purpose of this legislation was to make sure all Illinois couples enjoy equal rights in regards to inheritance, child custody, property rights, health care, etc. Before we take the step of legalizing gay marriage, I would want to see if the civil unions law succeeds in accomplishing this goal. As a small-government fiscal conservative, I am a strong supporter of measures that streamline and safeguard the civil and property rights of individuals. As a pediatrician, I am enthusiastically in favor of any law that supports stable and secure homes for children. I do not believe that any new or controversial legislation should be addressed in lame duck sessions. I am pro-choice. Illinois should not define life as beginning at conception. Licensing law-abiding private citizens to carry firearms remains an extremely controversial issue in the 29th District. Illinois is literally the last state in the country which prohibits civilians from carrying firearms under any circumstances. As such, I believe this issue must be approached with circumspection and care. For this reason and many more, I have asked Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran to serve as the chairman of my Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. After extensive consultation with the Sheriff and others, I have concluded that I would only consider voting for a license to carry law if - at the absolute minimum - it accomplished the following to my complete satisfaction: 1. No one with a violent criminal past or an unstable psychiatric illness would be able to obtain a license. 2. Local law enforcement would have input into the application process in order to screen out troubled individuals who do not technically have a criminal record or official psychiatric diagnosis. 3. The training required for a license is comprehensive. 4. The licensing system 100% pays for itself through fees on license applicants. 5. The license itself has a reasonably short expiration period (unlike Indiana which issues lifetime licenses). 6. The system has a methodology to revoke the licenses of people who are arrested for violent crimes. 7. The law adequately restricts carrying in sensitive areas such as schools, police stations, courts, and other government buildings. 8. No carrying would be allowed in bars or similar establishments. 9. Carrying would be prohibited if a license holder is under the influence of alcohol. 10. Businesses would be able to prohibit firearms on their premises by posting an approved sign. 11. There are adequate penalties for violating the above provisions including, at a minimum, the revocation of the license in question. 12. While lawfully carrying, license holders would be required to notify law enforcement officers of their status during any official encounter. 13. Finally, I would personally require that any proposed law have the overwhelming support of Illinois's law enforcement community. Decades after they were so cruelly murdered, the remains of some of John Wayne Gacy?s young victims remain unidentified. I believe there exist crimes so heinous that they warrant the death penalty. However, I will not vote to reinstate the death penalty unless I am completely convinced that it will be administered without bias and only when the verdict has been supported by the strongest possible scientific evidence.