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.
City: St. Charles
Office sought: 25th District Senate
Family: Married, three children, three granddaughters.
Occupation: Consultant, Principal of Sustainable Leadhership Solutions.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of California Irvine, 1975 Master of Arts, San Francisco State University, 1979 Master of Business Administration, Roosevelt University, 2005
Civic involvement: St. Charles Housing Commission, appointed member.
Elected offices held: St. Charles D 303 School Board, 2009 - current
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Jobs: We must secure a more stable future through economic growth. We need to reinvigorate our state as a hub of transportation, agriculture, education and innovation. Our entrepreneurs and small businesses must be given the tools and training they need to succeed and create jobs.
Key Issue 2
Education: Unemployment and underemployment plague our community ? this has unfortunately become the norm. Our workforce must have the skills to meet the growing demands of an innovative and technologically driven economy. We need to support STEM education for our children and job retraining opportunities for displaced workers.
Key Issue 3
Suburban downtown community development: We need to prioritize suburban downtown community development by encouraging public/private business partnerships. The best thing I can do as a State Senator is to make sure our communities are supported.
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?
How would you fix the state?s pension gap? Comprehensive reforms will need to be implemented to create a more fiscally sound system which does not compromise employee retirement security and public employer competitiveness. Illinois? pension system must do a better job of improving employee?s retirement security. Most public employees in Illinois do not participate in Social Security, leaving their State of Illinois pension as their primary source of retirement savings. Illinois must create guarantees for funding pension systems. A statutory funding guarantee would ensure that all future state government contributions are made in full when they are due. In Illinois the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund benefits from this type of mandated payments and is fully funded. But before policy changes can be made finding common ground from all stakeholders is essential and respect for our current retires is mandatory. Should pension costs be shifted to suburban school districts? Why or why not? While shifting the state?s normal cost obligations onto school districts may provide some relief to the state?s budget it will not mitigate these financial obligations, and will instead push them onto school districts that, on average, already derive the majority of their revenue from local sources. One of the grave concerns I have about this proposal is that Springfield seems perfectly content to shift all of the costs onto universities and school districts while maintaining legislative control over the design of the benefits package. If this legislation passes I would then suggest that the pensions then be decentralized to allow for local control. For example, a state university might want to offer a more generous pension that matches what faculty would receive at other universities, while a state government agency might opt for a different mix of salary and pension contributions. Should this issue be voted on in a lame duck session? Why or why not? If this question addresses partisan politics the vote may go either way. A legislature may vote with his /her party to show support, or with not having to worry about party allegiances he/she may vote their conscience. It is with hope that they do the later. Regardless the pension debt issue has to be addressed in an expedient and thoughtful manner How can partisan gridlock be eased to solve the crisis. Elected officials created this problem and together they must come to the table to develop equitable and fiscally sound solutions that do not sacrifice our employee retirement security and public employee compensation. A good idea is not partisan ? it is simply a way forward to solve a problem, at some point, the partisan politics has to end and the duty of governance must start.
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?
How specifically would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a ?deadbeat state??? I believe balancing the budget is crucial. In order to fix the status as a ?deadbeat? state Illinois needs to make significant cuts and reforms in multiple areas, including the tackling of pension compensation reform that reflects both fiscal sustainability and sensitivity to the State?s retirees and personnel. State government can be streamlined for greater efficiency and financial accountability. I would support such measures as reducing the number of government appointments and commissions; combining the Treasurer?s and Comptroller?s offices which would save Illinois taxpayer?s $12 million a year; renegotiating state contracts requiring the administration review all state contracts. On the short term, implementing a hiring and pay freeze would help would further assist in helping Illinois reduce its operating expenses. How will you vote on future gambling bills? What is your view of slots at racetracks? Casino expansion? I appreciate the difficulty of the implementation of new legalized gaming opportunities , but as Senate President Cullerton stated ? . . .the decision was made long ago to have gaming, so now we find ourselves setting policy for a multibillion-dollar business in heated competition with surrounding states.? A neighbor of mine who was employed at one of the Fox Valley?s local casinos has lost her job, because the casino had to look at measures to maintain its viability. While our casinos are not immune to the recession a lack of support for these gambling institutions will have a direct economic impact upon the Fox Valley as well as the agricultural industry which supports our racetracks. We must act responsibly and ethically but we must not disregard the real and positive economic impact that the gambling industry has upon our communities such as Elgin and Aurora, along with our local non-profit agencies. Revenue from gambling could also be segmented to support capital improvements for our schools including new science and innovation labs for Illinois? middle and high schools.
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?
The way forward is to begin to reinvest in talent and talent creation. I believe that investing in education is an investment in our economic future. Schools must provide a solid academic future for our children. It is projected that by the year 2018, 64% of Illinois? jobs will require some post-secondary training beyond that of high school, but in Illinois two million working adults have obtained only a high-school education, a great many, much less. We need partner with our local community colleges to encourage job training opportunities to insure that our workforce is skilled in the latest technological applications and skill needs. Illinois has to start talking about manufacturing as our future, not just something of the past. We need to identify and move forward with both short and a long term strategies for job development such as research hubs that would encourage a new generation of economic growth. Small and micro-businesses are part of the heart of our communities, and we must support them for they are the job creators. Tax breaks must be fairly metered out to all Illinois business, not just to our large multi-national corporations.
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.
The goal of campaign finance legislation is to remove the impact of powerful donors or PACs upon an elected official. I believe that there should be reasonable campaign contributions caps on individuals and corporations. We must work to increase transparency and fairness while keeping in mind the constitutionality of such reforms. Obviously the goal of publically funded campaigns is a lofty goal and one that will take time to achieve. The Senate President has any influence upon my campaign. While we have disagreed on issues, I have found the Senate President to be a thoughtful and collaborative leader.
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?
Should gay marriage bye legalized in Illinois? Should it be voted on in a lame-duck session as civil unions were? Protection and Civil Union Act (Senate Bill 1716) was signed by Governor Quinn on July 1, 2011, as stated it ?ensures that religious denominations are not forced to recognize or solemnize civil unions.? The Act expressly provides that: "Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any religious body. Any religious body, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group is free to choose whether or not to solemnize or officiate a civil union." I am in complete support of this legislation and would advocate as many other Illinois residents would legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception? I would ethically oppose this legislation. How would you vote on a concealed carry plan? I would consider legislation that allows concealed carry on a case by case basis ?may carry? rather than a blanket provision of ?shall carry?. All would have to be licensed and would have to participate and earn a gun training certificate. Should the death penalty return? No.