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updated: 9/21/2012 4:39 PM

Carole Pankau: Candidate Profile

23rd District Senate (Republican)

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  • Carole Pankau, running for 23rd District Senate

    Carole Pankau, running for 23rd 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: Itasca


Office sought: 23rd District Senate

Age: 65

Family: I have been married to my husband John for 43 Years, we have 4 kids, and 11 grandkids.

Occupation: State Senator Small business owner

Education: BS - Accounting from the University of Illinois - Class of 1981

Civic involvement: Kenneyville District 20 School Board Member for 8 years A DuPage County Board member from 1984-1992 State Representative from 1993 to 2004 Currently serves as the State Senator from the 23rd Senate District. Currently serves on the Commerce Committee as the Minority Spokesperson, as well as the Public Health Committee, Energy Committee, State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee and Environment Committee. DuPage Board of Health for 4 years DuPage Housing Authority for 3 years Member of 8 local Chambers of Commerce

Elected offices held: Kenneyville District 20 School Board Member for 8 years A DuPage County Board member from 1984-1992 State Representative from 1993 to 2004 Currently serves as the State Senator from the 23rd Senate District.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Creating good paying local jobs

Key Issue 2

Immediate pension reform

Key Issue 3

Repealing the 67% tax increase, as well as working to reduce local property taxes

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?

At this moment, the sustainability of our pension system is the single greatest threat facing our state. I believe we must act swiftly to reduce our unfunded pension liability by reforming the pension system. We cannot reduce pension benefits of those workers who have already earned them, however moving forward all workers in the pension system will be asked to help bring the system to a sustainable level. One reform idea that I believe has some real potential is the ?Cap ? And ? Age? proposal brought forward by Senator Chris Lauzen. This legislation caps the total payout that an individual can receive from state backed pension systems, and prevents individuals from taking any pension benefits until they turn 62. The ?Cap-And-Age? proposal, Leader Cross?s proposal, the Civic Committee proposal, and legislation similar to SB3168, all have viable reforms that can, and should, be incorporated into a larger bill to truly reform our broken pension system.

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?

The Senate Republicans outlined a menu of possible cuts that is highlighted at The menu is a detailed description of an alternative-spending plan that could balance our State?s budget. A number of these cuts I could support, including, but not limited to, implementing the Medicaid recapture audit, moving eligibility levels in certain Medicaid programs to the national average to ensure their solvency, combining the Treasurer and Comptroller offices, and reducing the number of government appointments and commissions. If we want to fix our status as a deadbeat state, we must stop spending more than we take in! Expansion of gaming seems to come up every single year in Springfield, and yet, for many reasons, these proposals never seem to become law. In light of the current economic crisis in our state, we need to aggressively explore all options that will help put Illinois families back to work. I voted in favor of the recent gaming expansion law. I support slots at racetracks.

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?

To begin to help companies, large and small, we need to remove onerous fees associated with setting up or renewing a business in this state. For example, if you choose to renew a business license online, there is an automatic fee assessed that is not charged if you were to renew a license on paper ? this is a needless fee, and discourages efficiency in state government. There are dozens of other small fees and fines that add up and cost business millions of dollars each year. Having a reliable and predictable business tax system, where businesses know their costs in this state, will result in more businesses staying in Illinois, or possibly returning from other states. We must repeal the corporate tax hike that is driving business out of our state. One of the most important issues that business owner?s mention to me is that we must bring some level of predictability to our state?s business environment. Most business owners understand that they need to pay taxes, and the overwhelming majority are okay with paying their fair share. However, the General Assembly keeps tacking on fees, new taxes and other ?revenue enhancements? that do not allow a business to plan for their future. I was unavailable for the final vote on the Sears legislation, but I initially voted no on the bill that was originally passed by the Senate. I voted for Navistar. I voted for Motorola ? and now when we look back on this legislation with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we see that tax incentives like this do not mean long term good paying jobs, as Motorola is currently laying off thousands of Illinois workers.

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 would support capping donations from state party leaders to candidates during a general election. I think it is a privilege that I was able to cast a vote for the first Woman Republican Leader, and I intend to do so again. Leader Radogno has done an excellent job working within our caucus to present ideas and legislation that generates debate and discussion across our state, I am proud to have an opportunity to spearhead some of these initiatives.

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?

Currently, civil unions are the law in Illinois. I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. While I believe life begins at conception, my attention remains on solving our state?s financial crisis. Ours is the only state in the nation that entirely prohibits concealed carry by law-abiding citizens. I would consider a concealed carry proposal if it included enough safeguards and was endorsed by our law enforcement community. I believe there are heinous crimes that still warrant the death penalty. With that being said, I would only vote for its return if the rules ensured it could be administered without bias and only when the evidence proved guilt beyond any shadow of a doubt.