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: 22nd District Senate
Family: Wife Veronica; Daughter, Claire, 10 yrs; Son, Lucien, 8 yrs.
Civic involvement: Various Community Organizations State Senate 2007-present
Elected offices held: State Senate 2007-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Traffic Tickets.
Key Issue 1
Jobs During my first term I was proud to have sponsored the Illinois Small Tax Credit expected to create over 20,000 news jobs and happy to support a $31 billion Capital Bill which is creating thousands of jobs throughout Illinois. Specifically the Capital Bill includes; $40 million and 500 jobs back for a building at Harper Community College in cooperation with local businesses; $18 million and 300 jobs for lifesaving access to St. Alexis Hospital at the I-90 Interchange and Barrington; $11 million and 200 jobs for tax credits for businesses that hire new employees in Elgin?s Riverwalk redevelopment. I also helped bring back $150,000 and retain 150 jobs at Siemens Energy in Elgin.
Key Issue 2
Tax Relief I have supported plans to double the property tax credit, double the education tax credit, and triple the earned income tax credit. I sponsored a small business tax credit, which provides small businesses with a $2,500 tax credit for each new employee they hired over the next year.
Key Issue 3
Government Reform I have been actively pursuing ethics reform as the chief sponsor of a joint resolution constitutional amendment to allow recall of a governor, I pushed through historic campaign finance reforms, and voted to remove former Governor Rod Blagojevich. In 2008, I co-sponsored and voted for historic pay-to-play legislation. In 2009 before talk of campaign contribution limits began, I filed one of the first campaign contribution limit bills (SB 1406) which was based on previous legislation supported by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Continuing to push the issue of contribution limits and campaign reform, I co-sponsored and supported the legislation that eventually became law (SB 1466); however, I know it is far from perfect. We need meaningful contribution limits on what political parties and legislative leaders can give to candidates; that is why I am a proud co-sponsor of SB 2532. I also eagerly await the recommendations of the campaign finance task force regarding other reforms.
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 served on the Governor?s bipartisan pension group this spring and I support the plan put forth to fix the system. This is an issue that needs to be comprehensively reformed as a whole and soon to restore our credit ratings and emerge from the financial abyss our state has spiraled into. I also voted to fully fund the state?s pension system without borrowing.
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 have supported very tough, yet necessary cuts in our state that have resulted in savings amounting in the billions over the past few years. It is in these times of economic turmoil that we must reign in state spending and take the appropriate measures to adequately restructure unnecessarily wasteful areas of government where needed. More areas that we could eliminate spending would be to sell off the state plane, streamline the number of government appointments, commissions, consolidation of other state offices. Another item I have brought up in the past would be to review all special state funds and statutory transfers out of the General Revenue Fund. We can better manage the allocation of those funds where it is needed more. I do not support increasing the number of casinos in the state, nor do I support slots at the racetracks, particularly any that may be located near the Grand Victoria Casino.
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?
During my first term I sponsored the IL Small Tax Credit, which is expected to create over 20,000 new jobs. I also voted in favor of the Capital Bill which is creating thousands of needed construction jobs throughout the state while providing much needed relief to our deteriorating infrastructure. Though I voted against the Sears and CME bill, because I believed it was harmful to my district, I would like to continue to do anything I can that will enable businesses thrive and hire employees who are provided healthcare and decent wages.
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 have been a strong supporter of campaign finance reform. I co-sponsored the pay-to-play legislation in 2008 (SB824). I also co-sponsored SB1466, a campaign finance reform bill that limits contributions. We must continue to be cognizant of campaign financing and ensure fairness in our democracy and electoral process. Although I believe in the leadership of Senate President Cullerton, I have filed legislation to term limit leaders to ten years.
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?
I support gay marriage, I am pro-choice, and I am against the death penalty. I am open to conceal carry.