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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: 70th District Representative
Family: Married to Dr. Mary Pritchard with two sons and 3 grandchildren
Occupation: Full-time legislator and manager of the family farms. Previously I worked for the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, DeKalb Genetics/Monsanto for 23 years, two universities, and an Iowa radio-TV station as on-air personality,
Education: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois, 1967, and Masters in Radio-TV Production and Direction from the University of Illinois 1968.
Civic involvement: I have served on the DeKalb County Board for 13 years (5 as chair), H-BR School Board for 8 years, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Board for 19 years, Precinct Committeeman for over 30 years, Ben Gordon Mental Health Center Board (and President) DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Hinckley Lions Club (president), Kishwaukee Rotary Club, 4-H Foundation Board (DeKalb County, state where I served as President, and national), national FFA Foundation Board, and National Ag Relations Council (board and President).
Elected offices held: Illinois State Representative (2003-present) DeKalb County Board (1990-2003) Hinckley-Big Rock School Board 1980-1988) Precinct Committeeman (1976-present) DeKalb County Farm Bureau Board 1984-2003)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Key Issue 1
Putting Illinois back on a responsible fiscal track: balanced budget, property tax reduction, pension reform, timely bill payments, and debt reduction
Key Issue 2
Job creation and improvement in the business climate so as to attract new businesses and encourage present businesses to expand in Illinois.
Key Issue 3
Continued actions to help prepare students for college and career success.
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?
First let me say I don't think there is partisan gridlock on the issue of pension reform. The speaker, president of the Senate and Governor refuse to negotiate and compromise on this issue. They control the debate and schedule for votes; Republicans and I am ready to stay in Springfield until a compromise is reached and legislation passed. I have written and spoken about the elements of the reform based on input from conversations with constituents, employees, retirees and experts. While a cost shift may be appropriate so that local employers share in the cost of their salary awards, it must be coupled with full state payments for transportation and education, plus more local control in operations. The state should "refinance" its unfunded liability so that annual payments are manageable. Contributions from employees should be increased to match the benefits they receive. The salaries used for pension calculations should averaged over a longer time period than at present. Cost of Living adjustments should be delayed until the recipient reaches age 67. I support a hybrid plan of defined contributions and benefits. Employee contributions to the state pensions should be with after tax dollars. I continue to urge all parties to come to the negtiation table and work out an solution.
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 been consistent in my opposition to gambling expansion. It is pointless to discuss individual gambling items as nothing will be voted on if it isn't all inclusive. I have supported a balanced budget in the last two years through bipartisan member negotiations and prioritization. Such a procedure should continue. State programs should be reviewed for their effectiveness and efficiency. Reductions should be focused on those least effective. Operating efficiencies, reducting fraud and patronage, and no-bid contracts will reduce expenditures. Citizens have come to rely on government for too many services which have replaced personal choices and responsibilities. We must back away from socialism least we are willing to give up our freedoms and pay for the cost.
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 believe state economic development should be limited to infrastructure and workforce development that benefits all. I continue to support and work for improved workforce training, education and job placements. I have sponsored job fairs, connected individuals with the State's WorkNet, and sponsored legislation to help people prepare for career success. I will continue to work to improve our educational system, and business climate. Lower taxes, less red-tape, fair regulation and pro-jobs attitude from officials and agencies are places to start.
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.
Yes to limiting party leader financial influence, Yes to leader term limits and yes to contribution limits for all. Current contribution limits to candidates seem adequate but leaders need smaller limits. I value leadership change after a reasonable period so that more philosophies, styles and experiences can be drawn upon. There are many capable members of the General Assembly who can lead.
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 voted to end the death penalty because it didn't work as a deterent, cost more to prosecute than a life sentance, and was given to too many innocent individuals. My opinion has not changed. Illinois has civil unions which assures the rights and privilages of couples. I believe marriage is a religious contract between a man and a woman. I support the second amendment. Responsible individuals have the right to keep and bear arms. Any further qualifications are changing the constitutional rights of citizens. I believe that, scientifically, life begins at conception. While the fetis may not be sustained on its own outside of the woom, science has made it possible to support life independent of the mother. Such life has human rights that must be weighed with the well being of the mother. I do not support abortion, except to save the life of the mother, and continue to support adoption of the infant for those mothers who don't want the child after delivery.