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: 62nd District Representative
Family: My family has lived,worked, & owned small businesses in the 62nd district for three generations. I'm proud that my family is part of the fabric of this area & that I have had the opportunity as Avon Township Supervisor to give back to my community.
Occupation: I currently serve as the Avon Township Supervisor and also hold an Illinois Real Estate Broker?s license.
Education: I hold two Bachelor?s Degrees from DePaul University in Chicago where I studied, Public Policy and Administration, Political Science, and Urban Planning. I also hold an Illinois Real Estate Broker?s license.
Civic involvement: I have served as the Past President of the Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center Foundation Board. I currently serve on the Mano A Mano Family Resource Center Advisory Board as well as a member of the Exchange Club and the B.E.S.T organization.
Elected offices held: Avon Township Supervisor: 2009-Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
In a district that is plagued by unemployment and foreclosure, my number one campaign issue is jobs and economic growth. Illinois needs to develop a more comprehensive approach to attract businesses and retain them in the State. With Wisconsin just north of the 62nd District we, like any border district, run the risk of businesses jumping the State line for a more welcoming business climate.
Key Issue 2
My second campaign issue is to address comprehensive property tax reform. In a declining real estate market our property taxes continue to rise. As Avon Township Supervisor, I have cut the Township?s taxes by approximately 22% without reducing services. This has been done through innovation and collaboration with area organizations and other governmental entities. Illinois has the highest number of taxing entities in the country, and Lake County has the 16th highest property taxes in the nation. We need to find ways to streamline and consolidate units of government to improve efficiencies and reduce property taxes.
Key Issue 3
The third campaign issue I will be addressing is the need for governmental entities to reign-in spending and live within their means. As Avon Township Supervisor I have reduced operating costs at the Township through efficiency increase and disciplined fiscal management. In a time when governments are asking for more money, Avon Township posted a record surplus as a result of this disciplined financial approach. Since Avon Township is entirely debt-free, this surplus was returned to the taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.
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?
Frankly, I am disgusted that the Legislature has failed to address this issue in the past and has kicked the can down the road. This approach has created an inherently inequitable position for not only the taxpayers that are funding the pension system but has also created an unneeded level of uncertainty for those who are eligible for such pensions. I am a strong advocate for upholding the State?s contractual obligations and an even stronger advocate for developing a balanced budget. We have a constitutional obligation to protect those individuals who have paid into the system and have played by the rules. Since 1970, the State?s Constitution has guaranteed certain protections to those people who participate in the State?s pension system. That said, moving forward I would consider any of the current proposals including those brought forth by the Governor and leaders of both parties. Every legislator bears responsibility to contribute to the dialogue of which my opponent has been notably absent. Due to Constitutional requirements, the State has an obligation to honor its current commitments. However, moving forward, we need to address systemic changes to the public employee pension system, which may include greater employee contributions. Operating in the current structure of the State?s dysfunctional property tax system, I oppose shifting pension costs to already overburdened property tax payers. I do not have a fundamental problem paying a portion of the teacher?s pension liability with local taxes, Illinois needs to address the larger issue. Currently, Illinois has more taxing bodies than any other state in the country. Rather than applying a band-aid to the pension crisis, the State needs to address the huge waste that is created by perpetuating outdated and redundant levels of government that can be eliminated without reducing the level of services. The savings that can be achieved are massive and can be used to pay part of the pension liability without the need for further burdens on property tax payers. One reason I am running is because my opponent consistently takes party positions and blames others. I believe legislators have an obligation to work across partisan lines, particularly as it relates to our current pension crisis. When I ran for Avon Township Supervisor, I assembled a team of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents because I knew that in order to achieve our policy objectives we needed to have input from all sides of the political spectrum.
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 current budgetary crisis is a symptom of a greater problem and there are numerous issues that must be addressed statewide. Senator Dan Kotowski proposed and passed acclaimed legislation called Budgeting for Results. This legislation saves billions of dollars within the State?s budget and we can continue to build upon these gains. Secondly, Illinois has the highest number of taxing entities in the country. We need to consolidate and eliminate redundant layers of government to alleviate overall taxation pressure on the residents. And thirdly, our budgetary problems must also be addressed by expanding the State?s tax base by fostering economic growth through incubating new industry and technology. Until we do a combination of the above, Illinois? budgetary problems will continue to plague the State. Any future gaming bills must be based on a compelling reason for expansion and due diligence as opposed to the current approach of pacifying legislators from various parts of the State. Any decision to implement expansion must be reasonable and responsible, including the addition of slot machines to race tracks. We must insure that robust regulatory oversight is in place to protect the public interest. The allocation of appropriate funding to the Illinois Gaming Board, which provides regulatory oversight to the industry, must be included in any legislation. This funding should come directly from the gaming industry and the General Assembly should be legally prohibited from sweeping those funds for other uses.
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?
In my current position, I have already taken steps to help the local economy. The primary roadblock to economic development is local property taxes that in my district are among the highest in the country. As Avon Township Supervisor, my top priority has been lowering the township?s tax levies thereby providing property tax relief to the residents and businesses of the area. I have not only reduced the township?s levies by 22%, I have also been advocate for systemic reform to the Illinois Township Code and the Illinois Property Tax Code, which I believe act as a hindrance to local business development. The best way to create jobs in Illinois is to develop a more comprehensive approach to not only attract businesses, but to create a long-term friendly environment to retain them. Current parts of the 62nd district are slated for industrial and commercial development but require a state representative who will work to bring these projects to fruition. I believe that the policy around job creation should focus on incubating and supporting ?sunrise? industries which will provide jobs for decades to come. Illinois already has the tools to make this possible. We have some of the best universities and historically we have been a world leader in transportation and agribusiness. There are three areas that are ripe for economic development -- transportation, agribusiness, and renewable energy. Programs need to be developed that foster free enterprise by bringing together the State?s vast educational resources, business models that promote ?sunrise? industries, and the financial institutions that can finance their growth.
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.
Although the State recently implemented notable campaign finance legislation, the reforms did not go far enough. Stricter limits should be placed on the amount of money that political parties and leadership can contribute to any candidate and the law needs to focus more heavily on transparency in campaign finance. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court?s ruling in Citizens United has opened a Pandora?s box that threatens to distort our system and allow corporate interests to hijack public policy. It?s a tragic state of affairs that campaigns have become more concerned with fundraising than debating policy. It?s equally tragic that candidates for the State Legislature are seldom considered relevant without the help of party leadership. To date, I have outraised my opponent without accepting money my party. If elected, I will be a proponent of further reforms to our system. I am willing to review the qualifications of any individual that brings forth his/her nomination for party leader. I will not commit to voting for a specific person until I have a proper opportunity to review all potential candidates.
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 do not believe that government should be in the business of marriage and that marriage should solely be a religious institution. Since government decided to enter the business of marriage it now has a responsibility to administer those legal rights equitability to both opposite and same sex couples. I do not believe that the government should be legislating on the issue of when life begins. It is a matter of personal belief and faith. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership. I would be willing to review any legislation brought forth on the issue. I do not believe the death penalty should be reinstated.