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updated: 9/21/2012 4:30 PM

Andrew Bernard: Candidate Profile

50th District Representative (Democrat)

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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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Batavia


Office sought: 50th District Representative

Age: 24

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Insurance and Investment Services

Education: University of Illinois at Chicago Master of Public Administration (MPA) -Concentrations in (1) Financial Management and (2) Local Government Administration Illinois State University Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Civic involvement: Democratic Chairman of the Geneva Township Committeeman, Geneva Precinct 17

Elected offices held: Democratic Chairman of the Geneva Township Committeeman, Geneva Precinct 17

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

TAX RELIEF: The government can create more jobs by fixing our state's regressive tax structure. Currently Illinois is only one of seven states that maintain a flat rate income tax. This type of taxation system is the primary cause for Illinois having to raise taxes on all workers in Illinois; therefore, hurting small businesses and halting new job opportunities. I support a graduated taxation system that would have allowed the middle-class to keep the tax rate of 3 percent; contrary to raising their taxes to 5 percent. I strongly believe that raising taxes on the middle-class is harmful to the economy and stunts job creation. The best solution for Illinois is to adopt a progressive income tax system and lower the tax rate for middle-class residents. This taxation system would have allowed the General Assembly to leave the income tax rates untouched for the middle-class. When the middle-class residents pay less in taxes, they will spend more, and stimulate the economy. In other words, Illinois businesses will need more employees when businesses are growing stronger.

Key Issue 2

JOB CREATION: I support investing in new infrastructure in Illinois. Investing in new infrastructure will create new job opportunities, improve our current systems for the public, and raise the economic value of our state. Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; thus, creating new job opportunities. Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which in return, will create new revenue and jobs. This will also increase state revenue over time with the new businesses that will develop in Illinois.

Key Issue 3

WELFARE REFORM: A major change that I would make in Illinois is the way our public assistance programs function. I support a plan that requires recipients of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to pass a drug screening in order to receive funding. This will help ensure that those receiving cash are using public funds wisely and not abusing the system. Many residents I have spoken to are clearly concerned that their tax dollars are not being spent responsibly. This program will help restore trust in our system by ensuring that those who use the funds are hard working residents who are trying to get back on their feet. This program will protect the reputation and dignity of those on public assistance who truly need help.

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?

Illinois must honor its current pension obligations, but make modifications for future employees. The issue of pensions should be solved as soon as possible in a bipartisan effort to ease our state's financial crisis. Illinois must close the loopholes that are allowing people to receive pensions who simply do not deserve them. Illinois must work to stop any form of pension abuse. I do not beleive that the pension costs should be shifted to suburban school districts. Many school districts are having financial hardships and cannot afford to spend anymore. Shifting the burden to suburban school districts will take away educational resources from the students.

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?

Illinois can fix its status as a "deadbeat state" by holding their elected officials accountable for not living within their budget. Elected officials should focus less on getting reelected and more on standing up for solutions that will fix our state. For example, our flat tax structure is harmful to our state and our elected officials need to speak more of the broken system. I would support cutting the budget with the following actions: (1) Cut the General Assembly salary; (2) Consolidate the Treasurer's Office and the Comptroller?s Office; (3) Move Medicaid to a managed care system; (4) Remove Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for those who test positive in a drug screening; and (5) Demand pension reform for incoming government employees. The positive points of increasing the number of casinos in Illinois would be the creation of new jobs, increased state revenue, and more tourists that will spend money in our state. That being said, Illinois must be cautious of who gets a license for gambling. For example, it is important to give the Illinois Gaming Board acceptable time to review license applications for items such as gaming machines. I am not opposed to new gaming in Illinois, but want to make sure that all of the regulations are followed to protect consumers and be in the best interest of the state.

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?

As a representative, I would hold multiple job fairs similar to other elected officials statewide. Job fairs would help residents of the 50th district find employment that fits their needs. Specifically, I would support tax breaks and incentives for local businesses to hire new employees. I support financial incentives and tax breaks for businesses that choose to operate and invest in Illinois. Illinois needs to become a business friendly state that encourages businesses to locate here. This will help create more jobs and revenue for Illinois long-term. Illinois must focusing on keeping jobs and guarantee that these tax breaks are resulting in more jobs for Illinois.

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 favor campaign contribution limits for all individuals, party leaders, and corporations. Electing candidates should be up to the people and based on issues; not based on connections to big money. Money needs to be removed from politics as much as possible and should become more issue oriented.

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?

The Illinois General Assembly must tackle our economic crisis before debating social issues. These issues are being used to distract the general public from our high unemployment, unfair tax increases on the middle-class, and our $13 billion deficit. Our main focus needs to be on fixing the economy. I would vote in favor of a concealed carry law. This is an issue of public safety. Responsible citizens should have the right to protect themselves against armed criminals who will carry a firearm regardless of the law. I am not in favor of returning the death penalty. Little evidence has been shown that the death penalty prevents violent crime. There have been too many people sentenced to death that have been found to be innocent.