Back to 81st District Representative
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.
City: Downers Grove
Family: Married to Dawn and raising Drew (9), Quin (7) and twins Megan and Bryce (3)
Occupation: Social Studies Teacher at Waubonsie Valley High School
Education: BA Political Science, Purdue University
MS Education, Purdue University
MA Education Administration, North Central College
Civic involvement: Puffer PTA Member, American Cancer Society Relay for Life Volunteer, Rotary Grove Fest Volunteer, IHSA Gymnastics Official
Elected offices held: Member, Community High School District 99 Board of Education -- Elected in 2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is that?
The initial motivation to run was Mr. Sandack's record. His positions and voting record resemble that of a Chicago Democrat. I am part of a middle class family and fully understand the burdens the Democrats in Springfield have placed on us, because we are painfully living it. We cannot afford more taxation, more businesses leaving Illinois, more over regulation, more pension debt crisis, more failing schools or further loss of our core values and principles. I believe I would give the strongest voice to what our fellow citizens in the 81st District are experiencing economically in Illinois, as well as credibility in solving the pension crisis and other critical issues.
What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?
I am the clear conservative in this race who will fight for middle class families. I will be a state representative who will wholeheartedly support a reform-centered agenda. Unfortunately, Mr. Sandack has not and will not, because he is a tax and spend career politician whose word simply cannot be trusted to be in the best interest of the people of the 81st District. He said he would support the death penalty, but voted to abolish it. He said he would oppose expansion of gambling, but voted to expand gambling. He also says he supports lowering taxes, but was a key sponsor of the DuPage ‘rain tax' and voted for Speaker Madigan's pension plan, both of which will increase taxes. Lastly, he said he would support a constitutional amendment that would define marriage between one man and one woman, but a year later voted to legalize same sex marriage. How can anyone be sure what Mr. Sandack believes when he changes his mind so quickly on issues important to the district he claims to represent? Voters deserve a representative who has their best interests in mind. Mr. Sandack's voting record leaves no doubt who he represents: he represents monied special interest groups. I will represent the district. The choice is clear.
Would you vote to make Illinois' temporary income tax hike permanent before it expires in January 2015? If not, how will you replace the billions of dollars the tax hike brought in, or what cuts would you make?
I will not make the 67% tax increase permanent, nor would I vote to replace it with a progressive tax, to do so would be unconscionable. The best way to increase revenue is to create jobs and opportunity. However, the current economic climate under the one party rule of the Democrats suggests that hard working people are guaranteed to see increased taxes. Illinois has the 4th highest unemployment rate in the country. The state also has the 4th highest corporate tax rate and has seen over 640,000 businesses leave Illinois since 2000. One person leaves Illinois every 11 minutes, at this rate who will be left to tax? Raising taxes is not the answer, but it's been the easy way out for career politicians who refuse to deal honestly with debt, unemployment and migration out of Illinois.
Please outline your views on public pensions in Illinois.
Mr. Sandack's vote for the latest pension fix was one that maintains a failing pension model, while providing political cover for House Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Democrats who are causing families to flee our state. The new pension law is another in a long line of temporary fixes and soon-to-be-broken promises that hurts taxpayers and public employees. It does not protect the solvency of public sector pensions and sets us on a path to higher taxes. Already there are rumblings of making the temporary tax hike permanent, passing a progressive income tax, and hiking property taxes as a direct result. We should all expect our elected representatives to have more respect for taxpayers and public employees. Enough respect to vote against a back-room deal hatched by Speaker Madigan, enough respect to allow the public more than 36 hours to read and comment on the bill and enough respect to ASK the people of the 81st District their opinion. Mr. Sandack decided on his own that he had sufficiently "thought through the bill." I support true pension reform that honors the agreements we've made to hardworking public employees and protects the families and taxpayers in our community. Mr. Sandack believes he voted for real pension reform. What he voted for was another false promise and an automatic tax hike at the expense of those he was elected to serve.
What changes would you make to the state's new concealed carry law, if any? Would you change the number of exempted places where people cannot carry? In what way? Would you change the training requirements? In what way? Do you support restricting assault weapons? High-capacity magazines?
As a member of National Rifle Association, I support the Constitution's 2nd Amendment right for citizens to keep and bear arms. This includes support for Illinois' conceal and carry law, without additional restrictions. If any changes are made, it should be after the law has been implemented to determine whether or not it is working according to the intent of the General Assembly. Sadly, more gun restrictions would not have avoided the horrific tragedies in Newtown, Colorado and other places. If there is an area that deserves focus, it is the mental health aspect and how we can possibly pre-empt tragedies with people that are troubled. The Founding Fathers created the 2nd Amendment because of their experience with the British government, who attempted to take away their firearms as colonists and prevent their defending themselves from British tyranny. More restrictions on our fundamental Constitutional rights to me equals more government intrusion and the erosion of our personal liberties.
Which of the following do you support: New casinos, slot machines at horse racing tracks, gambling on the Internet? Would you approve legislation that includes all of the above in order to compromise and get the parts that you want?
I am not in favor of expanding gambling throughout Illinois period. Gambling is an addictive behavior and one the General Assembly should not be in the business of condoning. In doing so, elected officials like Mr. Sandack are encouraging addictive behavior in order to pay for our state's massive debt obligations, while continuing to perpetuate a negative economic climate.
On what issues would you would break with your party, or have you broken with your party, and why?
My first loyalty is to the people of our district and not to any party. I view myself as an independent conservative who will fight for Illinois families in Springfield. The (R) after my name will stand for reform not party affiliation, because that is what is badly needed in the General Assembly. We need someone who will help reform, restore and renew Illinois, not be another ally for Mike Madigan.
What is your position on limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election?
I think the appearance of accepting money from party leaders is unseemly and only serves to reinforce the notion in most people's minds that all politicians are crooks. While this common practice in Illinois is legal, it is basically another form of cronyism and pay-to-play politics. Mr. Sandack, however, could answer this question better than I, since he has accepted thousands of dollars from party leaders during this current election cycle. These transactions are basically political favors. I am not interested in doing favors in Springfield; I am only interested in doing what is right.
If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not?
I plan on voting for a leader that is as committed as I am to fighting for Illinois families. I also want to support someone that is not afraid to stand up to Speaker Madigan and will make clear policy distinctions between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans need a person that can unify the party and articulate a vision and a message that will allow it to become the majority party again in Springfield.
What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears, and should state tax breaks be given to companies moving from one Illinois municipality to another?
I am not a big fan of the way the General Assembly has awarded massive tax breaks to large corporations, but I understand why they feel it has been necessary to do so. What else can Speaker Madigan and the Democrats do to get Illinois out of the mess they created? What I do not understand is why Springfield will not give these same tax breaks to small businesses and middle class families? Our government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. I would help create sensible policies that would make Illinois attractive again for small and large businesses, such as lowering the corporate tax rate to 5% - the same as our neighbor Indiana.
Do you favor changing how Illinois sets new legislative district maps every 10 years? If so how?
I am strongly in favor of reforming how Illinois develops its redistricting maps and would support the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment. An old saying states that absolute power corrupts absolutely and currently the Democrats have absolute power. Cook County basically controls the remapping process for the entire state through Speaker Madigan. Having four commissioners from each party, plus three independent commissioners would help restore people's faith in government that the system is not entirely rigged for the politically favored.
Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?
I am a person who has worked hard his entire life to help make a positive impact in people's lives. I have been recognized as Illinois Teacher of the Year (2012) for law and government and IHSA Coach of the Year (2008) in gymnastics, because of the wonderful students I have been fortunate to interact with. As a teacher and coach, you have to work with students where they are at, which means being a problem solver. Teachers do not have the luxury, as politicians do, to talk in circles about problems. We have an obligation to act and to do so decisively. I have been an effective problem solver throughout my career, because I listen and empower others to reach beyond their respective grasp. I feel these qualities will prove to be an asset in Springfield
I am also a person others can trust. Parents have entrusted me with their precious children to educate and coach them to the best of my ability. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. People have also placed their trust in me as a school board member. They know I have kept my promises to directly address issues surrounding transparency, accountability, increasing academic standards and reducing administrative costs and retirement/pension obligations, while voting against excessive tax levies.
As an award winning teacher and conscientious school board member, I have been a tireless advocate for children and taxpayers. However, the most important role I have is that of husband and father of four. In this capacity I am fearful that my kids and all children will not have the same opportunities I had in being able to afford college, having a good job or being able to raise a family in the State of Illinois. Illinois is out of time and cannot afford to continue along the road to becoming a larger version of Detroit. We need problem solvers, not career politicians.