Back to 81st District Representative
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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.
City: Downers Grove
Family: Wife: Kevan Two Children: Clare & Jack
Occupation: Attorney at Gaido & Fintzen (Chicago and St. Charles)
Education: B.A.- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
J.D.- DePaul University College of Law
Civic involvement: Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Dist. 58 Foundation
Pierce Downer Elementary PTA
Downers Grove Moose
Elected offices held: Downers Grove Village Council 2003-2007
Mayor, Village of Downers Grove 2007-2011
State Senate 21st Dist., Nov. 2010 - Jan. 2012
State Representative 81st Dist., Jan. 2012-present
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?
It's time to roll back the midnight tax increase of a few years ago, because we can already see the devastating effect these tax increases have had on families and businesses. It has reduced productivity, tremendously burdened families, and cost our State thousands of jobs.
It's time to make things even-handed and far simpler so that we can grow our economy, create jobs and offer opportunities for families and businesses to prosper.
It's time we finally address pension reform, boldly. This means all must sacrifice in some way to rebuild and revitalize Illinois.
Our state must learn to prioritize, spend only what we have and begin to do what all families and businesses do: live within our means.
It's time we change state government by implementing term limits, instituting an Office of the Repealer and reduce the size, scope, expense and expanse of state government. The burden of governing cannot become a millstone around the necks of the governed.
State finances matter most and until we fix Illinois, our families and businesses will continue to struggle. As the State Representative for the 81st, I focus on the issues that matter to all Illinoisans -- seeking to reduce the size, scope, expense and expanse of state government, utilizing sacred tax dollars in a responsible manner, reforming government and doing everything possible to promote jobs and sustainable economic opportunity … all with the aim to return Illinois to the great state it once was.
I am ready to continue to further advance good government reform, fiscally sound spending, lower taxes and a brighter jobs and business environment.
What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?
Since I arrived in Springfield I have been a different type of legislator. I was the first member of the General Assembly to decline the offered state pension and health care benefits available to legislators. I did so because the state pension systems are a financial train-wreck in dire need of reform and part-time public servants should not get benefits designed for full time careers.
We need decision makers without conflict of being a member of the state run pension systems to continue to reform our massively unfunded pension plans. Since my decision to forgo the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) pension, over twenty new members of the Illinois General Assembly have followed my lead and rejected these same ‘benefits' as well.
I lead by example. Leading the charge for reasonable term limits for all state elected officials is another issue of importance and one that I accomplished on a local level when I was Mayor of Downers Grove.
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?
No. It is often said but bears repeating: Illinois has a spending problem! Illinois does NOT have a revenue problem. In fact, our state has never collected more revenue than now. The problem is clear. Our state has spent and spent and spent again… money it doesn't have. This addiction to spending has caused tremendous financial problems which affect each of us.
It's time to stop spending what we don't have. Our state must finally prioritize, spend only what we have and begin to do what all families and businesses do: Live within our means. To do this we must employ LEAN principles to increase efficiency and transparency in government.
We're constantly hearing new reports about fraud, waste and abuse in state government. Whether it's those gaming our pension or Medicaid systems or whether it's blatantly poor spending decisions (like lavish improvements at the Capitol), billions of tax dollars are being misused.
It's time to make state government spending far more accountable. To do that, we must:
* Audit all state spending more regularly and aggressively.
* Give the Auditor General enforcement tools beyond reporting out instances of fraud, waste and abuse.
* Reform the pension and Medicaid systems so we can spend publicly and fairly make long term decisions about how to prioritize our state tax dollars. It's time to recognize that priorities like education, roads, human services and public safety can no longer be ignored.
Please outline your views on public pensions in Illinois.
Almost all Illinoisans now know it: Illinois has the worst pension crisis in America with over $100 billion in unfunded liabilities. With so much of every dollar consumed by pension obligations, this crisis has many ancillary negative effects including neglected and deteriorating infrastructure, squeezed education resources, diminished public health conditions and higher cost of borrowing. In fact it is impossible to fix our state's financial condition without first undertaking meaningful pension reform. We simply cannot revive Illinois' economic future without fundamental reform to our pension system.
It is high time we finally address pension reform, boldly. We made a good initial first step with SB1, but there's more to do. This means all must sacrifice in some way to rebuild and revitalize Illinois.
We must boldly reform our public pension systems. To do that, we can:
* Ensure pay and benefits do not rise faster than the rate of inflation.
* Eliminate loop holes which permit some to game the system, including end of career pay spikes and double dipping. (See, HB 3760; "Retirement Means Retirement")
* End compounding imputed annual "inflation" increases of 3% and require pensionable salary cap equal to social security.
* Permit employees the ability to control their own retirement by offering a defined contribution system.
I supported SB 1 and will continue to fight to fix the fiscal future of this state and turn Illinois back to a prosperous state. Some say the SB1 goes too far - others complain it doesn't go nearly far enough. In the end, this pension reform bill is a good step in the right direction. To do nothing meant the over $100 billion in unfunded liabilities continues to grow another $5 million each day. This debt threatens each Illinoisan and is unacceptable.
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?
The concealed carry law is brand new; no experience has yet been gleaned to warrant any changes. I do not support any changes to existing state gun laws as they only affect law abiding citizens. Those committing crimes do not obtain FOID cards, CC licenses and typically obtain their guns illegally.
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?
Slot machines at horse racing tracks is something I could support. Compromising is always something a good legislator is open to -- if getting something positive accomplished is the goal.
On what issues would you would break with your party, or have you broken with your party, and why?
I have demonstrated that I am an independent-minded legislator who votes my district and conscience … and not just pursuant to any purported party guidelines.
In the area of tax breaks for business, I stood against the majority of my party and voted against Sears and Chicago Mercantile Exchange tax credits. I could not support these big business subsidies being burdened by small businesses and family taxpayers. The better way is to level the playing field for all businesses instead of hurting the small business owners that do not have the means to request a legislative tax credit.
During the marriage equality vote, I was one of three Republican House members to vote in favor of equality.
Pension reform is another example in which I broke from party lines to do what is right for Illinoisans. Voltaire reminds us "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" and that is why I voted in favor of SB1. While the bill is not perfect, it does set the stage to stop the $5 million per day growth on the $100 billion in unfunded liabilities and provides some future fiscal confirmation to present and future retirees.
What is your position on limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election?
Setting restrictions on financial contributions does not have the desired outcome of transparency and good government. Those who have the means to give larger donations will find a path toward their end goal. To achieve true effectiveness for the state, I favor term limits across the board as a measure of reigning in unfettered legislative/party control. I have filed a ten year term limit bill in previous legislatures and will continue to file this legislation until it is adopted.
If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not?
Yes, Leader Durkin is the newly elected Republican House Minority Leader and I have been appointed as one of the Floor Leaders for the caucus. I am looking forward to continuing to lead our caucus on the House floor as we debate the many important issues. As the House discusses critical issues such as pension reform and job creation, I consider it an honor and a privilege to help take the lead for the 47 Republicans who currently serve in the House of Representatives.
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 voted against the Sears and Chicago Mercantile Exchange deals. I believe these incentive deals are only offered to big companies and are ultimately paid for by small businesses and individual taxpayers.
I am fully against a subsided move from one municipality to another such is the case of ADM. The better policy is a taxing and regulatory environment which serves as a draw for new businesses and offers opportunity to increase employment.
Do you favor changing how Illinois sets new legislative district maps every 10 years? If so how?
Yes. I am filing legislation in the 2014 Illinois General Assembly Session to adopt redistricting rules similar to the Iowa process. We need a fair and balanced process of redistricting to stop the one-party domination of the Illinois legislative process.
Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?
Candidate did not respond.