Kelly Mazeski: Candidate Profile

26th State Senate District (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. Jump to:BioQA Bio City: BarringtonWebsite: info@kellymazeski.comTwitter: Candidate did not respond.Facebook: Candidate did not respond.Office sought: 26th State Senate District Age: 57Family: Husband and two children, ages 25 and 23.Occupation: Community VolunteerEducation: BS in Biology - Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, INCivic involvement: Illinois Environmental Council Board Member, 2014 - current. President of Northern Door Neighbors Association, Door County, WI, 2012 -2013. Sierra Club, member. Citizens for Conservation, member.Elected offices held: Barrington Hills Plan Commission, Plan Commissioner, 2010 - present, North Barrington Board of Trustees, Trustee, 2004-2005, North Barrington Zoning Board of Appeals, Vice Chairman and Board Member, 1994 - 2004Questions Answers What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? Will you vote for your current legislative leader? What is your position on term limits in general and specifically for legislative leaders? Do you support the ongoing drive for a constitutional amendment on redistricting? What will you do to promote implementation of any changes you recommend?I support a redistricting process like that proposed by Independent Maps that would ensure local elections are competitive, fair and more transparent. I also support term limits for leadership because voters don't have the power to limit leaders' terms through elections. A change of leadership can lead to fresh ideas, discourage partisanship and encourage coalition building. If redistricting reform and leadership term limits are passed, while allowing voters to continue to impose term limits by voting elected officials out of office, then I believe the gridlock, partisanship and corruption that exists in our state would be greatly reduced.Would you vote for an increase in state income taxes or sales taxes? Would you vote for new taxes, such as on services? What is your position on a graduated income tax?Residents need relief from taxes, not more of them. I do not support any increases in income, sales or property taxes. I also do not support a graduated income tax as it would place an unfair burden on my district. Generally speaking, I do not support new taxes or tax increases of any kind. I do support a property tax freeze. The repeated practice of increasing taxes in Illinois without a well-defined, comprehensive goal has been irresponsible.What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.I firmly believe in a strong education system, especially since I was the first in my family to graduate from college. Education is the path to employment and a better quality of life. We need to update the school funding formula in a way that does not penalize suburban schools and explore significant measures that would force a much-needed change in funding sources, ensuring that good schools are present in communities of all income levels. The current system relies too much on property taxes, making funding even more unbalanced depending on where schools are located. We also need to view funding education as an investment in Illinois' future since a strong economy runs on a well-educated workforce. Community colleges provide much-needed job training while state universities provide companies of all sizes with white-collar workers. Money for education should not be used to meet budget needs elsewhere. An idea that involves creating a state fund that universities can access, dollar for dollar, as a reward for cutting unnecessary administrative costs and being efficient with taxpayer money is something that makes more sense versus cutting off much needed higher education funding.On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?I firmly believe that reducing the nearly 7,000 units of redundant, wasteful government in Illinois is paramount to getting the state fiscally back on track, reducing the tax burden on residents and increasing efficiency. The consolidation of townships, school districts and other entities must be considered without reducing the level of services provided to residents. I also do not support pensions and access to lifetime health insurance benefits for legislatures who essentially work a part-time job and will refuse to accept them for myself. Investing in a highly educated workforce will improve our economy, leading to jobs with higher incomes which will in turn, increase the tax base. Committing to high tech manufacturing, green jobs and renewable energy will also create thousands of jobs and additional revenue.What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?Illinois has over $100 billion in pension debt that must be dealt with now. We need speedy, sustainable reform that brings all parties to the table. Revisiting SB 2404 that gives employees a choice between pay or COLA increases is a practical place to start. Switching to a Defined Contribution plan from the Defined Benefit plan the state has in place remains questionable. A report by The National Institute on Retirement Security (February, 2015) discusses similar switches made by other states and concludes that this did not help the existing underfunding problem, and in fact, increased pension plan costs.What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?I have knocked on thousands of doors while campaigning, listening to voters in my district and learning what's important to them. I can confidently state that they want more civility and compromise in Illinois government and are very tired of the fighting and stand-off between leaders and parties. They want leaders who will actually lead, bringing all parties together to implement goals and achieve success. Legislators need to be less partisan and not tack on political agendas to negotiations. In order to find solutions for the urgent, complex problems that exist in our state, genuine bipartisan deliberation is absolutely necessary.Please name one current leader who most inspires you.Malala Yousafzai. After being shot by the Taliban for advocating the education of girls, she won the Nobel Prize for her activism and bravery.What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?There were many. Value family, be kind to others, find happiness in everyday life and read the newspaper - my parents read two a day.If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?After completing breast cancer treatment last year, I don't spend time reviewing the past. The future is what is most important to me now.What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?Organic Chemistry was my favorite due to professor Dr Feigl. She was extremely motivating, inspiring me to always work to the best of my ability.If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?Be true to yourself and live with integrity.