Pierog tries to unseat Oberweis in state Senate's 25th District

State Sen. Jim Oberweis and challenger Corinne Pierog agree on at least one thing.

Voters should be allowed a referendum to change how the state draws legislative district maps.

The Republican Oberweis and Democrat Pierog disagree on many points as Pierog seeks to knock Oberweis out of his 25th District seat.

Oberweis, of Sugar Grove, is in his first term.

During an endorsement interview, Oberweis said he thought hard about even running for a second term, given the stalemate in Springfield over the state's finances, including the inability to enact a 2015-16 budget and a full-year 2016-17 budget.

"To be honest with you, I never wanted to serve in Springfield. Some people asked me to run four years ago," Oberweis said.

"Quite frankly, it has been a very frustrating experience."

He's doing it "to help Gov. Rauner pass his common-sense agenda," Oberweis said. He supports Rauner's calls for a property tax freeze, revision of workers' compensation laws, the redistricting initiative, term limits, and lawsuit reform.

Rematch of 2012

Pierog, of St. Charles, ran against Oberweis in 2012. She has served on the school board for almost eight years.

She does not support converting state pension systems to defined-contribution plans, and she said she wonders if supporters are including the amount of Social Security taxes the state would then have to pay in their calculations.

Pierog is against a property-tax freeze, even with a provision for residents of a taxing district to increase the taxes via referendums. That control should be left to local elected officials, she said.

Pierog cited voters' denying a tax increase in the Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District, even when district officials said if there wasn't more money, service would be cut. "It really supersedes local control. ... They (voters) can vote them out (if they disagree)."

Oberweis quickly said that meant Pierog thinks voters are "too stupid" to be trusted with a tax decision.

Partisan politics

"(House Speaker) Michael Madigan is not the only person responsible for the things going on in Illinois," Pierog said. Each legislator should take responsibility for making decisions, she said.

Oberweis pointed out that legislators who have bucked Madigan risk losing their jobs. He cited as an example Democratic state Sen. Ken Dunkin of Chicago, who refused to vote to override a veto late last year. Madigan then supported Dunkin's opponent in the primary, and Dunkin lost.

Pierog cited her experience as a businesswoman and serving on the District 303 school board as pluses to working on the state's issues, including its overwhelming pension obligations.

"I don't vilify Republicans, and will never vilify Republicans. It's not us vs. them," Pierog said. She said she would invite members of both parties, on any issue, to bring their ideas and work for solutions, as she did on the school board. The school board is nonpartisan, but the area is heavily Republican.

Oberweis said Pierog "is blissfully naive, as I was" of how things work in Springfield. He expected the budgeting process to be like that of a business where managers make their cases for requests. He thought legislators could discuss the budget early in the process. But "we don't see it (the budget) until it is presented," Oberweis said.

The 25th District includes all or parts of Aurora, Bartlett, Batavia, Campton Hills, Elburn, Geneva, Montgomery, Naperville, North Aurora, Oswego, Plano, South Elgin, St. Charles, Sugar Grove, Warrenville, Wayne, West Chicago and Yorkville.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.