Anne Stava-Murray: 2022 candidate for Illinois House 81st District


Party: Democrat

Office sought: State Representative, 81st District

City: Naperville

Age: 36

Occupation: Full-time legislator

Previous offices held: Commissioner on the Naperville Board of Fire & Police


Q: What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? What is your position on term limits in general and for legislative leaders specifically?

A: Since becoming a state rep, I have been a firm supporter of term limits for legislative leaders. I was one of the first Democrats to not support Speaker Madigan and was able to bring in new leadership in the House.

I am also proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill that set the limit for all legislative leaders in the GA to 10 years. As for term limits in general, I believe that our elections are the ultimate term limit, which is why I work hard in my role as State Rep to ensure people in my community are heard.

With the change in leadership and the pandemic happening simultaneously, a lot has changed in how the House operates.

As we have learned to adapt, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Specifically, I hope to see ways in which we can allow for more witnesses to participate in committee hearings, like we were able to do with Zoom this past year.

With more transparent and accessible hearings, we will ultimately produce legislation that better serves our communities' needs.

Q: Federal assistance has enabled the state to make important advances toward improving its budget. What will you do to ensure these advances continue when the federal aid is gone?

A: I was proud to have helped pass a budget that gives financial relief to the people that need it most, taking a smart approach to stabilizing state finances while protecting critical services.

It supports our health care systems, directs millions of dollars in new public safety funding, and makes critical investments in education.

Through our efforts, we were able to eliminate our short-term debt turning it into a surplus and build our rainy-day fund, saving $1 billion in pension payments, and earning the state six upgrades in our credit rating.

We were able to reduce costs for families by eliminating the grocery tax, suspend the gas tax, and deliver new property tax rebates for homeowners.

I know that these efforts will set Illinois up for success going forward when federal aid is gone for continual balanced, fiscally responsible budgets and I am committed to continue to meet with financial experts to implement best practices as a state once the federal money is gone.

Q: To what extent are you happy or unhappy with the evidence-based model for education funding now in place in Illinois? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?

A: I helped pass this year's balanced budget that provides a $350 million increase in evidence-based funding for high-need schools and major education programs, including early childhood education, special-needs education and doubling a tax credit for the money teachers spend on classroom materials.

That said, I know that many local schools are still in need of greater resources to help students succeed.

I am committed to working to ensure our children receive a world-class education in classrooms that maximize individualized instruction while eliminating overreliance on property taxes and working to provide additional support to teachers and address the teacher and support staff shortage.

I am proud to be endorsed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association as a reflection of my commitment to fight for high-quality education for all students.

Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?

A: Yes, I believe Illinois has strong election policy and implementation. I firmly believe that the more people vote, the stronger our democracy is, and here in Illinois there is great strength in our electoral systems due largely in part to our expansive voting laws - many of which I am proud to have supported.

Voting laws that allow for every eligible voter to be able to participate in elections safely and securely, and without hassle. We have required universal voting centers in every county, made Election Day a state holiday and have required election authorities to strengthen cybersecurity measures.

As other states have enacted laws that restrict access to voting, Illinois has aimed to ease the processes for us to cast our votes.

Going forward, I hope to see improved access for disabled voters and strengthen language access provisions, among other measures.

Q: How well has Illinois responded to Supreme Court indications that it considers abortion, gay marriage and other social issues to be state, not federal, responsibilities? What if anything needs to be done in these areas and what would you do to make your vision come to pass?

A. Like many, I am horrified and frustrated by the decision from the Supreme Court to limit reproductive freedom and the discussions to take back gay marriage.

I believe an individual's right to choose is a fundamental human right and that is why I am a strong supporter of pro-choice legislation and will continue to advocate for complete access to reproductive health care.

I'm proud to have helped pass the legislation that codified Roe in Illinois, but we must make no mistake that extreme politicians will continue to work to exert power over women's bodies and if given the amount of power in Illinois, they will work to run back the clock in Illinois on same-sex marriage and other basic human rights.

If these decisions are going to be made up to the states, we must work to elect individuals up and down the ballot who share our same values who will fight to protect the work that we have done keeping individuals' rights protected here in Illinois.

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