Rory Welch: 2022 candidate for Illinois House District 57


Party: Republican

Office sought: Illinois House District 57

City: Northfield

Age: 59

Occupation: Consulting

Previous offices held: Sunset Ridge District 29 School Board


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: I believe we are at a point where we need term limits. Power should not be concentrated in the hands of any one individual or small group of individuals, and the longer legislators are in office, the more powerful they become. As Democrats continue to be indicted for corruption, the voters of Illinois have lost confidence in our state government. It is past time for real ethics reform. We must prevent legislators from serving as lobbyists and grant the Inspector General full investigative powers and the ability to issue subpoenas. If elected, I will introduce and support legislation toward this end. Our tax burden continues to drive businesses and residents out of the state. Real tax reform will require structural budget reform. We must control, limit, and reduce spending where we can. We can start by requiring balanced budgets and adhering to Revenue Estimates. All spending bills need to be fully vetted and allow for public comments and transparency.

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: JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats are using the federal aid received during the pandemic to mask our structural budget issues. Instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to address these issues and put us on solid footing longer term, they have continued to spend and attempt to raise our taxes. All state finances need proper oversight. Every program and department needs to be reviewed for possible efficiency improvements and to ensure they are necessary and if so, they are effectively meeting their charter. All Illinois taxpayers deserve relief. The current situation is not sustainable. We need to get back to focusing on the core responsibilities of government which include education, infrastructure, public safety, and creating an economic environment that encourages investment, hiring, and growth. Politicians should not be giving themselves pay raises, rather we need to solve our state debt issue which is primarily driven by our unfunded pension liability.

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: Educational opportunities are a core responsibility of government, and educational funding is a priority. My belief in the importance of public education is why I chose to run for our local school board. And while our overall tax burden is the 6th highest in the nation, our K-12 spending ranks 20th. This is a disgrace. I grew up poor and understand the value of education to create opportunities. It is critical that all schools receive the funding they need to create opportunities for all children. I support state funding for public education and will work with all legislators to ensure our public schools are adequately funded. While EBF (evidence based funding) is a good start, it needs to be a budget priority. Equality in education should be a core tenet that drives our decisions. We must provide more equality in education so low-income regions can provide opportunities for children to pursue their dreams. And, we need to ensure proper resources for STEM and the arts.

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

A: Election integrity is crucial to maintaining free and fair elections. We are fortunate to have dedicated professionals and volunteers that have maintained election integrity in Illinois, but we cannot be complacent. With the ever-changing challenges around security including physical, identity theft, and cyber security, we need to take proper steps to maintain the election integrity we have enjoyed in Illinois. In order to do this, I will support legislation such as that proposed by Republicans to remove voters from rolls who moved or are deceased, require photo identification to vote with free id for low-income citizens for purposes of voting, and improve reporting on voting methods and security around vote-by-mail ballots and ballot drop boxes.

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: The Supreme Court ruling does not change or affect Illinois abortion laws. Illinois abortion laws are among the most unrestricted in the nation allowing abortion across all stages of pregnancy, and Democrats repealed legislation that would have upheld a parent's right to know when their minor child had an abortion. I support parents' rights to know about medical procedures for their children when allowances are made for victims of abuse, as was the case in the PNA law before being repealed.

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