Laura Pollastrini: Candidate Profile
42nd District Representative (Republican)
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: Carol Stream
Office sought: 42nd District Representative
Family: Single, never been married. 2nd of 5 children raised in Carol Stream by her parents, Albert & Christine Pollastrini who just celebrated 47 years of marriage.
Occupation: Licensed attorney and Government & Public Relations Specialist.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Loyola University of Chicago - 1989 (Double Minor, English & Theology). Juris Doctor, DePaul University College of Law - 2005.
Civic involvement: DuPage County Bar Association Member, active in several committees including Local Government Law, School Law, and Criminal Law. Justinian Society of Lawyers, DuPage County Chapter. Illinois Lincoln Excellence in Public Service Series, Treasurer (2007-2011), Governing Board Member (2007-2011), and Fellow (1995). Naperville Chamber of Commerce Member & Legislative Committee Member. Wayne Township Republican Party, Chairman (1998-2000), Vice Chairman 2010-Present, Elected Precinct Committeeman 1990 - Present. DuPage County Young Republican Organization, President (multiple terms), Vice President, Membership Chairman, Political Action Chairman, and Member 1990-2007. Tri-Count-Teas, Member. West Suburban Patriots, Member. Campaign Manager and Coordinator of a multitude of local candidates running for positions ranging from legislative, county board, township, and circuit court judge. St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.
Elected offices held: Elected DuPage County Regional Board of School Trustees Board Member (1995-Present) and Board Vice President 2007-2009 & 2011. Elected Carol Stream Library Board Member (1995-2002).
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
My Number 1 campaign issue is having Illinois live within its means! We must stop spending more than we're taking in! And we must stop borrowing to pay our debts and long-term commitments. That is a TOP priority! Illinois residents in their own households have budgets and live within them. It's incomprehensible that our State Government doesn't do the same. Saying NO to new programs, NO to expansion of old programs, and NO to the unbridled Democrat-controlled General Assembly MUST be the Number 1 issue for all legislators.
Key Issue 2
My Number 2 campaign issue is JOBS. We need to create a more business-friendly environment so as to ensure long-term growth here in Illinois, thereby leading to the creation of JOBS, something very much in need. Unstable business environments yield no growth at best, and diminishment of businesses at worst.
Stabilizing our business environment by 1)eliminating the corporate tax increase passed in January 2011; 2)addressing the numerous problems with the workman's comp laws; 3)treating all businesses fairly - not providing special perks to businesses that threaten to leave Illinois and doing nothing for the rest of the businesses. That'll make a good start!
Key Issue 3
My Number 3 campaign issue is dealing with Illinois' runaway pension problem caused by our Government Officials. I believe that first and foremost we need to make sure that whatever is done to address the pension system funding problem passes constitutional muster. Those who have earned a pension and have paid into it are entitled to have it when they retire.
What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears? For incumbents, how did you vote on the Sears plan in this fall's veto session?
To help the economy in the 42nd District, the State of Illinois must make the state more business friendly. As I walk door-to-door I have met numerous business owners who have said they HAVE money to expand their businesses, but between the higher corporate taxes (passed January 2011), innumerable regulations (both state and federal), and uncertain health care costs, they're just not willing to take the risks. IL must also address the absurd workman's compensation system which puts businesses on the hook for any injury where the job "could" have been a "contributing factor" rather than directly related to. There is also much anger out in the business community for the State's willingness to cut sweetheart deals with certain companies that have threatened to leave the State. IL government increased the corporate taxes during an extremely volatile economic environment and then proceeded to carve out exceptions (Motorola, Sears, Navistar, CME, etc.) for certain businesses. Such discrimination of smaller, less politically connected businesses has to stop. Smaller businesses have to accept what IL government throws at them, tighten their belts and make them work. Other businesses threaten to leave the state and are handed tax breaks and incentives. This kind of discrimination must end. Our businesses must know that they will be treated fairly, and right now, that's the farthest from the truth.
Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus' Why or why not?
Yes. I believe recent changes to ethics and campaign finance laws have made a significant change in the way government operates and campaigns are run here in Illinois, but Illinois maintains a "culture of corruption" that won't easily change. That recent ethics law enhancement included a major loophole, that being the non-capping of donations by party leaders.
As long as rank and file candidates are beholden to party leaders for funding, the culture of corruption in Illinois will continue, for candidates must heed the will of those leaders who have the financial power to make or break their future candidacies.
Candidates and elected officials remain beholden to party leaders for the very funds that put them into office in the first place.
Thus, they are not voting 100% in the interests of their districts, but instead, in the interest of the leader who provided them with the funds to win their races, or who will provide them with the funds to maintain their offices.
My first vote as a State Representative will be to elect a Leader of the Republican Caucus. I welcome a CHOICE and hope that experienced House leaders come forward to run. We need change in Springfield - that's a big reason why I am running. What's been happening down in Springfield has NOT been working. Very little in this State is working. We need fresh new ideas, and fresh new leadership. But more important than the Republican leader, I sincerely hope that the Democrat Caucus will elect to bring change, for 30 years of the same leadership that has dug Illinois deeper and deeper into the hole should face the highest of scrutiny as we work to rebuild our State.
How, specifically, would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a "deadbeat state?" How have you or will you vote on future gambling bills' What is your view of slots at racetracks' Casino expansion?
I have a number of recommendations for cutting the budget. First, Illinois has not done a line-by-line review of its budget for decades. Programs from one fiscal year are simply transferred to the next fiscal year without any accounting or review. Are the programs still operational? Are they getting results' Are there other programs similar in nature that can be combined, or duplicates eliminated? Many of these programs should be eliminated as duplicative. Additionally, there should be accountability and verification of eligibility for programs. When the majority of recipients of the Kids First Program are NOT residents of Illinois, and when only one paystub is required to show proof of income, something is wrong. When Public Aid recipients are simply transferred from one year to the next without accountability, something needs to change.
Second, there must be meaningful reform of Medicaid and the Pension system. These are the two biggest drains to the IL Budget, and state leaders have continued to "kick the can" down the road. Every year the Budget itself isn't addressed by the General Assembly until the last 2 weeks of the legislative session, which is incomprehensible. In a state with a severe budget crisis, the budget should've been first and foremost on the legislative agenda. It should be a continuing discussion from the day the session convenes till the day it adjourns. Illinois has a big budget problem - we need our elected officials to acknowledge that, and seriously address it. They have failed to do that now for years on end.
Finally, I would recommend paying everyone SOMETHING. Vendors are going sometimes over 200 days before getting paid, and then they read the newspapers and find that politically connected businesses and vendors are receiving full payment, and sometimes for bills not yet 2 weeks old. Vendors know the state is financially strapped, but again, if they feel they are being treated fairly, it's an easier pill to swallow. Thus, if all vendors are paid something towards the debts on a more regular basis, maybe some of our "deadbeat" image will dissipate.
As for future gambling - I would vote no. We have ten licenses already for casinos, we have horseracing, the Lottery, and countless revenue-generating "gambling" measures in our VFW's and fraternal lodges.
Then just a few years ago the State approved the option of slot machines in every municipality in the State of Illinois in establishments that serve liquor.
Finally, there's Bingo, raffles, etc.
Illinois is NOT lacking for gambling.
The point has been reached where there's TOO MUCH.
Adding another casino will not ADD revenue, it'll just spread it around, taking proceeds that would've gone to Elgin and moving them to DesPlaines or Joliet.
What do you specifically support to deal with the state's pension gap? Would you vote for House Republican Leader Tom Cross's three-tier pension plan? Why or why not?
The State needs to meet its pension obligations; however we are reaching a point where the state - based on the fault of government leaders - will not have the money to pay those pensions. We must be cognitive of the constitutional requirements concerning pensions, and that any changes made do not violate them. Leader Tom Cross proposed SB512, which is a first step towards filling the pension gap and offers current employees a choice. If they CHOOSE to switch to a different sort of pension system, they would have the right and ability to do so under SB512. However, we can't mandate such a switch, and regardless, if not enough employees make that switch, it may not do any good. So SB 512 is a good start, but won't alone solve the problem.
Going forward, the abuses of the pension system need to be halted. Multiple pensions, padding of salaries, working ONE DAY and being eligible for a $100,000+ pension is wrong.
The persons getting hurt are the state employees who've worked 30 years and are going to get a $20,000 a year pension, and the teachers/policemen/firemen that didn't pay into social security and are relying 100% on those pensions. The public isn't stupid, and they clearly see the abuse, which was conveyed to me at countless doors as I walked throughout the district.
We need to hone in on those abuses and free up funds to pay down that pension debt, and assure future retirees that the money they paid in for decades will be there for them to collect.
Should gay marriage be legalized? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception as others have? How would you vote on a concealed carry firearm plan? Should the death penalty be reinstated?
I believe marriage to include a man and a woman, but support civil unions between same-sex couples.
I would support the State of Illinois defining life as beginning at conception.
I would not only support a concealed carry firearm plan, I would sponsor it.
I would wholeheartedly support the reinstatement of the death penalty. I worked for nearly 10 years in the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office, primarily working with the most heinous and violent crimes as the State's Attorney's Press Officer. I spent time with the victims during the course of the court proceedings and watched as they tried to come to terms with the murders of loved ones who had been killed in inexplicable ways, only to have the healing undone when Death Row was emptied. We limit this ultimate punishment to those defendants who have committed extraordinarily heinous crimes. Reforms have been implemented in Illinois, and I trust that Judges and Juries can make that ultimate decision. Reinstate the Death Penalty!