Mark Neerhof: Candidate Profile
58th 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: Lake Forest
Office sought: 58th District Representative
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Dordt College, 1980 Doctor of Osteopathy, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, 1984
Civic involvement: Founder Illinois Chapter, Docs 4 Patient Care Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Society of Gynecologic Investigation Society for the Investigation of Hypertension in Pregnancy American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
We must keep taxes low so that people have money to spend here in Illinois.
The personal income tax increase could not have come at worse time.
Instead of looking for ways to spend less money the Democrats in Springfield raised taxes on everyone and we are still in big economic trouble.
Some people in Springfield think we can tax ourselves out of the problem that has built up over the last generation.
They are wrong.
We must allow people to have more of their own money to create economic activity here in Illinois and increase our revenues in Springfield.
Forming an environment for private sector job growth is an equally important part of my campaign.
Illinois has fantastic potential, but the policies put in place by Springfield insiders, makes it hard for any business whether large or small to want to stay in Illinois if given a chance to move elsewhere.
Illinois is not job creator friendly.
Legislators must give Illinois employers a sense of job stability.
I would vote to reverse the almost 50% tax increase the Democrats placed on businesses and work toward reducing fees to do business in Illinois.
Doing this will allow Illinois to be a leader in job growth and innovation instead of struggling economically and headed for bankruptcy.
Key Issue 2
The pension system for public employees must be reformed.
The status quo for pensions is unsustaibable.
While honoring obligations that have been made to date, we must take control of the pension system out of the hands of the legislature and put the control into the hands of the individual employees.
Toward that end, we must move toward a defined contribution system.
Key Issue 3
If elected I would be the only physician in the Illinois State House.
My experience practicing medicine over the last 20 years caring for Medicaid makes me uniquely qualified to lead the reform of this program.
Currently according to the Taxpayer Action Board, Medicaid accounts for over 40% of our general revenue fund spending.
20% of Illinoisans, yes, 1 in 5 are now on some form of the program.
The program has ballooned out of control and it is compromising availability of care for those who are truly in need.
I by no means want to get rid of Medicare, but I want to reform the program so those who actually need it are cared for.
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?
Illinois would not need to supply tax breaks to businesses if Illinois was on an equal playing field with other states, particularly our neighbors.
We have an unemployment rate in Illinois that is not acceptable and we can ill afford to lose any major employers.
Taxes should be as low as possible and should apply equally to all employers.
To give selective tax breaks to larger employers that have more political clout is crony capitalism at its worst.
The goal of an effective tax strategy is to eliminate poverty, not wealth.
Most of our legislators in Springfield do not grasp this concept. When the majority of legislators do, Illinois will again be a leader for business growth and personal prosperity.
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?
I believe contributing to a campaign or an organization is a form of free speech.
I would remove all campaign contribution caps, but increase transparency by requiring prompt campaign finance disclosure online.
The campaign finance laws passed by Governor Quinn do nothing to prevent corruption; they only increase political party power, while not meaningfully increasing transparency in the campaign process.
If elected, I will vote for the current leader of my caucus, but I will always be principled and vote my conscience.
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?
1. Medicaid reform 2. Pension reform
Medicaid and pensions are the greatest short and long term threats, respectively, to the Illinois budget.
While there is much talk of slashing wasteful spending, tinkering around the edges of the status quo will not solve our fiscal mess. We need bold reform of the major cost drivers.
Illinois lawmakers must tackle big issues like Pension and Medicaid reform if we are to put Illinois on sound fiscal footing.
I do not support any increase in gambling in Illinois or slots at racetracks.
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?
For the safety of public employees, I believe control of the pension system should be taken out of the hands of the legislators and placed under the control of individual employees.
Although SB 512 was a good initial step, I would prefer moving solely to a defined contribution program in the future, but honoring the committments made to employees to date.
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 is between one man and one woman.
On the issue of life, I do not believe we should focus on issues about which there will be no consensus such as when life begins.
Rather, consideration of issues such as parental consent and public funding of abortion services would be more germane.
I would support a concealed carry law in Illinois.
I believe the death penalty should be reinstated for individuals unequivocally proven guilty of the most heinous crimes.