Thomas "Tom" Cullerton: Candidate Profile

23rd District Senate (Democrat)

Updated 9/21/2012 4:39 PM
  • Thomas "Tom" Cullerton, running for 23rd District Senate

    Thomas "Tom" Cullerton, running for 23rd District Senate



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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Villa Park


Office sought: 23rd District Senate

Age: 42

Family: Married to Stacey Cullerton, Three Children

Occupation: Route Sales for Hostess

Education: Kansas University; US Army

Civic involvement: DuPage County Water Commissioner DuPage Mayors Conference Member Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Volunteer at Chamber of Commerce Activities Veteran, United States Army ? Infantry Member Teamster Local 734 Member Knights of Columbus Member American Legion Little League Coach Volunteer Cub & Boy Scouts Neighborhood Watch Captain Citizens Police Academy Alumni

Elected offices held: Trustee of Villa Park ('05-'09) Mayor of Villa Park ('09-Present)

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Job creation is the number one issue. Although there has been some growth in DuPage County, we need to put people back to work. In Illinois we need to recruit new businesses to come here, retain businesses who are creating jobs in Illinois, and reinvest in infrastructure so businesses know Illinois is serious about its economic future.

Key Issue 2

The state needs to get its finances in order. Whether it be pension obligation or back bills we need to come together to fix this problem. As Mayor we were able to pass balanced budgets, fund our pensions, pay our bills, and avoid lay-offs. This was done by working with people and using common sense solutions. I will bring this first hand knowledge to Springfield to get things done.

Key Issue 3

Taxes and Education are the third issue but no less important than the previous. We are blessed in the 23rd district to have better than average schools. The fear though, is that the pension liability will be thrown on to local school districts moving already tight funds away from the classroom and to the pension funds. This will either lead to a tax increase on already cash strapped citizens or reduction in services. I am opposed to both.

Questions & Answers

How would you fix the state's pension gap? Should pension costs be shifted to suburban school districts? Why or why not? Should this issue be voted on in a lame-duck session? Why or why not? How can partisan gridlock be eased to solve the crisis?

As mentioned in question 3, I oppose this measure. Ideally it should not be voted on in the lame-duck session because the peoples voice will not be heard. I think that this issue isn't partisan isn't as much as it is regional. Going back to the original question, how I would fix the pension gap is by having the state required to cover a certain percentage of the liability and limiting pension holidays.

How, specifically, would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a "deadbeat state?" How will you vote on future gambling bills? What is your view of slots at racetracks? Casino expansion?

Everything should be on the table. We lose our status as a "deadbeat state" by paying our vendors before we start spending money. I support gaming. I am for the slots at the tracks and I am for Casino expansion.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears?

As a state Senator, it is my job to actively look for opportunities for businesses to come to the district. The same way as Mayor I have actively recruited and retained businesses in Villa Park. I think that tax breaks are an effective tool to recruit business but the state should only give tax breaks to businesses that create jobs.

Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during an election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not? Do you support or oppose campaign contribution limits? Please explain.

I am open to this discussion about the larger issue of campaign finance and the questions here are nuanced. I think that state has taken great strides in this area but their is still work to be done. As who will be the leader of my caucus, I have yet to hear who plans on running against the current leadership- I guarantee that at least 1 Cullerton will be running.

Should gay marriage be legalized in Illinois? Should it be voted on in a lame-duck session as civil unions were? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception? How would you vote on a concealed carry plan? Should the death penalty return?

Yes it should be legal, we should not deprive citizens of rights based off their personal choices. Again, Ideally no it shouldn't be voted on in the lame-duck session. Life should not be defined by the state. I would support concealed carry so long as there is a rigorous background check. The death penalty should return if we can assure that only guilty people are executed.