45th District Representative Burke: Candidate Profile
45th District Representative (Democrat)
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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.
Family: My husband's name is Pat and we have three children. Sam is 14, Julia is 13, and Ben is 8.
Occupation: Legal Analyst
Education: DePaul University College of Law Juris Doctorate, Certificate in Health Law 1997 â€" 2001 DePaul University M.S., Health Law and Policy, Public Services Graduate Program 1996 â€" 2001 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), English Language and Literature, General 1990 â€" 1995
Civic involvement: School Board, Itasca District 10 Board Member May 2011 â€" Present Friends of Springbrook Nature Center Board Member May 2011 â€" Present DePaul Journal of Health Care Law Text Editor, Staff Writer 1998 â€" 2001
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
How will you work to make the General Assembly function more productively and effectively? Wlll you vote to retain your party's current legislative leader? In what specific ways do you support changing how government in Springfield works?
I became involved in my local school board when my kids started school. My fellow board members, and myself serve as volunteers because we care about our childrenâ€™s education. Our kids are more important than politics. We need this same focus in Springfield. Iâ€™ll work with members of the General Assembly, regardless of party in a bipartisan manner. Upon taking office, I will be accountable to my constituents. As I go door-to-door introducing myself, many residents say they rarely hear from their elected officials. If elected, I will make sure that I never lose touch with those who elected me.
If the Supreme Court, strikes down the SB 1 pension reform, what is your Plan B and why do you think it would be both legal and effective?
The pension situation in Illinois is a complex issue. This problem didnâ€™t occur overnight, and our current situation is the result of years of failure to make sufficient contributions. I believe our priority must be to work to ensure retirement funds remain solvent so those who have contributed will continue to receive their benefits. When changes are made to public sector pension funds, it must be done in a manner that is fair to taxpayers. I believe when major changes are made, all stakeholders deserve to contribute and must have the ability to provide input with regard to reform measures.
As it stands now, the 2011 income tax increase will expire as planned on Jan. 1. Do you think that expiration should be reconsidered? Would you support making the increase permanent or extending it for some period of time? Please be specific about what level of tax increase, if any, you would support.
I do not support the extension of the income tax increase. Everyday as I talk to voters I hear their frustration with regards to the tax increase. I feel that a promise is a promise and because people were told the increase would expire, we should keep it temporary.
Do you support cuts in state spending? If so, what specifically do you suggest cutting and how will those cuts be sufficient to restore the state's financial health and economic climate?
When families are struggling to make ends meet, they have to make sacrifices in order to cover the costs of the basics. The state of Illinois must do the same in order to protect funding for vital services such as education, health care, public safety, and programs for seniors and veterans. Areas of cost savings include cutting the state air fleet, reducing legislatorâ€™s pay by 10% and restricting further pay increases in the future, including cost of living adjustments. I feel before politicians can raise their pay, they should require voter approval.
What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education? Would you support the the so-called pension cost-shift to local schools?
As a mother and a school board member, I feel that education is one of the most important issues facing our state. We must work to form partnerships with local teachers, education groups, and parents to get input on how the state can help give students the best education possible. We must support local school districts, but many decisions relative to public education should be made on the local level. I donâ€™t believe that pension costs should be shifted. Local property owners are already overburdened. Implementing a cost-shift for pensions would be another pressure on Illinois families.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The most important issue facing the state of Illinois is its fiscal condition. Without putting our fiscal house in order and working to ensure the state is living within its means, we will continue to face challenges including increased payments on debt-financing services, loss of jobs to other states, and high unemployment. This issue creates a ripple effect that ends with higher taxes and less services. My priority will be to work to create greater accountability for decisions made regarding state finances and how we spend taxpayer money. I believe more accountability leads to better decisions and a stronger Illinois.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Though not a leader in the public-sense of the term, I have always been inspired by my motherâ€™s leadership and commitment to her family.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
By high school graduation I had lived in five states and ten cities. I've learned that people share the same hopes for the future.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I feel that life is full of lessons and I wouldnâ€™t trade one hard-learned lesson for one lucky break.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I always appreciated Literature in school. I've much enjoyed the ability of stories to teach about oneâ€™s self and the world of which we live.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be a credit to your community.