Richard Chapman: Candidate Profile

97th District Representative (Republican)

  • Richard Chapman, running for 97th District Representative

    Richard Chapman, running for 97th District Representative

Updated 2/14/2014 10:43 PM

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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.

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City: Shorewood


Office sought:

97th District Representative

Age: 67

Family: Wife Shirley, 3 children and 6 grandchildren

Occupation: Retired ExxonMobil

Education: Associates Degree Fire Science

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Civic involvement: Mayor, Lion's Club, Kiwanis, Rotary, American Legion Member

Past Volunteer Fire Fighter, Youth baseball,Youth Soccer, Girls Softball

Elected offices held: Trustee Village of Shorewood 8years, president of Shorewood Lions Club

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

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is that?

2. I have children and grandchildren living in the 97th representative district in Illinois. I have been involved in local politics for the past twenty years and have seen politics at the State level bring Illinois to its knees. I have been witness to the people who are involved in the programs that will eventually benefit them personally, with no real oversight. At the local levels of government a councilman, alderman or trustee must pass their vote on any issue that would personally benefit them or their company. The same should hold true for the State Legislators. In most cases it doesn't. It just doesn't make sense. The State pension system is in shambles. It alone can bring Illinois into default if not corrected. Each side of the equation needs to be addressed, expenditures as well as revenues before it's too late. I have children who will be affected and I want to do something about it. I don't want to simply talk about it or blame someone. Blame, although appropriate in this case will not save us! It will take hard work to see this very difficult and dangerous problem to a conclusion, a conclusion that will be good for the State employees as well as the tax payers. The system is funded at a horrible 43% level and going down each year. When a State needs to borrow money to make its pension obligation it is in very serious trouble. People who are willing to look at both sides of the equation in order to balance and therefore solve the problem need to go to Springfield not people who have vested interests in one side or the other.

What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?

3. I have the experience working within the political system not just running for offices as do my opponents. I have had to deal with people taking extremely different positions on topics of governmental affairs and as Mayor it is my duty to find common ground in order to keep moving forward to a resolution. My opponents have never been in that position. Following are some life events hoping to show people a depth of experience my opponents do not possess: I have worked as a union employee, eventually moving to a mid-managerial level within a large company. I am a War Veteran and now a Mayor of a town. I have been a Volunteer Fire Fighter in Troy Township. My wife Shirley of 45 years and I raised three children, putting two through college and one into business. We paid their way on a monthly basis and financed the remainder on parental loans, which eventually were paid off. We learned to budget and sacrifice certain things so our children could eventually do better. All three children are raising children of their own and all are positive contributors to our society. I hold two mechanical US patents, and two literary copy-writes. I believe that because of the broad scope of positions I hold now and others held in the past, I have gained the ability to appreciate different viewpoints people bring to the table. I also realize that they may not be totally in line with my own views but that doesn't necessarily they are not valid and should be considered in the decision making process.


Would you vote to make Illinois' temporary income tax hike permanent before it expires in January 2015? If not, how will you replace the billions of dollars the tax hike brought in, or what cuts would you make?

4. I would not want to vote to make the so-called temporary tax hike a permanent increase, but the situation with the pension crisis may make it impossible to let it sunset at this time. I would look close at a temporary extension perhaps and keep looking at other options using both sides of the equation,,, revenues and expenditures. I realize that any reduction in benefits is not comfortable with the State Unions, but we all need to be realistic and willing to see this crisis for what it is, a real crisis! I have learned through my work and life experiences that an emergency must be addressed and addressed immediately. The longer we put off doing anything significant to get out of the problem, the deeper we get in and more drastic and painful the measures will be to get out. The pension funding is 25% of the total states revenue stream today. We are almost 100 billion underfunded making our pension system, the worst in the nation. We are funded at an abysmal 43%. These numbers are frightening enough but what's worse, they are not getting better.

Please outline your views on public pensions in Illinois.

5. Presently the system in place for the public pension fund is unsustainable. The liabilities built in continue to climb while the sources of revenue shrink. It's not popular among the unions to talk about concessions, but we all need to work together to get the system healthy and then work to keep it there. We cannot continue to rely on raising taxes to fund the program. Even though the Governor stated that Illinois is a good business climate, the moving van line reports, contradict him. They report that movement of people out of the State supersedes movement into the State a measure of jobs moving elsewhere. Companies are moving out at an unprecedented rate. We cannot reverse this trend if we continue to raise taxes, it has never worked, and it will never work especially over the long haul. Blaming people who were in power 20 to 40 years ago will not stop the crisis. It may make some feel better but it doesn't solve the problem. We as a group must solve the problem by making some bold moves accompanied by reasonable thought-out decisions, eventually closing the bleeding wound, not just keep putting bandages on it over and over again. That will unfortunately mean possible cuts in benefits as well as looking for other sources of revenues. By making the system sustainable again, the Union members will be able to finally relax, knowing their futures are no longer at risk. That should be everyone's goal!

What changes would you make to the state's new concealed carry law, if any? Would you change the number of exempted places where people cannot carry? In what way? Would you change the training requirements? In what way? Do you support restricting assault weapons? High-capacity magazines?

6. Presently I would make no change to the new conceal carry laws. We don't have enough information yet.

Which of the following do you support: New casinos, slot machines at horse racing tracks, gambling on the Internet? Would you approve legislation that includes all of the above in order to compromise and get the parts that you want?

7. I am not an advocate of more gambling in any form within the State. We continue to use the expansion of gaming as a much needed revenue source and then immediately find ways to waste the money generated. Let's focus more on the spending side of the equation.

On what issues would you would break with your party, or have you broken with your party, and why?

8. I am a Republican and expect to be a part of producing our platform. In order for the system to work the Caucuses need to have open discussions and decide on what stand they will take on an issue. They need to pull together in order for their full weight to be felt on the floor. However, if my party were to take a stand that was counter to my moral upbringings and standards I may need to move away from their position

What is your position on limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election?

9. Yes, the leaders should be limited to an amount they can give from the party coffers. They should be held to the same standards as everyone else when they personally give. I don't know what the limit should be, but it should be there non-the-less. The system we have now builds empires and I don't think that is what the people in general want.

If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not?

10. I would vote for the Caucus leader today because we need stability in the party. He is relatively new, so I would need time to analyze and make a decision as to his leadership capabilities over a longer time period.

What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears, and should state tax breaks be given to companies moving from one Illinois municipality to another?

I must confess I am not familiar with the tax breaks given to the companies you mentioned. I need more time to study this issue. Locally I have been part to giving tax breaks to companies as an incentive to locate in the Village. I'm not sure I see the benefit in giving breaks to move to a different location within the same State.

Do you favor changing how Illinois sets new legislative district maps every 10 years? If so how?

I would favor changing the way we do legislative maps in the future. An impartial board should be created to do that. The party in power always tries to skew the mapping in their favor.

Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?

In my 13 years as Mayor of Shorewood, the Village has grown by over 100% in population 300% in businesses. I have managed to reduce our property tax rate each year, Build a Town Center and bring our roads up to a standard that surpasses communities around us. Shorewood is a very safe community to raise a family with many recreational facilities. I am very proud of what I have accomplished here and now believe it is time for me to bring my conservative efforts to Springfield.