Amanda Mancke: Candidate Profile

97th District Representative (Republican)

Updated 2/14/2014 10:42 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: Oswego


Office sought:

97th District Representative

Age: 38

Family: Two sons, Darren and Will

Occupation: Spanish Teacher - Oswego high school

Education: Champaign Central High School

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University of Illinois, B.A. (Teaching Spanish)

University of St. Francis (Joliet), M.S. Ed.

Civic involvement: Oswego Youth Tackle Football Volunteer

Oswego Cobras Baseball Volunteer

Oswego Baseball/Softball Association Volunteer

Optimist Club of Oswegoland Volunteer

Character Counts! Coalition Volunteer

Oswegoland Park District Volunteer Coach

Senior Center of Oswego Volunteer

Optimist Club Of Oswegoland member

Oswego School District 308 Volunteer

Illinois Education Association Volunteer

Oswego Building & Zoning Committee

Elected offices held: None

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have never been arrested or convicted of a crime.


Questions & Answers

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

I am appalled at the gross financial mismanagement of Illinois state government. As a teacher with two children, I am concerned for the future of our children and students. The job market in Illinois is shrinking, schools are being shortchanged, and the American Dream seems to be slipping away for young families just getting started.

What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?

I believe in, and practice, coalition building. Elected officials must listen to and work with everyone, not just those who agree with them, for the betterment of the people they are elected to serve.

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?

I support the expiration of the 67% tax increase.

The increase was promoted as a solution to all of our financial woes, but our situation has clearly not improved. We can achieve a balanced budget and a stable financial future by helping individuals prosper and businesses grow through tax reform, as opposed to increasing taxes on individuals and the businesses we have been able to retain.

Please outline your views on public pensions in Illinois.

The new law did not address the problem fully and correctly. If it does not survive constitutional scrutiny, we will have to begin anew. All parties agree that the systems need reform, and all future negotiations must include all stakeholders.

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?

There were inconsistencies in both the drafting and the procedure for licensing that need to be addressed. The law needs to be uniform in its enforcement and everyone needs to clearly know where he or she can and cannot carry concealed weapons, so that law-abiding citizens with the intent of self-protection are not prosecuted.

I would support a graduated training program where those who already have the skills and knowledge can earn their permits faster while dedicating more opportunities and resources for those who need more training.

The restriction of assault weapons is an issue that is and should be decided at the Federal level.

Since anyone intent on causing harm can carry a dozen magazines and has no regard for the law, limiting magazines at 6, 10 or 14 bullets does not address the real issue, which is keeping guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them. We need to fully fund schools and mental health services to identify and treat those with intent to harm others before they even procure a gun.

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?

The General Assembly has recently passed massive expansions to gaming, turning most bars and restaurants across the state into "mini casinos." I do not believe that we should be basing the future of education funding on a revenue source that has driven families into bankruptcy. I oppose further expansion of gaming.

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

I will be judging every issue and bill on its merits regardless of any political party's opinion of the content. If the bill is good for my district and the state, then I will support it. Too many elected officials now "govern by youtube": simply trying to make outrageous speeches so they get thousands of hits on their online social networking pages. We must end the bitter fighting in politics that has driven our state to the brink of fiscal collapse.

I am going to Springfield to teach those Springfield politicians a lesson about how working together towards a common goal can begin to lift our state out of the bottom ranking in basically every category, from debt to taxes to education.

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

I would support a new law to limit funds from legislative leaders to candidates.

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

Jim Durkin was just elected as the Republican leader and he should have time to prove his ability. Given the fact that he just took over in the last few months, and in comparison to the 30 plus years that Mike Madigan has been in the House Democrat leadership, it is too early to even talk about it.

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 oppose special tax breaks for individual businesses. This practice does a disservice to the rest of Illinois' business community and individual taxpayers and is a symptom of a larger problem. We need to reassess our entire corporate tax policy to make our state more attractive to companies looking to relocate or expand.

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

Redistricting need to be placed under the authority of a bipartisan or non-partisan commission.

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

I knew from a very young age that I was going to be a teacher. When I made that final decision at the age of 17, I knew nothing of unions, pensions, or the extent to which the politics and games in government affected our schools and our students. I simply wanted to share my passion for my subject area to give future generations the tools they need to succeed and achieve their dreams. I get to share that passion each and every day in a profession that I love.