T.J. Lewis: Candidate Profile

45th 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: Bartlett


Office sought:

45th District Representative

Age: 39

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Fire Fighter Paramedic, - 10 YEARS, Private Sector: Real Estate Finance Title and Trust - 15 yearsPublic Sector: IL House of Reps. as District Director / L.A. - 5 YEARS

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Education: B.A. in Political Science and Studies in Transitional Economies with Field Experience in International Political Economics, Carthage College

Civic involvement: Helped in creating over a 100 jobs in the private sector in the last 4 years

Currently active with the Pink Heals Tour Woman's Cancer Fund 3 years

Active with in the Special Olympics over 25 years

Initiated and established the Bartlett Community Health Fair

Initiated Local Coat Drive that was distributed to Township General Assistance Programs

Help with Local food drives that are distributed to Township General Assistance Programs

Help Residences mitigate Constituent Services issues with in the State of IL


Active in the Republican Party for over 20 years

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: About 15 years ago I was arrested for a DUI

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 running because of the Fiscal Crisis in Springfield. We need to change our path before the State of Illinois becomes insolvent. I've seen first- hand with my experiences in Eastern Europe, what it is like to have centralized governments fail. It is not a pretty site. Crime, corruption, people scrapping to feed and house their families. I don't believe we are actually to that point here in Illinois but we need to become more fiscally conservative by cutting wasteful spending and pay down our Debts

What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?

My experience working in the private sector and the public sector gives me a perspective that will benefit people throughout the workforce. My knowledge and understanding of Finance and Housing, will be a benefit both to the residence and the Legislature in Springfield, especially as we work to alleviate our poor economic conditions.

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?

No I would not vote to make temporary income tax hike permanent. I would be willing to have it phase out over a period of time, which would assist in stabilizing the accumulating interest from our unpaid bills and the current pension obligations. Before we even start phasing out the temporary tax hike, we need to reduce our spending continue to consolidate duplicated services, sell off or rent-out unused assets and continue with pension reform. The problem in Illinois is not a revenue problem it is a spending problem.

Please outline your views on public pensions in Illinois.

First off I don't want to diminish retiree's pension benefits or just do away with pensions all together. There are examples throughout the state of IL where local government pensions are working. Basically this is a question of satisfying 218 Social Security Exemption Law. We need to allow the State, the Counties, Local Governments and the employees, the ability to determine how to budget retirement benefits, whether it be with a pension, annuities, or a 401k style (457b) retirement plan. As we progress forward with statewide retirement systems no doubt they need to be fully funded but it appears these systems are unsustainable. We should be looking at the possibility of enacting 401k type savings (457b plan) for people who have not yet entered into the public workforce and even extending this to people who are not vested in the state retirement systems. This will empower the employee to set his/her retirement strategies.

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?

I feel the law is adequate. As for changing training requirements; I believe they are sufficient, then again I believe you can never have enough education on an issue, be it with the proper handling of fire arms or academics for that matter. As for assault weapons and high capacity magazines, I personally have no need to own one but I believe responsible individuals should have that right.

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?

I will not support new casinos in the State of IL other than the possibility of placing one in the City of Chicago where it would be able to pull revenue from international travelers and people from out of the state. No I will not compromise on this issue. From my understanding as of right now for every dollar we receive in revenue from the casinos we are paying out 2 dollars in general assistance.

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

I plan on supporting and working closely with my caucus but I will be voting the interest of the 45th Dist. constituency and what is best for the state as a whole.

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

I feel it is the discretion of the party leaders to decide what they can afford and what resources they should give to the candidates they support.

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

Yes, I plan on voting for Republican Leader Jim Durkin. I have met Jim Durkin more than once and have followed both his legal career and his life as a public servant. I expect great things from him and I look forward to working with him.

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?

Since the state is above the national unemployment rate ( IL is at 9.2, National average is at 7.3) we need to make Illinois more conducive to business. We need to create an environment that retains a strong corporate base which in turn will create more employment opportunities and stronger markets. This will attract more people searching for higher paying jobs which in turn will increase both income and commercial tax revenues, all in the while produce a better standard of living for the residents.

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

The map should be redistricted with common sense and not to ensure control by the party in power.

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

I have always conducted my life in the service to others. When I worked for the Illinois House of Reps as a District Director / L.A. I prided myself on the helping individuals and families with their Constituent Serves Issues. Also I am proud to say I came in under budget with the district funds, always sending a surplus back down to Springfield.