Leslie Munger: Candidate Profile
59th District Representative (Republican)
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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: Husband: John Munger Sons: Tom (23 years), Andy (21 Years)
Occupation: Current - Mom, wife, & volunteer. Former Marketing Executive at Helene Curtis
Education: 1982 - M.B.A., Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Concentrations in Marketing & Finance 1978 - B.S., University of Illinois, Interior Design
Civic involvement: -The Riverside Foundation, serving developmentally disabled adults - Auxiliary member, Past Auxiliary President, Board of Directors, Riverside Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year 2013 - Member, 100 Women Who Care, North Suburban Chicago Chapter - Member, Conserve Lake County - Member, Stand Strong Coalition - Republican Precinct Committeeman - Lake County Republican Federation, Board of Governors -University of Illinois Student Affairs Advisory Council -Past President and board member, School District 103 Learning Fund Foundation -Past SHS Football Mom -Past President and Board member, Lincolnshire Village Club -Past Cub Scout Pack 78 Den Leader - 2004 Lincolnshire Citizen of the Year
Elected offices held: I am a first-time candidate and have never held an elected office. See Civic Involvement for Community Leadership Offices held.
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?
Illinois has very serious financial problems. I believe Illinois voters want legislators to work together to find common-sense solutions to finally solve our long-term problems, putting Illinois back on a path to prosperity. I am a problem solver and will put differences aside to focus on solutions as I have done throughout my lifetime. We should set specific goals and solicit the best ideas to accomplish those goals. I will support Jim Durkin for IL House Republican Leader and will work to represent the hard working taxpayers of Illinois. I also support term limits and will refuse a state-paid pension.
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?
Our goal must be to ensure the solvency of retirement plans for our teachers and state/municipal workers. Illinois' pension system is going bankrupt and there will be no funding to pay younger workers. I believe the best solution is to protect earned benefits under today's pension program for all those currently working and retired, and transition to a new defined contribution program, at a future date to be determined, for current and future employees. Under this scenario, benefits earned to date would not be diminished. A 401k would give the employee ownership of their own retirement funds -- not Springfield.
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.
The 2011 tax increase raised the income tax 67% for individuals and 45% for corporations. Our leaders in Springfield promised the increase would be temporary. Yet, Madigan pushed to make the increase permanent breaking his promise to taxpayers despite state revenues increasing by $33 billion. I'm opposed to making it permanent. I support allowing the 5% temporary income tax to be replaced with 3.75% flat tax as passed. Illinois has a spending problem; not a revenue problem. Lowering our tax rate will make Illinois competitive with surrounding states and create jobs. It's time for our government to keep its promises.
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?
Illinois is at a tipping point. Our inability to pay bills, control the huge pension shortfall and balance the budget earned Illinois the worst credit rating in the country resulting in thirteen credit downgrades. These downgrades increased Illinois' cost of borrowing and interest payments, resulting in less of taxpayers' money going to schools, public safety, healthcare and roads. I believe Illinois should be run like a business or a family budget; expenditures should not exceed revenues. Initially, I would cut unnecessary spending, like legislative pay raises, reduce duplication, and eliminate fraud like Medicaid payments to dead people.
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?
While I believe the best decisions are made at the local level where there is greater accountability, the leading concern I hear from voters is the high cost of property taxes. The state's mismanagement of the pension funds has resulted in unfunded liabilities in the TRS so high that I could not support shifting that debt back to local school districts and taxpayers. Perhaps we could consider a hybrid where new employee retirement plans are controlled at the local level. The state must solve the pension crisis before shifting the responsibility to pay pensions back to the local school districts.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Illinois' property taxes are the second highest in the country, often higher than mortgage payments. I support a property tax freeze if your home value decreased. I will work to reduce unfunded state mandates that add costs to municipalities and schools. Rising college costs make it difficult for many to attend. Illinoisans get little financial relief at state universities, where tuition is as high as private colleges. I will work for affordable college choices in Illinois. Drug/heroin use is an escalating problem. I will work with police, schools and families to reduce drug use and protect our children.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Senator Mark Kirk, for his service to our country & his determination to recover from a debilitating stroke. He inspires me to "never give up".
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
To save my money and live within my means. My dad took half the money we received from gifts and put it in the bank.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Every difficulty I have encountered in my life has made me stronger and taught me not to give up. I would not do anything over.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I learned valuable strategic, analytic and problem-solving skills through my graduate business curriculum at Northwestern/Kellogg, which helped me be successful in my 25-year career.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Always tell the truth, no matter what. Nothing else in life matters if you cannot be trusted.