Anna Moeller: Candidate Profile
43rd 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: Married (husband Marc) with two daughters (8 and 11 years old).
Occupation: Full-time legislator
Education: BA in History and Master's Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Civic involvement: I have previously served on the Elgin Planning and Development Commission, Elgin Human Relations Commission, as Vice-President of Imagine McHenry County, Vice-President of the Northeast Neighborhood Association of Elgin, Channing Elementary School PTO Treasurer and as an English as a Second Language Tutor for the Literacy Connection. I was also an Edgar Fellow from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana in 2012.
Elected offices held: Elgin City Council (2011 - March 2014) State Representative - 43rd District (March 2014 - present)
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?
While on the Elgin City Council and as the Executive Director of the McHenry County Council of Governments, I effectively worked with individuals from both political parties. I have brought that same approach to Springfield. I'll make a decision on whom to support for leader of the Democratic Caucus if and when I am elected to office and once I know who the candidates for that position are. Change requires leading by example. I rejected a state pension and healthcare benefits. Regardless of partisan or special interest influence, I'll work to identify waste and more efficient use of tax dollars.
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?
Despite the political rhetoric suggesting otherwise, the pension crisis that the state faces is tremendously complex. It is without dispute that action needs to be taken to ensure that the state's pension systems have sufficient funds to provide benefits to those who have diligently paid into them and are relying on a pension in retirement. Any changes to the pension system should be fair to taxpayers, public workers, and must be negotiated with all stakeholders at the table. To do otherwise will continue the cycle of political turf wars and litigation that will only lead to further delay.
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.
Listening to the voters I speak with when I walk door to door, visit with in my district office and encounter at public events, it is clear they are opposed to keeping the tax increase permanent. I believe the tax increase should expire as originally intended. Our state leaders made it very clear when the legislature passed and the governor signed the tax increase in January of 2011 that the tax was designed to be temporary. It will only make voters more cynical about the promises their political leaders make should the state decide to extend the tax increase.
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?
Yes. Specific cuts should begin with ending legislative perks. We can start by eliminating pensions for legislators, forcing legislators and constitutional officers to take a 10 percent pay cut, merging the offices of the state comptroller and treasurer, ending free health care benefits for retired politicians and reducing or eliminating pay for state boards and commissions. We also must focus on improving the business climate in Illinois to ensure that companies retain and bring more jobs here. Creating a more business-friendly Illinois is the best way to improve the state's fiscal future and to generate much-needed revenues for state government.
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 the mother of two young daughters and the spouse of a teacher, I know first-hand how important a quality education is for children to succeed. We must continue to look for ways to improve and innovate the way our children learn in these changing times. One of my top priorities as state representative has been and will continue to be fighting against cuts to the money the state provides to our schools. While funding is important, schools also need community support, parental involvement, and quality teachers to truly succeed. [Cost shift] I oppose the so-called cost shift.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Improving the state's economy starts with addressing its budget crisis. The two issues are inexorably linked. A strong economy and stable state budget makes for a more predictable economic environment for the state's businesses to operate and re-invest. A stronger economy and robust job market also means increased revenues for state and local governments to adequately fund public safety across the state. We must continue to fight crime in the Elgin area and throughout Illinois. I am committed to supporting public safety efforts, especially those aimed at combating gang related violence and putting dangerous sexual predators behind bars.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
I find Pope Francis to be an inspirational figure with his humble approach to service, self-sacrifice, message of tolerance and openness and commitment to reform.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
My maternal grandparents, who adopted and raised me, taught me first hand the importance of compassion, helping others and taking responsibility for your actions.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
My grandmother passed away in 2009 and we were very close. I wish I could spend at least one more day with her.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
My favorite subject was history and it taught me the necessity of understanding the past and how it influences current events.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would (and do) tell them that they have a responsibility to help make the world a better place than they found it.