Dr. Mark Neerhof: Candidate Profile
58th 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.
City: Lake Forest
Family: Wife, Betty Neerhof.
Occupation: High-Risk Obstetrician at NorthShore University HealthSystem
Education: B.A., Biology, Chemistry, Dordt College D.O., Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
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?
The Illinois General Assembly functions productively and effectively for the entrenched politicians and for special interests, but not for the people of Illinois. Our elected officials are hurting the people of Illinois. We need to replace current career politicians with citizen legislators who will act in the best interests of the people they represent, rather than to protect their own political interests. I support substantive reforms to Medicaid and public pensions. I support term limits. I support efforts to increase government transparency. I support efforts at reform of district mapping. I believe Minority Leader Durkin is an effective leader for our caucus.
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?
It is immoral to make pension promises to our public employees that we know we will not be able to keep while compromising the economic futures of generations to come in the process. The control of retirement monies must be taken out of the hands of politicians and placed into the hands of our public employees by: 1. Honoring the promises that we have made to all current retirees. 2. Freezing benefits to current employees in place to date, and transitioning to a defined contribution program moving forward. 3. New employees will be offered a defined contribution program.
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 was the wrong response to out of control spending. It has forced businesses, jobs and people to leave the state. As a result, our tax base shrank. We also have the highest unemployment in the Midwest, and second highest in the nation. I believe we must expand our tax base. By lowering taxes (personal as well as corporate), we will bring businesses, jobs and people back to Illinois. Beyond allowing the 2011 tax increase to sunset, I support full repeal. I will fight any attempts to extend the 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?
I believe we need to look at substantial reforms that will reduce the cost of government. The largest line item in our state's budget in Medicaid. We need to reform Medicaid to control costs, improve the quality of care, and provide care to those who need it the most. Rather than just expanding current broken systems, we need legislators that will closely examine how to make government work and have the courage to implement reform. Cutting from the existing system is not enough. We need to reform and change the way government provides its services.
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?
I believe in educational freedom. I believe it is morally wrong to trap children in failing schools. I support educational vouchers. I support expansion of charter school programs. I oppose a pension cost-shift to local schools because it is improper and unfair, and will result in higher property taxes.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I will focus on bringing jobs back to Illinois by lowering taxes (both personal income and corporate) and addressing excessive regulations (such as worker compensation). We will make Illinois a more attractive place where businesses and individuals flourish, where people are eager to live, and where people who need a helping hand can find one.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Governor Scott Walker inspires me because he had the courage amidst adversity to take a principled stand for the good of his state.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I choose not to live life in that fashion. For the important things in life, you are never too old and it's never too late.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I have always loved biology and the sciences in general. That is, in part, why I chose a career in medicine.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Love God above all and your neighbor as yourself, and be thankful that you live in the greatest country in the world.