Dan McConchie: Candidate Profile
26th State Senate District (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: Hawthorn Woods
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Facebook: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Married for 19 years with two teenage daughters.
Occupation: Candidate did not respond.
Education: MA in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL
BA in Biblical Studies from Central Bible College in Springfield, MO
Civic involvement: Member of the Hawthorn Woods Public Works Committee
Member of the Board of Directors of Informed Choices Pregnancy Centers in Grayslake and Crystal Lake, IL
Member of the Board of Regents for The Fund for American Studies in Washington, DC
Elected offices held: None
What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? Will you vote for your current legislative leader? What is your position on term limits in general and specifically for legislative leaders? Do you support the ongoing drive for a constitutional amendment on redistricting? What will you do to promote implementation of any changes you recommend?
One of the biggest problems we have in the Illinois legislature is that it is a very top-down system where the leaders are very powerful and the rank and file has little influence on the process.
I recommend requiring 24 hour notice before a final bill vote on any normal legislation and 72 hours before a final vote on the budget (given its size and complexity).
I also support a rule that allows a majority of legislative members to overrule the leader on any bill and allow it to come up for debate and vote.
The campaign finance changes that took effect in 2010 increased power for the leaders by limiting the amount of money allowed to individual candidates while allowing unlimited contributions to leaders. This should be repealed.
I will not decide how to vote until the various candidates for leadership lay out their plans for their caucus. I will then support the person who I think is best suited to lead.
I believe voters are the ultimate term limit, but for that to work, we need a fair map and equitable campaign finance rules, neither of which currently exist in Illinois. I favor term limits for legislative leaders.
I support the ongoing drive for a constitutional amendment to create a non-partisan commission to establish the boundaries of legislative districts.
I will advocate for any reasonable bill, rule changes or constitutional amendment that helps level the playing field and allows legislators to truly represent the interests of their constituents.
What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems, not just for teachers but for public safety personnel as well?
Moving forward we need to switch overall from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system, similar to that which has worked in the private sector for decades. It seems only fair that government workers should receive benefits similar to that of hard working taxpayers. That should be our goal.
We need to reform the way pensions are calculated. Right now it is common for some local governmental bodies to greatly increase an employee's salary in the last few years of employment dramatically increasing the employee's pension and the state's pension obligation. This is wrong and must be changed.
On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made? Specifically, what tax increases, changes in tax policy or other opportunities for revenue growth do you support? What is your position on a graduated income tax?
We should go through the budget, line by line, looking for ways to make the government more efficient.
Some examples are:
1. We should reform state purchasing rules and switch to online reverse auctions allowing anyone who can fulfill the service to participate. This increases transparency and lowers costs.
2. There are some union negotiated rules that enable certain classes of employees to be automatically granted overtime whenever it is requested and the department heads have no control over it. This leads to unnecessary costs - costs that are borne entirely by the taxpayer.
3. We should get rid of the state owned fleet of automobiles and switch to a privately-managed leased car program for state vehicles.
I do not support tax increases or the institution of a graduated income tax. Such policies encourage job creators to leave the state. We are already losing population relative to the rest of the country. Regressive policies that make it harder for job creators only accelerate the process.
What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education and education funding? How will you act to promote the changes you wish to see?
There are many areas in the state where our primary and secondary schools are failing our kids. In those areas, I support the move to expand education vouchers so the money follows the child. I also support the expansion of charter schools. Competition in education leads to increased quality by putting parents in control of their child's education. No child should suffer in a failing school simply based on where they live.
At the higher education level, one of the biggest problems facing our state is our brain drain - our kids moving out of state because college tuition at our universities are 30 to 60 percent higher than other schools in the same conference. When our kids go to school in another state, they often don't return. It breaks up families when our future taxpayers go to school outside of Illinois, and then put down roots in those other states by starting jobs and families of their own there. Rather than being micromanaged by the state, universities need more autonomy on how to spend their money so they can bring down costs and make college more affordable.
I will support any reasonable legislation that expands vouchers, charter schools and flexibility in the financial management of higher education institutions.
Please list any elected office you have ever run for and what the result of that election was. Have you ever been appointed to fill an unexpired term?
I've never run for elected office before nor been appointed to fill an unexpired term.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
We have far more governmental units than any other state in the country. We should provide counties with the authority to eliminate and consolidate unnecessary or duplicative governmental units wherever there can be cost and administrative savings while maintaining a high level of constituent services.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Arloa Sutter, head of Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park, Chicago. For 22 years, she has helped homeless men and women find a future.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
The value of learning to budget. At 16 I was required to budget my own money within the safety net of home.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have taken the car instead of the motorcycle to go help a friend move eight years ago.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Ethics - it taught me that everything we do has a moral component, whether we recognize it or not.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
The value of patience is under-appreciated in today's culture. Learning when to wait is sometimes more powerful than learning when to act.