Endorsement: Castro for Illinois Senate in Dist. 22
Two candidates are seeking the Democratic nod in the Illinois 22nd Senate District. They are Cristina Castro, a Kane County Board member since 2008, and Steve Caramelli, a Hanover Township trustee since 2013.
As suburban Democrats, both candidates talk the talk as far as being independent voices who would not automatically bow to the will of the Democratic majority in the state legislature. Castro, though, has proved she's capable of not just getting along with Republicans who dominate the county board but also managing to be an effective member.
Few dramatic differences exist between the candidates regarding their stands on the issues. Castro, a marketing and communications manager, supports term limits on legislative leaders, and creating a rotation system allowing suburban and downstate leaders a crack at those posts -- a proposal that would shorten the reigns of longtime House and Senate leaders Michael Madigan and John Cullerton.
Castro, though, suggests she floated that position first, and that Caramelli copied it. Otherwise, Castro said term limits for all others "can work," but she cautioned against allowing special interest groups and lobbyists from controlling the process.
Caramelli says term limits for elected officials can be imposed by voters at the ballot box.
On education, Caramelli calls the funding formula "the most important change the state needs to make," but when asked for specifics, he called the formula a "complex math numbers game" that requires further study.
Castro calls for "a broad discussion" on how Illinois funds education and on how to ensure the state pays its fair share.
On pension reform, Castro suggests revisiting a Senate bill that tied pension cost-of-living increases to benefits and salary bumps -- a plan "that would have passed constitutional muster." Caramelli cites his family's union roots, and notes that "we should not and cannot cut our way out of this problem."
We give the nod to Castro, who seems better prepared on the issues and has demonstrated the ability to work cooperatively in a political environment.