Deb Conroy: Candidate Profile

46th State House District (Democrat)

Updated 10/13/2016 1:12 PM
  • Deb Conroy, running for 46th State House District

    Deb Conroy, running for 46th State House District

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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.

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City: Villa Park


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Office sought:

46th State House District

Age: Candidate did not respond.

Family: Husband, Tim, and four sons ages 30, 26, 21 and 19.

Occupation: Full time state legislator

Education: York Community High School. Courses at College of DuPage and Columbia College.

Civic involvement: York Student Enrichment Team Co-Founder; former Religious Education teacher at Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church; Elmhurst Children's Assistance Foundation Board Member (7 years); Cool Kiddie Cars charity event project manager (9 years)

Elected offices held: District 205 School Board, 2007-2011. State Representative, 46th District, 2013-present.

Questions & Answers

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?

I share the frustrations of the local residents that I speak to every day about the gridlock in Springfield. The blatant partisanship that places politics before people is part of the reason that I ran for office just a few years ago. I have found that the most effective pieces of legislation that I have passed, such as consolidating units of local government in DuPage County, were accomplished through bipartisan cooperation. The residents that I speak to are sick of the blame game; they want real solutions. Like my neighbors, I am not interested in finger pointing. I am focused on building on the bipartisan work that best serves the people of the 46th District.

I have always made it a priority to be accessible to residents- not just at election time. Throughout the year, I have walked door-to-door and hosted town halls, coffee shop events, community meetings and constituent advisory committees because understanding the needs and concerns of my neighbors enables me to best represent them in Springfield.

Additionally, I support term limits for both legislators and constitutional officers. I have always believed that any elected official who is no longer effectively serving the people they represent should not be granted the privilege of continued public service. I support changing the way legislative districts are drawn and voted in support of House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 58, which overwhelmingly passed the House with bipartisan support earlier this year.

Would you vote for an increase in state income taxes or sales taxes? Would you vote for new taxes, such as on services? What is your position on a graduated income tax?

I do not support raising taxes on middle-class families. For too long the hard-working families in the 46th District have been the ones to bear the brunt of Illinois' financial woes. At a time when corporate CEOs are posting record profits and golden parachute bonuses, we cannot ask middle-class families that are already struggling to make ends meet to pay more in taxes. Rather than slashing education and critical services like breast cancer screenings, in-home care for seniors and healthcare for veterans, we need to find a way to make responsible cuts to state government that don't harm hard-working middle class families. Like the vast majority of residents in the 46th District, I support the "Millionaire's Tax" on multi-millionaires and generate roughly $1 billion for K-12 education. Additionally, I support closing corporate tax loopholes so that Illinois can continue to fund vital programs that many families in our communities rely on.

What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.

Before I ran for office, I was a member of the local school board as well as the PTA. I've spent my life working to ensure that our children have access to the best education possible. It's why I have supported budget plans all three years I have been in office that increased the levels of funding for our local schools.

An investment in our students today is an investment in the future of this state. We can and we must do better to ensure that our teachers and our students have the resources they need to succeed. That is why I've supported the "Millionaire's Tax" which would generate roughly $1 billion for K-12 education. Adequately funding public education is one of the greatest responsibilities of state government, and it's one of my highest priorities as a legislator. There is no question that we must change the way that the state funds our public schools. Those changes, however, should not simply take away money from the classrooms of children that I represent. I have consistently fought attempts to shift dollars away from our local schools because any redistribution would cause our already high property taxes to skyrocket. We cannot shift insufficient dollars from one district to another and call it reform. Beyond supporting the "Millionaire's Tax," I also back a hold harmless provision and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to find a consensus on how to fund education in a manner that puts Illinois students first.

On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?

Illinois has more layers of government than any other state by far, placing an unnecessary burden on taxpayers. That is why I fought to pass the first government consolidation bill here in DuPage County. That legislation has now become a model throughout the state for eliminating duplicative and wasteful layers of government and saving taxpayer dollars. The streamlining of bureaucracies through consolidation is a common sense way to make long term cuts to the cost of Illinois government.

I support other cost saving measures such as eliminating the Lt. Governor's office, rolling back pensions, and cutting the extravagant pay for certain commissions and boards. In order to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, I am prepared to go line-by-line to find additional ways to reduce spending.

What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?

For decades, politicians from both political parties failed to adequately pay into the pension funds and instead kicked the can down the road. I believe that a solution can be crafted that passes constitutional muster and is fair to both taxpayers and future retirees if all stakeholders come to the table. While no changes will be easy, we must do everything we can to put the funds on a path toward solvency, reduce our unfunded liability and ensure that those who have paid into the system can actually receive the benefits they worked a lifetime to earn.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

Education has always been important to me and I will continue to fight to bring more resources to our local schools. Additionally I have been a strong advocate for ensuring that our communities have access to quality mental health services in order to address some of the concerning trends we are seeing in our communities. I have hosted anti-heroin summits and worked with my mental health constituent advisory committee to address the growing need for these services. Protecting mental health and other vital services will continue to be a top priority for me.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Debbie McKenzie, Manager of the Glendale Heights Center for Seniors because of her dedication to public service and our seniors.

What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

Above all else, the importance of perseverance and hard work.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

I would spend just one more average day with my dad.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Art; it taught me to appreciate the details.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

I always tell my kids that the most important thing is to live with integrity. Who you are is more important than what you do.