Fred Crespo: Candidate Profile
44th State House District (Democrat)
Back to 44th State House District
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: Hoffman Estates
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Family: Wife: Dorothy Crespo RN
Occupation: Full Time Legislator
Education: B.S. Loyola University of Chicago
Civic involvement: Children Advocacy Center -Board Member,
Alexian Center For Mental Health-Board Member, WINGS-Leadership Board, Former Head Coach St. Hubert School for Tack & Field and Cross Country.
Elected offices held: Hoffman Estates Trustee
State Representative 44th District
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?
As I meet with local residents to discuss the issues impacting our communities, I share their frustration in the lack of progress being made in Springfield. Residents want to see action that results in good paying jobs, wages and a standard of living, and protection for the services that our families depend on, including good public schools, public safety, and services for our state's most vulnerable.
I support term limits for legislators as well as constitutional officers. We should look at the experience of other states and have a discussion on term limits based on sound public policy, not one driven by political agendas. There are pros and cons to term limits. For example, term limits would remove legislators that don't represent their districts' best interest yet keep getting elected. On the other hand, losing institutional knowledge would allow insiders and lobbyist to exercise more influence in the Capitol. Also, term limits would produce lame duck legislators that won't be held accountable for their votes, hence there should be a ban a legislators working for interest group/organizations after their terms expire. I also support changes to the way legislative districts are drawn and this past year I co-sponsored a constitutional amendment on redistricting reform which was passed by the House in House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 58. Moving forward I am committed, as I've been so far, to continue working with my colleagues to advance proposals that will benefit our state and its residents.
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 increasing taxes on the middle-class. I think it's wrong to ask local families to pay more in taxes while big corporations and multi-millionaires are failing to pay their fair share. We need to do more to close the wage gap between millionaires and the middle-class. Rather than making deep cuts to programs that families depend on, I believe we can find areas of waste and make responsible cuts without jeopardizing funding for education, public safety, and medical care for women and seniors.
There are several options to increase revenue without asking the middle class to pay higher taxes. I have introduced legislation that cuts over a million dollars from the lieutenant governor's office. Other revenue-generating options include consolidating services provided by state agencies, closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing tax rates on millionaires. I have also strongly recommended using the Auditor General's reports and findings during the appropriation process to identify waste and ways to improve processes.
I've served on a workgroup composed by the House State Government and Revenue committees which examined all the taxes and tax rates in the state. It was an in-depth and comprehensive review of all taxes. This could serve as a blueprint moving forward, however any discussion of tax reform should happen after we first address current spending and prioritize future spending. We also need to re-engineer processes that drive costs.
What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.
As chairman of the House Education Committee on Curriculum and Policy, and a member of the governor's Education Funding Commission, this issue continues to be a top priority for me. I think it's wrong to favor some school districts at the expense of others and I will not support a funding-model that results in less funding for the schools in my district. I plan to continue working with my colleagues and the administration in finding a fair and equitable funding solution that will benefit all children in our state.
There is a funding model being considered, the Evidence Base Model, which I think should be explored.
The Federal Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, also offers opportunities to improve education in our state. ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and offers more flexibility to local school districts. I have been, and will continue working closely with the State Board of Education and stakeholders to ensure that ESSA works well for our state and school districts.
In terms of Higher Education, I don't agree with the drastic cuts proposed by the governor, and I am most definitely opposed to cuts to the MAP grants that help many low-income and middle-class families send their children to college.
On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?
I believe there are areas of state government that can be reduced without making destructive cuts to vital services that our families depend on. I have introduced legislation that cuts over one million dollars from the lieutenant governor's office, I support options to consolidate services provided by state agencies and I have been a strong proponent of using the Auditor General's reports during the appropriation process to identify waste and ways to improve processes.
What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?
It requires all stakeholders, including public employees, legislators and the governor, coming together to craft a solution. Changes need to be fair to the taxpayers and employees who have met their obligations and made their required payments into the pension system. The situation was caused by decades of underfunding the system and made worse by recessions that had a significant impact on the pensions' investment returns. We need to work with the understanding that any solution will take years to correct, and I am committed to working with all stakeholders at the table to come up with a responsible solution
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Currently the most pressing issue is the state budget. This issue alone impacts everything else in our state. Mental Health and disability services have always been two of my top priorities. Additionally, in the Northwest suburbs, property taxes are a huge problem. I will continue to support measures that control local property taxes.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
I'm mostly inspired by everyday people that do extraordinary things or overcome insurmountable odds and make a difference in society.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I have no regrets, and wouldn't change anything. The not so good experiences have allowed me to learn and become a better human being.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I attended an all Boys school. I learned to be very competitive in a very competitive environment, that has helped me to this day.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
I have two daughters. My wife and I have always encouraged them to be humble but assertive, and as women to be independent and self-sufficient.