Robert Pritchard: Candidate Profile
70th State House District (Republican)
Back to 70th 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.
Website: PritchardStateRep.com; citizensforpritchard.com
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Facebook: Candidate did not respond.
Family: wife, Mary; sons, Matthew (Ro) and Gregory
(Becky); 4 grandchildren
Occupation: full-time legislator and farm manager
Education: Hinckley-Big Rock School District 429
University of Illinois BS Degree
University of Illinois Masters Degree
Civic involvement: Lions Club, Rotary Club, School PTO, School board, church choir/committees, Co/State/National 4-H foundation, National FFA Foundation, DeKalb/Sycamore/Genoa/Hampshire/Kirkland/Belvidere Chambers of Commerce, DeKalb Co Board, IL Corn Growers Assn., Il Soybean Assn, Farm Bureau, Ben Gorden Mental Health Center Board. See my web page PritchardStateRep.com
Elected offices held: Precinct Committeeman and Vice Chair of DeKalb County Republican Central Committee, Hinckley-Big Rock School Board, DeKalb County Board, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Board
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?
Return control of the chamber to the members. Too much power has been concentrated into the hands of the Speaker who has served too long. We need new leadership, term limits on leaders, and non-political redistricting. I will continue supporting legislation to achieve these goals.
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?
Illinois can not escape its current financial crisis without additional revenue. I support expense reductions and growing our economy but that will neither be enough nor soon enough. I support making reforms in workman compensation, unemployment insurance and tort reform part of a package that includes additional revenue. My first requirement is a balanced budget so we stop digging our financial hole. Next would be the reforms followed by modest revenue growth that includes income tax, sales tax expansion, and increases in other revenue. We should consider taxing currently untaxed state retirement income over $50,000. The income tax increase should be tied with lowering property taxes which are most unfair to low income and elderly citizens struggling to survive. I would not favor a graduated income tax unless significant reforms were also adopted to make Illinois a better place to live and work.
What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.
I currently serve on the Governor's Education Funding Reform Commission with the goal of making our funding adequate and equitable. The Evidence Based Model of funding is a research based best practices for staffing needed by our schools so every child can succeed. Our challenge will include reducing property taxes, increasing the state contribution to education and allocating the funds so every district has the resources needed to support their students' growth. We should expect better student results with sufficient resources and we must hold districts accountable for the results. You can follow the progress of the commission on the ISBE.net website and click on commissions.
On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?
There are abuses and bad business practices that should be starting points for reducing expenses. Businesses review their operation and business costs frequently, as should the state. Paying bills on time would cut about $1 billion in interest expenses. The unpaid bills should be bonded and paid. Incarcerating only the violent offenders would save $ millions and investing in rehabilitation and education would help steer people from a life of crime and poverty plus reduce costs of incarceration. Putting people to work will reduce social welfare costs. Ending the end-of-career salary spiking of public employees will reduce pension costs. Setting priorities in the services provided by the state will provide a reasonable stopping point when we reach the limits of our revenue. We must operate on a truly balanced budget, not one built on smoke and mirrors like today.
What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?
Our constitution prevents changing the pension system for current
employees. I support a new pension system for new hires that moves Illinois away from a defined benefit and to a defined contribution system like most states and businesses. Another cost-saving idea that has merit is to end the pension spiking that many state employees use in the final 4 years of employment to increase their pensions by nearly 24%. In the meantime taxpayers will have to pay the penalty for years of mismanagement of the pension system by the Governor and the legislature.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
There are many issues that are important to me but the immediate focus must stay on passing a balanced full-year budget, compromising on reforms to grow our economy and jobs, paying our bills on time and funding education that prepares a well-skilled workforce.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Trust in God
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
More time with family and kids.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
English/Speech; courses helped to build the foundation for clear communictions and listening
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.