Karen Feldman: Candidate Profile

59th District Representative (Republican)

  • Karen Feldman, running for 59th District Representative

    Karen Feldman, running for 59th District Representative

 
Updated 2/13/2018 12:21 PM

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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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BioQ&A

 

Bio

City: Lincolnshire

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Office sought:

59th District Representative

Age: 49

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Family: I'm a mother of 3 (12,16,&19yrs). I have been married to my husband, Jeffrey Feldman, for 23 yrs and we settled in Lincolnshire 22yrs ago.

Occupation: Residential Realtor

Education: BA in Psychology from DePaul University

Civic involvement: Village Trustee in Lincolnshire.

Village Liaison to Park Board.

Village Liaison to Chamber of Commerce.

Community volunteer in local schools, Lincolnshire Sports Association, Village Club, & BJBE Sisterhood.

Elected offices held: Village Trustee of Lincolnshire

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 for legislative leaders specifically?

The Rules of the Illinois House place too much power into the hands of one person, the Speaker of the House. Those rules give the Speaker almost total control over: the number of Committees, the Membership of Committees, the Legislative Calendar, the Bill Hearing process, the Amendment process, and so much more. As the rules are currently written, it is the Speaker that decides which bills live and which bills die. These House Rules are an affront to good government and the will of the voters. They must be amended to encourage more legislative participation from rank-and-file lawmakers, rather than the whims of legislative leaders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While the House Rules have been written to accumulate more power into the hands of one person, one counter to those rules could be term limits for legislative leaders. Term limits for leaders can be enacted through the rules of House or Senate, but enacting a Constitutional amendment would ensure that this particular type of term limit would not be repealed via legislation. That being said, I support term limits for all legislators and constitutional officers. A two term limit for constitutional officers like Governor or Attorney General and a ten-year limit for members of the Illinois House and Senate would be sufficient and put Illinois citizens back in control of state government, rather than to a political class of career politicians.

On budgeting, what should be done to ensure that the state does not again go through a period of time without a budget in place? What will you do as a legislator to help ensure that the spending priorities you espouse during your campaign are reflected in the budget?

The Illinois Auditor General's office says the last time the state budget was balanced was in 2001. That is an absolute disgrace to Illinois taxpayers, who are footing the bill. The state budget has not been balanced for years because lawmakers are not held accountable for not performing their job that they are constitutionally-required to. Technically, our state constitution has a provision that says tax expenditures, or spending, shall not exceed tax revenues, but there is no actual enforcement mechanism. If politicians do not do the job that we elect them to do, they shouldn't get paid. That is why I support a "No Budget, No Pay" amendment to our state constitution. If Independent analyst say that the lawmakers have passed a budget where spending exceeds revenue, then lawmakers' pay and benefits should be withheld until they pass a balanced budget. The resulting financial pressure, combined with increased transparency measures and stricter rules on the budgeting process, should sufficiently move our elected officials into action.

I believe an important function of state government is providing K-12 education across Illinois. A meaningful and successful education can be the most transformative component of making our communities more vibrant, increasing economic opportunity and transforming lives. Therefore, fully and adequately funding our schools will be one of my top budget priorities, and I will work to ensure that budgets over time move the state towards being the primary funder of public education, as outlined in our constitution.

Should the legislature approve ballot initiatives either for a constitutional amendment on legislative redistricting or one on term limits? If so, how would you recommend the issues be structure? If not, why not?

The legislature should absolutely approve referenda for constitutional amendments on both legislative redistricting and term limits.

The redistricting process should be independent of political influence. Legislative districts should reflect the will of the voters and not the political whims of one man from Chicago. That is why I support Fair Maps. Establishing a citizen-driven, independent commission that is bound by simple and fair rules, such as respecting geographical and community boundaries and adhering to the Voting Rights Act, is probably the most critical political reforms that could be made to change the direction of our state.

Additionally, I am an ardent supporter of term limits. Running for office should be about serving your community, not cozying up to special interests or building a career. I support term limits for every elected office in Springfield, from statewide constitutional officers to members of the General Assembly. Eight years maximum for constitutional officers and ten years maximum for members of the Illinois House and Senate.

What approach do you support in fixing public employee pension systems?

First and foremost, the state should move all new hires to a defined contribution plan, one that models after private and public sector 401(k) retirement plans. Such plans effectively balance retirement portfolio risk between the taxpayer and public worker, while offering portability, as it is a transferrable asset. This type of pension reform is one of many ways that state government can transform itself into a 21st century institution in a competitive global economy, making state employment more attractive to potential employees, while alleviating future pension liabilities for taxpayers. Additionally, the state could adopt a ÒconsiderationÓ model of pension reform, where state workers are encouraged to take lump sum buyouts of their pension plans. This type of reform has bipartisan support, including from Governor Rauner and Senate President Cullerton. Because of Supreme Court rulings on previous pension reform cases, any such changes to the pension plan must be voluntary, or else they too will be overruled. Time is of the essence, as our unfunded pension liabilities continue to skyrocket. We must be creative with pension reform, as increasing pension payments continue to crowd out spending on other vital functions of state government, such as public education or social services.

To what extent do you support or oppose legalization of marijuana for recreational use?

I do not support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Potential health effects aside, I believe we must allow Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program to continue so law enforcement agencies and health professionals can continue to study the use of marijuana and it's impacts on our community. We should not rush to legalize marijuana, and therefore tax it, just because our state currently has a cash crunch. We should continue to research the issue and look to see how legalized recreational marijuana unfolds in other states that have legalized its use. To study the issue further, we must pay close attention to how other states change their laws and regulations in response to unintended consequences of marijuana legalization, and the potential for changes in federal regulations concerning marijuana use so as to not conflict with federal law.

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

Balancing the budget is a priority. Another area that I feel strongly about is reforming property taxes. I'd like to grow Illinois' economy and jobs by making her more business friendly again. We also need a more ethical government. I believe once these issues are addressed, it will help fix our population exodus.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar and how she has overcome challenges without losing her passion.

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

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

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

I would have spent more time with my grandparents.

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

Science. I learned to apply the scientific method to everything. Observation, hypothesis, experimentation, conclusion, and accept or reject the hypothesis.

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

Always keep an attitude of gratitude.