Donald P. DeWitte: Candidate profile
Name: Donald P. DeWitte
City: St. Charles
Website: <URL destination="http://www.dewitteforilsenate.com ">dewitteforilsenate.com
Facebook: DeWitte for Illinois Senate
Office sought: Illinois Senate, District 33
Family: Wife of 34 years Diane, 2 grown sons
Occupation: Sales Manager Building Materials
Education: Elgin Community College, University of Illinois Springfield
Civic involvement: Board Member, Baker Community Center
Elected offices: Alderman, St. Charles-1993-2005; Mayor, St. Charles- 2005-2013
Questions & Answers
Would you vote to approve a graduated income tax? If so, what qualifiers would you impose and where would you set the brackets? What would the top tax rate be?
I will not support any effort to implement a graduated income tax. The only graduated plan I have seen is just a smoke screen for an income tax hike on the middle class. The issues in this state are created by too much spending, not a lack of revenue.
How big a problem is the level of property taxation in Illinois? If you view it as a problem, what should be done about it?
Having one of the highest property tax rates in the nation, we must continue to find ways to consolidate local government entities that make up the local property tax system, institute an immediate property tax freeze and look to reduce property taxes in the future.
What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
The Governor has had a challenging four years. I agree with many of his views including rooting out corruption in Springfield, cutting red tape and state bureaucracy to foster business and his constant fight against tax hikes. I would say his highlight was this year's budget. After hard fought negotiations Illinois got a balanced budget without a tax increase. The low point was the fact it took three years to get there. I do truly believe the Governor has the right intentions of putting Illinois back on track, and has learned some important lessons on negotiating in Springfield. We need him in Springfield to make sure Democrats don't go back to budgets that spend more than we take in, and so they don't have sole control of the redistricting process.
What is your evaluation of Senate President John Cullerton's job performance? If you voted for him for president in the last legislative session, please explain your vote.
Not having had the opportunity to work with the Senate President yet, I look forward to working with all Democrats across the aisle to find bipartisan, common sense solutions to the state's problems.
Should there be term limits for legislative leaders? If so, what would you do to make that happen? What other systemic changes should be made to strengthen the voice of individual legislators, limit the control of legislative leaders, encourage bipartisanship?
I will support any effort to legislate term limits on all legislative leaders. While term limits for leaders was passed in the Senate this year as part of Senate rules, we need a constitutional amendment that applies to all four leaders. Decades of one man legislative control in Springfield has been the nexus of the buying and selling of influence and control, through virtually unlimited abilities to raise campaign funds, to be disbursed as desired, to obedient caucus members.
How concerned should we be about Illinois' population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?
Extremely. Last year, 33,000 residents threw in the towel on our state government due to increasing income, corporate, and property taxes. This number will continue to increase exponentially unless all three of these fundamental state revenue issues are changed and brought under reasonable control.
Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.
I have worked well with labor on issues when I was the mayor of St. Charles. Skilled workers such as crane operators, teachers, and first responders are part of our community, and while I may not always agree with them on every one of their issues -- I will always have an open door to them in Springfield.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
1). The need for a capital bill in Illinois to fund the massive expense and process of bringing our state's roads, bridges, infrastructure, and mass transit, to a safe and modernized state of good repair.
2). To continue to root out fraud and abuse in our government;
3. To maintain stable and increasing support to education.
In addition, here a few questions meant to provide more personal insight into you as a person:
What's the hardest decision you ever had to make?
The decision to submit my name to be appointed to, and run as a candidate for, the Illinois State Senate, after stepping down from a successful tenure as an elected municipal official.
Who is your hero?
My father, a second generation immigrant who worked hard all of his life, bought and paid for a home to retire into, provided for his family, raised 3 reasonably well adjusted sons, served his country and community, and never complained one minute about anything. I only regret he never got to see the Cubs win a World Series.
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
The right to freedom of religion, speech, and the press. Without these we are just another Third World country at the mercy of one person, one philosophy, or one way of life, with no one able to tell us anything differently.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
That it is ok to make a mistake in anything you do. Right or wrong, good outcome or bad, every situation or scenario in life is an opportunity to learn from the experience.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
In the height of the Great Recession, I started my own business, in an industry that was heavily influenced by the effects of the economy. I never anticipated the length of time it would take for the economy to recover, and in some respects, still hasn't.
I learned that there are always outside influences that you can have no control over, that will ultimately determine your life's path. You must never be afraid to change your course.