Craig Wilcox: Candidate profile
Name: Craig Wilcox
City: McHenry, IL
Office sought: Illinois Senate District 32
Family: Janice (wife), three kids and one dog.
Occupation: Instructor, leading Applied Ethical Leadership and Command course, with Air UniversitySmall Business Owner, A Virtual Experience, providing Matterport Virtual 3D Home ToursRetired Colonel, United States Air Force
Education: Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NYMasters Degree, Military Operational Art/Science, Air Command Staff College, Montgomery, ALMasters Degree, MBA, Business Administration, Webster University, St. Louis, MOMasters Degree, National Resource Strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Wash DC
Civic involvement: Active member of the VFW and American Legion, former Education Commission Board member and volunteer librarian, St John the Baptist Catholic School in Johnsburg, VFW Delegate to McHenry County Veterans Assistance Commission
Elected offices held: Member, McHenry County Board, District 4.
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 oppose a graduated income tax! This state is experiencing an exodus of individuals, families, and businesses, which means an erosion of the tax base, and a graduated income tax is only going to exacerbate the exodus problem. Chicago topped the list of US cities losing millionaires, and the graduated income tax will further target this group. Also, from what has been published a graduated income tax will likely raise the tax rate on the significant majority of taxpayers. If we continue to make economic conditions here in Illinois unsustainable for people to stay and invest in the state, we will drive more away. Once elected, I will oppose any attempt to amend the Constitution to facilitate taking more money from Illinois families to pay for decades of over-promises and bail-out the general assembly's past failures.
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?
Illinois residents are shouldering some of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Every year economic conditions continue to decline in Illinois as more and more Illinoisans are faced with property tax bills that are increasing at rates substantially more than their incomes are growing. They are also paying more in state income taxes after the recent tax rate hike. My wife, as a REALTOR, often finds that residents selling their homes are no longer "buying or upgrading locally for family growth", instead they are selling in hopes of "not losing too much, and getting out of Illinois". I spend upwards of two hours in the sellers homes with them while scanning for the 3D tours, and their hearts ache that they have to leave their home state, but they tell me they have no realistic option for staying. They lament that their wage growth has stagnated, their home value has shrunk, yet at the same time their property taxes continue to rise. To resolve the issue, we must first work to protect the flat tax provision of the State Constitution from further assault and we should push for a hard property tax cap of one percent (1%) of home value, a fair and sustainable rate that won't continue to rob homeowners of their equity.
What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
My election to the Senate is not a referendum on any other elected officials performance, but is about the values and decisions that District 32 residents demand of their representatives, and my performance on the County Board provides ample evidence for the voters to judge. I'm going to Springfield to represent the people of our community and I'll work with whoever is Governor to advance policies that lower property taxes, reform government, and improve quality of life for our families. I will oppose any efforts to hike taxes further, including a progressive tax proposal, a driving or mileage tax proposal, or any attempt at a 1% statewide property tax hike that has been discussed. For the State of Illinois, I believe the veto of the 32% increase to the state income tax rate was a highlight, despite being overridden by the General Assembly. The low point for Illinois residents was the controversial measure requiring taxpayer-subsidized abortions.
What is your evaluation of Speaker Michael Madigan's (President John Cullerton's) job performance? If you voted for him for speaker (president) in the last legislative session, please explain your vote.
Illinois should not be proud to have the longest serving Speaker of the House in the history of our nation. Madigan's corruption runs far and wide, and his fingerprints are all over the dismal economic conditions that his policies have placed upon Illinois. For his part, the President of the Senate, John Cullerton, has reliably delivered Senate concurrence to Madigan's demands, but at least the Senate appears more open to debate issues which the House may never discuss. Their job performance should be measured in the number of residents who might choose to move into Illinois as opposed to the amount that are fleeing Illinois.
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 support the implementation of term limits on all legislators. We should even further limit the time that a legislator can serve in a leadership capacity. These limitations could help root out entrenched corruption, introduce fresh new ideas into the legislature, and eliminate solution blocking by the old guard that is set on protecting their seats at any cost
How concerned should we be about Illinois' population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?
Illinois' population loss should be the primary concern on the minds of our leaders down in Springfield. They should be focused on finding solutions that would dissuade taxpayers from leaving, rather than remaining committed to finding more ways to separate taxpayers from their hard-earned paychecks to pay for their decades worth of over promises. If you ask those who are leaving what has led them to come to this point, the overwhelming majority responded that they are overtaxed and that the government has become too corrupt to make all the taxes they pay worth it. We should be looking for ways to reverse the trends that are compelling our families and friends to move away.
Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.
I am not an incumbent for State Senate, but while on the County Board I have often voted differently than the majority Republican board on certain issues, based on foundational beliefs and constituent concerns and desires. One example is when I supported a true levy reduction to permanently benefit taxpayers versus the levy abatement that was implemented for 2018.
What other issues are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I have had the opportunity to listen to the concerns of people from all across the 32nd district. The top two issues that have been voiced the most is that people are concerned with corruption in this state, and the high tax burden, with special emphasis on property taxes. I agree: Illinois deserves better. Illinois deserves to have leaders who will represent the taxpayer, who display a high level of integrity, who place their service to the community ahead of their own personal gain, and who demand excellence of themselves, and their colleagues, in all that they do. Those are the values I will bring to Springfield with the goal of beginning to challenge and change the culture of corruption that has plagued Illinois.
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?
Relieving someone of their authority/responsibility because of a failure of leadership, a failure to be accountable, or for breach of trust with those they were tasked to protect.
Who is your hero?
I more admire a characteristic, than any one individual, because I believe we all have the ability to display it, which is what makes us human and allows us to live in a community of individuals. That characteristic is the choice to sacrifice of oneself for the benefit of others.
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
As a military veteran, I consider the Second Amendment as the guarantor of the fidelity of the rest of the Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms provides the dual purpose of protecting individuals right to defend themselves, as well as providing our nation the capability to resist despotic encroachments into our other enumerated liberties.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
The work ethic that I learned from my parents has probably been the most important to my success, but the most important to being a human being has been the Golden Rule.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
Failure is a temporary aspect in the period of time, and will only provide future regrets if one does not learn from the temporary setback. What someone does to overcome failure is more indicative of their character than the failure itself.