Mary Mahady: Candidate profile
Name: Mary Mahady
Facebook: Mary Mahady for Illinois State Senate
Office sought: State Senate, 32nd District
Family: 2 children, 4 grandchildren
Occupation: McHenry Township assessor
Education: BA, Loyola University
Civic involvement: serving on school referendums committees; serving on local Realtor organization committees and board; serving on community youth sport board; passing petitions for candidates (other than myself); attending rallies/marches; jury duty
Elected offices held: McHenry Township Assessor (elected 2013 and 2017)
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 want to have a fair tax system. A graduated income tax would require an amendment which requires voter approval, which could take years. If that is what the people want and approve, we would have to look at the financial situation at the time and then determine what brackets make the most sense. I would not agree to brackets that raise taxes on the lower or middle class
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?
It's a big problem. About 80% of the voters I have spoken to as I canvass the district say that is the issue that concerns them the most. Our property tax system needs to be revamped to make it fair for all. This would include changing or eliminating laws that allow some to pay little or no taxes, making laws more specific eliminating inconsistent interpretation and implementation across the state and changes to the appeal process.
What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
I don't think he showed true leadership and as a result the state has deteriorated. He refused to abandon his desire to make Illinois a right to work state and focused only on that for too long. I think some of the high points were him signing HB40, the "red-flag" gun law and the Trust act.
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.
I believe these leaders have done what they feel is best for the state. I am glad they were there to stand up against those that want to make Illinois a right to work state.
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?
Yes, term limits for legislative leaders. This has already been passed in the Senate and I would encourage passage of a similar bill in the House. I think changing leadership every so often gives a different perspective on issues and opens the door for strong leaders to emerge. I think leaders are identified through their ability to work with others and get things done and they encourage working across the aisle, with everyone to get things done. If a leader is not helping the body to perform in this way, the members should choose someone that will. I also would like to see changes in our campaign finance laws including limits on spending in every race. If we want new blood, we need to level the playing field so that everyone has an opportunity to step up.
How concerned should we be about Illinois' population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?
We should be very concerned. People name high property taxes as the main reason for leaving the state so we need to correct the system and reduce this financial burden on our residents. I think we also need to recognize that due to an aging population we will need to make sure we have appropriate programs and facilities to accommodate them.
Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.
I believe that my stance on the need for serious property tax reform is very different from many members of the General Assembly. This will not stop me from fighting for change on this very important issue.
What other issues are important to you as a candidate for this office?
All issues are important, some just need to be addressed sooner than others. The other issues I see as a priority are affordable health care, equal rights for all, improving education, gun safety, strong unions and living wages.
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?
I would say my decision to run for State Senate. It was difficult not because I was afraid of the challenge or didn't think I was qualified but because I knew it would change my life. It meant that I would need to work full time and spend every other moment campaigning, which would mean even less time with my kids, grandkids, family and friends. Ultimately I decided that I had to give up some things now to make it better for them.
Who is your hero?
Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a passionate, peaceful man who fought for basic human rights. He brought people together and worked for social and economic justice. He was a leader that stood up for what he believed in, even when it meant endangering his life.
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
The most precious to me is the First Amendment, freedom of religion, speech and the press. I believe that we all have the right to believe whatever religion we want, or none at all; that we have the right to speak up and/or protest for what we believe in a peaceful manner; that a free press is necessary to ensure democracy.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
Always look out for others and be willing to stand up for them, especially those that can't stand up for themselves.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
I played organized basketball most of my life, even at the college level. I knew the game and knew the rules. I had become a respected softball umpire and thought my background would certainly make it easy to officiate basketball as well. I found out it was not. I learned that if I wanted to do a good job I had to work at it and if I wasn't willing to put in the time and effort to do a good job, that I needed to leave it to those that would.