Tom Weber: Candidate profile


Name: Tom Weber

City: Lake Villa


Twitter: @TomMWeber

Facebook: @TomWeber64

Party: Republican

Office sought: State Representative District 64

Age: 51

Family: Married 29 years to wife Becki, 2 children, 6 sisters and 2 brothers.

Occupation: Lake County Board/ Small business owner

Education: Lake Villa Public Schools/St. John's Military Academy (High School)

Civic involvement: Professional and Community Involvement Past and Present

Busy Brains Children's Museum Board of Directors

University of Illinois Extension Advisory Council Vice Chair

University of Illinois Extension Foundation

Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

Lake Villa & Lindenhurst Chamber Commerce

Lake Villa Township Lions Club

Lake Villa Historical Society

B.E.S.T Bringing Everyone's Strengths Together

Lake County Farm Bureau

Lindenhurst Kiwanis Club

American Aid Society of German Descendants

Elected offices held: Lake County Board Member & Forest Preserve Commissioner 2012-Present

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?

No, I would not support a graduated income tax. Illinois is already the highest taxed state in the nation when you add sales taxes, property taxes and the recent massive income tax hike. Imposing a graduated income tax would be devastating to our state. Many people believe only the wealthy will pay more but when you look at surrounding states, that is not the case. In Missouri couples making as low as $9,000 a year are paying higher rates then our current flat tax system. We need solutions that reverse the exodus of residents and businesses from our state not increase it.

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?

Residents are demanding relief on income taxes and property taxes. This is highly specific to District 64 which covers much of Lake and McHenry County, 2 of the highest taxed counties in the nation and 2 highest in our state! The largest portion of the tax bill is going towards education. The state needs to fund 50% percent of education which I believe is possible if we can get spending under control. The state continues to spend more money than it takes in. If the state would hold the line on new spending, eventually the revenues would catch up to expenses. We also need to address the out-of-control spending in Springfield (Pensions and Healthcare each consume 25% of the state budget)

What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.

Governor Rauner's efforts have been completely squashed by Mike Madigan and the democrats in Springfield. He has attempted to save the state of Illinois from bankruptcy but has been stymied by Madigan. I am disappointed that there was new spending signed by the Governor, but I am glad we have a budget. Governor Rauner's highs include having a budget and his successful negotiations with most of the unions in Illinois. His lows include passing laws that expanded spending without dedicated funding sources.

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 was not a member of the last legislative session and did not (and would have not) voted for Madigan as Speaker. My evaluation of Speaker Madigan - he only cares about himself and winning elections. The majority of Illinois residents want our budget fixed, want a reduction in spending and are ready for a fair mapping process. These duties and wishes by Illinois residents have been ignored and its time for a change.

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 am in favor of term limits for legislative leaders. I have a history of reaching across the aisle as a County Board member and I will work with Democrats, Republicans, males, females until we make this happen. Every committee should have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, males and females and we will all work together to find the best solution on all proposed legislation.

How concerned should we be about Illinois' population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?

You can't blame people for leaving our state when jobs move away, income tax increases and real estate taxes exceed their mortgage payments. We have many high school graduates going to college. Many find more affordable education in other states. When they graduate and look at the job market and the cost of raising a family in Illinois, they look for employment elsewhere. This is a huge problem that is being ignored. People will stay if they can get a good job. Besides Workman's Compensation reform, there needs to be an aggressive plan to actively reach out and engage business owners and corporations to see what we can do to make Illinois their home. We need to listen and work to provide what's necessary to attract new businesses and encourage more small business growth. Tax payers are demanding relief on income taxes and property taxes. The state of Illinois continues to spend more money than it takes in. If the State would hold the line on new spending, eventually the revenues would catch up to expenses. All new Legislation needs to have a dedicated funding source. We need Pension Reform, audit Medicaid, Repair and modernize our roads and bridges, review how other states are funding education without putting the majority of the local tax burden on property owners and continue to preserve and maintain our natural resources. As a small business owner I understand what businesses face on a day to day basis and appreciate the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Businesses because of it.

Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.

I have a track record of being nonpartisan. On the Lake County Board, I have often worked with both parties on issues and partisan politics have not really been an issue. On the Lake County Forest Preserve Board, Steve Mandel(D) and I worked hard so that a $1.3 million-dollar Forest Preserve surplus would be abated back to tax payers and after much debate and discussion it was approved by the board. Often times Sandy Hart (D) and I on our Law and Judicial Committee, share the same ideas when it comes to saving tax payers money. Sometimes we win and sometimes we don't. In general I do not feel that I have a history of being partisan.

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

The Chain of Lakes and Fox River are 2 of the most important assets to District 64 generating approximately $150 million dollars a year from tourism. We have thousands of visitors that come to enjoy the natural beauty of the chain and visit many of the local communities where they shop, eat and sight see. The chain is connected by more than 15 lakes with over 480 miles of shoreline and the Fox River is over 30 miles of river from the Wisconsin border, all of which needs to be maintained. I am committed to working together with other government bodies and local communities to protect and preserve our natural resources. As we know the silt and soil running into the river upstream and need to address this huge issue by creating a better containment system as it crosses our border. I also believe we should be looking at grant opportunities from the federal government for help with a shoreline stabilization project to address our more than 500 miles of shoreline.

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?

Deciding to run for State Representative was a hard decision for me. In my six years as a County Board member I have never missed a committee meeting and as Chairman of the Planning Building and Zoning Committee I am proud of what we have accomplished. I have developed an excellent relationship with my constituents and most likely I would have been unopposed if I had run for reelection to the County Board. However, dozens and dozens of my constituents have come to me stating that their number one problem is the out-of-control spending in Springfield resulting in extremely high property taxes. Therefore, I decided that I could best help my constituents by going to Springfield to fight for better control of our state spending. (PS - the best decision I ever made was marrying my wife Becki!).

Who is your hero?

My mother is my hero. She passed away 2 years ago. She was a tiny woman barely 5-foot-tall but the strongest individual I have ever met. She managed to raise 9 children and still spread love and cheer to others around her. She received an award when I graduated high school for being the most active parent attending more sports events than anyone else, when she was recovering from cancer, she learned how to be a clown and would visit children at the hospital. She was a great example as a mother and as a grandmother. She is missed by many.

Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?

Having a voice and being able to express your opinion without fear of retribution. The First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?

I really like physically hard work. Growing up and watching my father work on our family farm is one of my fondest memories. Of course, as soon as I could use a shovel I was working alongside him. Waking up at 4 in the morning and then once the farm work was don we would head to the garden. Many Saturdays and Sundays were spent with the family snapping beans or canning. It was always a family thing. Today I still love the physical labor and will work all day without a break. Some people like to read, I would prefer building something or weeding my garden. I believe that work ethic I learned in my youth is what helps me succeed today.

Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?

I sometimes think I failed by not getting a degree but then I would not have met my wife of which we have been married 29 years nor would I possibly have started my own business. It's difficult to think of one individual thing to point to that I have failed at. I would prefer to call them learning experiences. I have had many of those in life and in business, but I learned from those mistakes. I think that is what's most important. It's also important to share what you have learned with others. My son's come to me often for advice and I would like to think that because of my experiences I can save them the pain of making the same mistakes.

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