Ken Idstein: Candidate profile
Name: Ken Idstein
Facebook: Ken Idstein: Candidate for Illinois State Representative District 62
Office sought: Illinois State Representative District 62
Family: Married to Ania, five children and three grandchildren
Occupation: Mortgage Banker
Civic involvement: PADS, Grayslake Chamber of Commerce, Grayslake Planning and Zoning Commission
Elected offices held: None
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. The state is not a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Families are being asked to send more and more money to Springfield, to cut their home budgets, for the same and worse services. I do not support any effort to attempt to take more money from working families. The proposals we have seen start increasing taxes for families at $17,000 that is not fair. This is just the same old effort by the same old politicians to raise taxes so they don't have to account for their failures.
The fairest and simplest tax system is a flat tax. As we've seen in other states, the graduated tax is often used to divide us and pit us against each other. Additionally, graduated income tax brackets tend to "creep" down, hitting more and more families with higher tax rates.
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?
High property taxes are the biggest issue facing the families in my district. Lake County pays some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and all we ever hear from politicians are empty promises and that they are "working on it." At the same time, politicians like Mike Madigan and those who support him game the system so they can make millions off property tax appeals.
I support lowering and capping property taxes. The national average is 1.17 percent; this is a policy that is enacted in Indiana and California. It would return families their homes and the American dream. The current system is driving families out of our district every day, and decimating our community.
My opponent says he agrees that property taxes are a problem and they need to come down. But during his six years in office all we've seen is property taxes continue to rise. I am running because families can't or refuse, to afford another six years of empty promises or political proposals that's only purpose is to make a politician look good on a mail piece.
What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
I am running because we need new, independent leadership in Springfield. I am not taking money from Rauner, Pritzker, or Madigan and I will be an independent check on the leadership of both parties. I am a mortgage professional, I'm going to Springfield to save our homes and clean up the corruption rampant in government.
I will work with who ever is governor, regardless of party, on issues that will serve the people of our communities.
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.
Speaker Madigan has failed the people of our district because he isn't interested in serving them. We pay the highest property taxes in the nation, and families are being forced out of their homes. My opponent's answer has been to support Madigan at every turn in return for $1.5 million in campaign contributions, the most of any State Representative candidate.
On February 20, I asked my opponent to join me in pledging not to vote for Madigan and calling on him to resign his post as Speaker. Instead, Yingling continues to silently support Madigan.
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. I support term-limits for legislative leaders, and that starts with not electing Speaker Madigan for another term. True independent legislators and candidates have done that in the past. State Rep. Scott Drury didn't vote for Madigan and asked my opponent Sam Yingling, by name, to join with him in opposing Madigan. Instead of demonstrating independence and standing up for our community, Yingling continues to support Madigan.
How concerned should we be about Illinois' population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?
Families are fleeing our communities because they can get a better quality of life at a lower cost by going a couple miles north or east.
The essence of our problem is bad leadership. Our current leaders destroy our economy with high taxes, restrictive laws, and a bad attitude toward business that drives jobs and families away. You can't blame people for leaving when their jobs move away and their real estate taxes exceed their mortgage payments. The only way to change the policies that are forcing families to leave is by changing the people in charge.
I am going to Springfield to change the culture and save our homes. That is why I support a hard cap on property taxes to drastically lower property taxes and force state government to prioritize spending.
We should look at our elected officials' records, not just their words. I pledged not to take a legislator pension because I am going down there to represent our community, save our homes, and then come back to my family and profession.
Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.
I am not taking money from Gov. Rauner; I am beholden to no one and will go to Springfield and represent the people of our district. I've never been elected to office before and I am going to Springfield to save our homes from unbearable property taxes, then return to my family and mortgage profession.
My opponent has taken $1.5 million from Speaker Mike Madigan, the most of any State Representative candidate. As a result, he has supported Madigan, failed to pass meaningful reforms that will lower property taxes, and sat idly by while the worst sexual harassment scandal in state history unfolded.
What other issues are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The biggest issue we face is a political class that isn't representing us. I am going to Springfield to change that. How do we know they aren't serving us? Just look at your property tax bill. Just look at the circling of the wagons that occurred after repeated allegations of harassment were made against Speaker Madigan's organization. That isn't what independent leaders do. That isn't what a culture that serves us does.
My opponent is part of that political culture that is destroying out home values, that is why things continue to get worse under his approach. People are tired of politicians who say one thing and do another. Families are joining our movement because they want actual results, which lower property taxes and politicians who work for them. If folks are happy with the status quo, with higher property taxes and empty promises they should stay with Sam Yingling. That is what we've gotten from him over the last six years.
We can solve our biggest issues, but we need new leaders. Without new, independent leadership we won't be able to save our homes, and revitalize our communities.
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?
One of the hardest decisions I had to make was to close my mortgage brokerage of 24 years:
• Excess regulation simply did not allow me to stay small and independent. • Eliminating job positions was really tough
Who is your hero?
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
The second amendment
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
Work ethic, commitment to family and community
• At nine years old, I was running a paper route to help pay the milk bill as I was one of seven children.
• I relish the opportunities to give back to the community that has given us so much
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
There was a very short moment that I felt like a failure when I shut down Idstein Mortgage Services, Inc:
• I quickly realized that there was a need to change the culture in the mortgage world
• I learned that we need to identify the need to change and then embrace that change