Beth Goncher: Candidate profile
Office sought: Illinois Senate District 25
Family: son Austin
Occupation: Executive Director for Sugar Grove Chamber, Consultant
Education: BA Rosary College
Civic involvement: I am very proud of my involvement in Republican politics around the western suburbs which includes working with different elected officials, including former Congressman Hultgren and Representative Tim Schmitz, both as a volunteer and as a full-time staff member. I have served as a volunteer board member for: The Compassion Foundation, SciTech Museum, and The RiverFront Playhouse in Aurora.
Elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were first elected:
Questions and Answers
1. What is your position on placing a 'Fair Maps' amendment on the November ballot? If the amendment makes the ballot after the primary, will you support it? Why or why not?
I support a fair maps amendment. The voters of Illinois should be angry that one party draws political district boundaries to protect their majorities. I believe that an independent third party should use computer systems to draw legislative district boundaries to ensure a fair representation of voters in Illinois. This will be a test for Governor Pritzker, who got elected with some Republican votes partially because he supported a "Fair Maps" Amendment. Was Pritzker genuine in his opposition to gerrymandering legislative districts; or, was Pritzker pandering to get votes. Time will tell.
2. What are the most important components that should be included in legislative ethics reform? What will you do to help them come to pass?
Illinois government has always existed under the stigma of Chicago corruption, but recently this corruption has reached a fever pitch. Multiple indictments and FBI investigations have plagued the State Senate and State House this past year. It's not just Mike Madigan, it is his allies and enablers in the Democratic Party that don't want to rock the boat. Rooting out corruption should be the top priority for any state legislator in Illinois.
As a State Senator I will file the following legislation:
1. Banning state legislators from side gigs as lobbyists. It is entirely impossible to be objective if a legislator is also being paid to influence government.
2. Increasing penalties for legislators who do not disclose their financial interests as required by law and for those who violate ethics laws related to their office.
3. Term limits for legislators. The position of State Senator or Representative was never designed to be a career.
3. What should the state do to address the still-growing problems with its key pension programs?
This crisis has been a long time in the making and is the legacy of generations of politicians in Illinois. The issue when you ask someone how they would fix pension problem is that most like to ignore the fact that the constitution would need to be amended. Until we can find a consensus on changing the Constitution, all we can do is make little alterations to future benefits or offering benefit buyouts which lower liabilities.
The State has made some strides in curbing pension liabilities by creating the tier II pension system for State employees, which has provided some relief. However, much more needs to be done. I am interested in working with colleagues in the legislature to explore other alternatives that may help us to make larger gains, but if we truly want to address this issue, we need to be honest about what needs to be done.
4. Describe at least two circumstances in which you have shown or would show a willingness and capacity to act independently of the direction or demands of party leadership. Do you support term limits for majority and minority leaders in both chambers?
As I stated earlier, rooting out corruption should be the top priority for any State legislator in Illinois. It's not just Mike Madigan, but, his allies and enablers in the Democratic Party that continue this "self dealing" culture. Leader term limits have already been implemented in Senate Chamber Rules; at least for as long as the majority party wants to keep that rule. I support setting term limits for all legislators in Illinois by law.
Following are two ways we can move forward in Illinois:
1. Ending the revolving door for State legislators who retire from elected office for more lucrative positions as lobbyists. There should be a time buffer of at least a year between positions.
2. Term Limits for legislators. The position of State Senator or Representative was never designed to be a career.
5. What should lawmakers be doing to stem out-migration from Illinois?
If we want to encourage population growth, we need to increase business investment. People live where they can get good paying jobs and raise a family in a safe and positive environment. If we bring more jobs to Illinois we will bring back the population and expand the tax base.
6. Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
I am not a climate scientist. I think America is the greatest nation in the world with an economy and wealth never seen before in history. With this leadership role in the world, we need to set the example for conservation and preserving our great resources for future generations.
However, an extreme view of climate change has taken over the Democratic Party; They advocate for the total reorganization of our energy infrastructure without, what I see, any viable alternatives. This reorganization would cost the taxpayers of Illinois even more of their hard-earned money as well as create a less reliable energy infrastructure.
Until I see an alternative energy plan that benefits our conservation efforts as well as our economic strength as a state and nation, I will continue to support a strong and efficient energy policy and protect our communities from service interruptions and additional tax burden.
7. The graduated income tax is designed with the intent to reduce taxes for 97 percent of Illinoisans. Do you believe that will happen? Why or why not? What assurances can you offer voters?
I am opposed to the graduated income tax and I expect that ballot measure to fail. I plan to spend a significant amount of time campaigning against it. Any increase in revenues that the State takes in should be put against our debt. I am also a fan of dedicated funding streams for programs like education, infrastructure and law enforcement. Those are core expenses that need to be property funded. I would also support and advocate for an audit to find efficiencies and start to dig our way out of our financial situation.