47th House District candidates disagree on state's handling of pandemic
Navigating the uncertainties of a public health crisis requires flexibility among lawmakers as they address the needs and frustrations of their constituents, both candidates for Illinois House District 47 said.
But while Republican incumbent Deanne Mazzochi criticized Gov. J.B. Pritzker's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, her Democratic challenger, Jennifer Zordani, lauded the steps taken by the administration to avoid "catastrophic effects" in Illinois.
First appointed in 2018 and elected that fall, Mazzochi, a lawyer from Elmhurst, is seeking reelection in hopes of eliminating public corruption in Springfield. The former College of DuPage board chairwoman also wants to lower the tax burden on residents, particularly seniors and small business owners, and "get the state budget and pension system back on track," she said in an endorsement interview with the Daily Herald.
A Clarendon Hills resident and financial services attorney, Zordani says her goals, if elected, include promoting Illinois, being accessible and fighting for the issues that matter most to constituents, such as funding public education. In a time of great divide, she said, she wants to "bring people together."
Encouraging tolerance of other perspectives will be critical as the state moves forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, Zordani said, especially given the unknowns related to the reopening of schools and businesses.
The health crisis has been a challenge nationwide, she said, and without a federally coordinated effort, it was up to the governors to take action on behalf of their states. From her perspective, she said, Pritzker's approach was smart, proactive and receptive to the needs of local communities.
"It's difficult for everybody, and I think our response overall has been pretty darn good as a state," Zordani said.
But Mazzochi says she believes the administration needed to act faster to ensure health care workers had enough personal protective equipment, to protect the state's high-risk residents and to grasp the scope of the community spread.
Using real-time data, she said, the state should now be working to concentrate its resources on the most vulnerable patient populations while also supporting its other obligations. And she believes Pritzker should "start stepping out of the way."
"The longer the state of Illinois stays in this shutdown mode with no clear end game or end point or metrics for getting back to normal, just the loss of tax revenue alone is going to send the state budget into a death spiral," Mazzochi said.
Part of the problem has been a lack of coordination between the Pritzker administration and state legislators, Mazzochi said. Many statewide decisions have been centered around Chicago, which often don't work well for suburban or downstate communities, she said, but the governor has been reluctant to listen to stakeholders and develop better solutions.
"By bypassing that legislative process, that has increased the angst and frustration at the local unit of government level," Mazzochi said.
Though agreeing there should be more legislative input, Zordani said she believes Pritzker successfully managed the speed at which the coronavirus situation evolved. The regions in his Restore Illinois plan have been updated to separate the suburbs from Chicago, she said, and he has been adjusting his protocols along the way without "playing political games."
"We can always find fault and cast blame," Zordani said, "but, gosh, in times like this, it is important to row together to find these solutions."
The 47th House district includes Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Western Springs, Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Westmont and Downers Grove.