Chris Bos: Candidate profile, Illinois House 51st District
Republican Chris Bos, a Lake Zurich minister, is challenging incumbent Democrat Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville in the race for Illinois House from the 51st District, which takes in all or parts of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Buffalo Grove, Deer Park, Forest Lake, Grayslake, Green Oaks, Gurnee, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, Lake Barrington, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Long Grove, Mettawa, Mundelein, North Barrington, Tower Lakes, Vernon Hills, Wauconda, and Waukegan.
The Daily Herald recently asked the candidates a series of questions. Here are their replies.
For complete election coverage, visit dailyherald.com.
Q: Should Speaker Madigan resign from his leadership positions? If he does not resign, will you support him for a new term as House speaker?
A: I believe Speaker Madigan needs to step down from all of his roles immediately. It is evident that he is not operating with the people's best interest in mind. He cannot be trusted, nor can he be allowed to continue to personally benefit from the system of unethical behavior he has built. I absolutely will not vote for him as House speaker.
Q: 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.
A: I am running to represent the communities of the 51st District, first and foremost. I hope to work as a team with other Lake County representatives to improve the economic opportunity and quality of life in our district. As an Ela Township trustee, I was the only member of the board who voted "no" on increasing the tax levy. Putting our communities and taxpayers first is what I've done, and will continue to do as a state representative.
Q: How would you rate the governor's handling of the COVID-19 crisis? Does the legislature need to have more input and influence in establishing rules and policies related to stemming the spread of the disease? What you have done differently, if anything? If nothing, please say so.
A: My greatest concern is the lack of transparency in the data, and lack of coordination with legislators and local officials. The different responses with how he dealt with the recent uptick in the Metro East region versus in the Will and Kankakee region demonstrate that even though he says all his decisions have been informed by science and data, they clearly have not been. We need all of the legislators and local officials with on-the-ground knowledge to provide insight and feedback from their respective areas, and to work together in managing this pandemic.
Q: Regardless of whether the federal government provides assistance, what is the impact of the pandemic on the state's economic outlook and what immediate and long-term actions should be taken to address it? Would you support increasing taxes to pay for COVID-19 response or to make up for lost revenue related to COVID-19?
A: The economic impact of COVID will be far-reaching and long-lasting. The state of Illinois' lack of preparation for fiscal emergencies has put our state's recovery in jeopardy. By allowing big box retailers to stay open and closing small businesses, an unfair environment existed where the government was picking winners and losers. I do not support increasing taxes to pay for COVID response.
Q: 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 be given to voters?
A: The corrupt system in Springfield has proven time and again it cannot be trusted. The amendment gives the state the ability to tax income on a graduated basis, but provides no protection against middle class tax hikes because the new graduated rates will not be constitutionally protected. There are no guarantees, and evidence from other states shows that the increased rates will come down to the middle class once the appetite for more spending cannot be satisfied. It's giving Springfield a blank check it has already proven it cannot handle.
Q: Do you support any type of tax on retirement benefits?
Q: Should Illinois prohibit lawmakers from lobbying other levels of government? Should lawmakers be prohibited from becoming lobbyists after their term in office? For how long?
A: Yes, lawmakers should be prohibited from lobbying other levels of government for at least two years. It is a clear conflict of interest. Numerous pieces of legislation exist to impose a revolving door ban, and all have been bottled up in the House by Speaker Madigan. As a state representative, I will aggressively pursue ethics reform so Illinoisans can have confidence in their government.
Q: What are the most important components that should be included in legislative ethics reform? What will you do to help them come to pass?
A: There are several components needed to create lasting ethics reform in Illinois. No one policy change is going to fix the problem overnight, but it needs to start at the top with limits on how long one lawmaker can hold a leadership position like Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, or Minority Leader. Other important areas to address:
• Redistricting reform
• Prohibiting lawmakers from lobbying other levels of government
• Improved statements of economic interest to expose conflicts of interest
• Prevent lawmakers' immediate family members from acting as paid lobbyists
• Increase fines and penalties for engaging in restricted activities.
There are more, and many of these ideas are not new. I am ready and willing to work with any member of the General Assembly to sponsor, craft and support legislation that will accomplish these goals.
Q: What should the state do to address the still-growing problems with its key pension programs?
A: First, every lawmaker should refuse the General Assembly pension. No lawmaker needs to be funded by taxpayers for the rest of their life. Second, we need to change the provision in the state Constitution preventing comprehensive reform. I will support any reform that is fair to both pensioners and taxpayers.
Q: Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should state government be taking to address the issue?
A: It is our duty to protect this planet for future generations. Humans certainly have an impact on climate change, and the legislature can implement safeguards to ensure we have safe and clean water, land, and air. I will support legislation to keep our communities safe and support clean energy technology.
Q: Protesters have massed in the streets in Chicago and other cities across Illinois for greater social justice and changes in the funding and responsibilities for police. How significant a role does systemic racism play in limiting equal opportunity in Illinois? To the degree that it exists, what should be done about it? What, if any, changes should be made in funding and duties of police?
A: I do not support defunding the police; they are vital to protecting the welfare of our communities. Instead, we must ensure that law enforcement has the resources and training to do their jobs to protect our residents, while also making sure they understand the needs and concerns of the particular communities and people they serve. The General Assembly can also work to provide better jobs in low-income communities by providing real economic and tax relief for small businesses as well as property tax relief so that families can afford to stay in their homes.