Daniel Didech: 2022 candidate for Illinois House District 59


Party: Democrat

Office sought: Illinois House District 59

City: Buffalo Grove

Age: 35

Occupation: State Representative

Previous offices held: Vernon Township Supervisor


Q: What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? What is your position on term limits in general and for legislative leaders specifically?

A: I was one of the nineteen Democrats who demanded new leadership and ended the tenure of Speaker Michael Madigan. The first vote we took after electing a new Speaker was to pass our House Rules, which now include term limits for legislative leaders. This is a good reform that will stop one person from accruing too much power. For legislators, I believe elections function as effective term limits. If the voters like the work that their legislator is doing, they should be allowed to keep that person in office. I trust the voters to make a change when someone is no longer effectively representing their district.

One of the adjustments we made because of the COVID pandemic was allowing witnesses to testify in our committees virtually. This allowed us to hear from many experts, advocates, and citizens who normally would not have been able to travel to Springfield to share their views. As we transition back to normal, we should continue to allow virtual testimony at our committee hearings.

Q: Federal assistance has enabled the state to make important advances toward improving its budget. What will you do to ensure these advances continue when the federal aid is gone?

A: I have prioritized passing budgets that will strengthen Illinois' long-term fiscal outlook. During my two terms in office, we have passed the most responsible budgets of my lifetime. We have made the full required payments into our pension funds every year, and we are now on a clear path to meeting our statutorily required funding levels. We used federal assistance to mitigate the increased costs incurred because of the COVID pandemic and to replenish the state's unemployment trust fund; we did not use those funds to create new programs that would lead to future unfunded obligations.

Our budgets also prioritized needed investments in education, mental health, and infrastructure. We made changes to our tax code that have made our state more business-friendly. Illinois is now a hub for electric vehicle production, and we are growing our substantial manufacturing base. I will continue to push for budgets like these that have earned Illinois six credit rating upgrades in recent years.

Q: To what extent are you happy or unhappy with the evidence-based model for education funding now in place in Illinois? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?

A: The evidence-based model is an historic accomplishment that increased funding to schools in low-income areas, without compromising funding for our schools that are already among the best in the nation. This model has improved access to resources and educational outcomes in areas of our state that need help the most. My guiding principle is that every single child in Illinois deserves to have access to a world-class public education. That means we need to continue increasing our financial contribution to the evidence based model every year, and work with parents, teachers, and administrators to regularly evaluate what else we can do to improve outcomes. Our schools are one of Illinois' most important resources. As someone who was educated at exceptional public schools, I understand how a world-class education can change a child's life. We have made education funding a priority throughout my four years in the legislature, and I will continue to support those effects in the future.

Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?

A: Yes, elections in Illinois are free and fair. The reforms we have made to make it easier to vote in Illinois should be a model for states across the country. No-excuse voting by mail, extended early voting periods, and grace period registration have strengthened our democracy and have ensured the people of Illinois can truly make their voices heard at the ballot box. I support expanding the use of ballot drop-boxes, which some Illinois counties have successfully implemented in recent elections.

Sadly, too many politicians have sown distrust in the democratic process by spreading Donald Trump's lie that Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election. Mainstream Republicans who tell the truth, like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, are thrown out of their party because they refuse to parrot Trump's lies. A threshold issue for any candidate seeking public office should be an acknowledgement that Joe Biden won a free and fair election to become President of the United States.

Q: How well has Illinois responded to Supreme Court indications that it considers abortion, gay marriage and other social issues to be state, not federal, responsibilities? What if anything needs to be done in these areas and what would you do to make your vision come to pass?

A: Illinois is the best state in the country at protecting women's reproductive rights, and I am committed to keeping it that way. The Supreme Court's decision has enabled states with Republican legislatures to severely restrict a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape and when continuing a pregnancy will severely threaten a woman's health. As more out-of-state women travel to Illinois seeking care, there is more we will need to do to protect access to reproductive healthcare. We need to streamline the process for out of-state doctors and nurses to see patients in Illinois, and we should allow advanced practice clinicians, such as nurse practitioners, to perform routine early-term abortion procedures.

The Supreme Court has also openly threatened to roll-back marriage equality, the right to have same-sex relationships, and the right to use birth control. If the Court takes those drastic steps, I will support any measure to protect the rights of women and LGBTQ people in Illinois.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.