Janet Yang Rohr: 2022 candidate for State Representative, 41st District

  • Janet Yang Rohr

    Janet Yang Rohr

Posted10/13/2022 1:00 AM


Party: Democrat


Office sought: State Representative, 41st District

City: Naperville

Age: 41

Occupation: State Representative; Director of Multi-Asset and Alternatives Strategies, Manager Research, Morningstar

Previous offices held: Naperville Unit District 203 school board member


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: Since taking office, I've taken almost 2,000 floor votes on bills, and almost 70% of these have passed unanimously. These noncontroversial bills nevertheless take diligent work from many stakeholders to pass. They're also important and necessary to help our communities -- schools, hospitals, and businesses -- function better.

Under the House's new leadership, we brought in new and underused ways of performing legislative work, such as consent calendars and allowing witnesses to participate virtually, to reach this level of productivity. We should continue actions like these to make sure we effectively represent our communities.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Voters remain the best determinants of term limits -- representatives that cease to be effective voices for their community should be voted out. I sponsored HB642 to enact term limits for legislative leaders; new leaders bring fresh ways of doing things and helped us achieve the unprecedented level of productivity that occurred during this General Assembly.

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: Illinois' two years in a row of budget surpluses occurred after we repaid all $3.2B of federal loans two years early in 2022, saving taxpayers $82M in interest. The surpluses occurred primarily due to high sales tax receipts.

We took these steps to manage the surplus: Made extra $500M contribution to state pensions, reducing liabilities by $1.8B; Fully funded College Illinois with $230M, saving $75M; Made $900M payment to group insurance fund, saving $100M in penalties; Eliminated bill backlog, increasing cash flow to Illinois businesses and saving $150M in interest.


These actions led to six credit rating upgrades in the past year -- the first upgrades since 2000, which save hundreds of millions in borrowing costs. When times become less flush, these steps, plus the $1B added to Illinois' rainy-day fund (the first deposit in 18 years) will help protect our state's financial health. I'll continue to use my financial background to keep us on this path of righting our state's finances.

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: Property taxes are among our community's top concerns, and most of those taxes go to our schools. As EBF continues ramping up according to schedule each year, school boards will be able to move the burden of school funding off the backs of property taxpayers. Doing so requires following that schedule, but past legislatures have been all too willing to neglect their promises, leaving taxpayers in the lurch.

I've negotiated hard to make sure the state keeps its promises, increasing public school funding by $350M in each of the years I've been in office. That's resulted in millions of new dollars for Indian Prairie 204 and Wheaton Warrenville 200.

Naperville 203 is well funded and in a different situation: I sponsored and passed legislation that came from my time on the 203 school board that allows the board to responsibly cut property tax levies. It does so without harming future students, making sure that families continue to choose our community and protecting our property values.

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

A: The SB825 election omnibus bill passed by my colleagues and me made Illinois elections among the nation's most secure, fair, and accessible:

Security: Requires monthly vulnerability scans to mitigate cybersecurity risk; Uses endpoint detection and response security tools;

Fairness: Establishes transparency requirements to appoint legislator vacancies; Exempts candidate name change disclosures related to civil unions or conforming to gender identity;

Accessibility: Creates permanent vote-by-mail list that's updated when voters change registration, register in different counties, upon passing, or upon change of address; Requires high schools to permit on-site voter registration.

There's always more to do -- election judges, for example, have talked to me about changes to help ease the shortages in their ranks. My job as a representative is to seek out these issues and build solutions, and I'll continue to do that, on elections and any other issue that faces our community.

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: Our federal government's abdication of its duty to protect basic human rights has been heartbreaking. I'm thankful to live in a state that respects women's rights to make their own health care decisions and lets men and women marry the partners they love. When Illinois passed the Reproductive Health Act, many voices accused us of alarmism. They said we were wasting time because these were established federal precedents.

Voters will see these patterns again with the Workers' Rights Amendment. Despite many of us spending most of our waking hours at work, we have no guaranteed workplace rights. Instead, we rely on a labyrinth of laws and "established precedent" that can be quickly undone depending on the party in power.

By enshrining in our state constitution the right for all workers to organize, we put safe workplaces, equal pay, and protection against discrimination above politics. This November, join me in voting for this amendment and keeping Illinois welcoming and vibrant for all.

Go to comments: 0 posted
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.